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John Kanady
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Tucson
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Let Them Eat Shrimp! is a solid tile laying game by Steve Finn of Dr. Finn's Games in which the players are trying to earn points through collecting on of the largest and most diverse group of fish and shrimp while trying to avoid being eaten by sharks. It plays 2-5 players and generally doesn't last longer than 25 minutes. With that said, let's take a look at this in more detail.

Components:
So I'd like to start out with an unorthodox comment here in that I have a love hate relationship with the art on this game. I think that the board and tiles for the fish have pretty solid art that fits with the theme. I love the shark and how goofy he looks with the sailor hat and tribal tattoos, although I must admit that I am curious as to why. And for the most part, everything looks good with the art. Then we get to the player shields. Even though the theme wasn't the strongest I had seen, the player shields completely ruin what little theme there was for me. Having them show people surfing (several in outfits that you would never wear while doing so), along with one of the kids with the creepiest smiles I have ever seen, kind of made me want to make my own personal screens as I just really didn't like those. But that's just a minor gripe I feel.
Now the components came with a lot of solid thick cardboard pieces. The fish tiles feel like they will last a long time which is definitely a plus and all the tiles are designed very well with their distinctive shapes and colors. Personally, I felt no need to organize the tiles as most were easy enough for me to find while I left them in the box. The game boards are solid and sturdy and allow for enough customization that you definitely can change up as you desire. The die is unique and rolls well and the is a solid pawn piece. The player shields are informative on the back side as they help with reminding players how final scoring is calculated. That said, those feel really flimsy as they are simple card stock so they will probably need replacing if played with too much.
Overall, I have to give the components roughly an 8 out of 10. Most of the pieces are great. It's really just those shields that I'm just not a fan of.

Gameplay:
Now I personally always put most of my stock into when it comes to board games. And for the most part this game delivers on what it is. Players spend their turns laying tiles on the board with at least one side touching another tile. They then activate the spot underneath their tile, collecting fish or shrimp, or rolling the die, depending on what is below. Fish eggs gather the type of fish that mach their shape and are either used as tiles to lay, or for scoring points at the end. Shrimp are worth 2 points for each one you own at the end of the game. If you land on a shark or seastar, you get to roll the die. For the shark you roll and whatever it lands on, you lose (minus the seastar). When you roll for the seastar, you gain whatever the die lands on (minus the shark). Once the board has run out of egg spaces, or a player runs out of eggs, the game ends and points are calculated.
It really is an easy game to learn and was quick to teach to my younger kids as well as adults as it took under 5 minutes. Which is perfect for anything on the lighter side of the spectrum. The game moves well and really only slows down if you are playing with someone who has a bad case of analysis paralysis. With that said, there's really a limited amount of strategy required to succeed in this game as the pieces that you own, along with the tiles on the board, dictate a good portion of what you can do. Most of the time, what the other person does is what you would do and the best move is obvious. On another note, shrimp are important. However, I noticed that at 2 players, they weren't nearly as vital for success as they were at higher player counts. (I easily won multiple games without the need of shrimp).
Overall, I'd say the gameplay for me was roughly a 7 out of 10. The game was enjoyable and the length of gameplay definitely was great for a game of this style.

Replay Value:
One of the first things that adds to replay value for me personally is calculated randomness. And I will say that this game has that in spades. The random boards, die rolls, and ability to end up with different tiles throughout the game definitely make each game feel somewhat different. That said, theme is definitely an issue for me as I feel a great theme can bring me back to a game more as I feel more invested in the game this way as many of these mechanics can be found in many games. I literally think I referred to the tiles by their shapes as opposed to the fish on them as it was just as effective, if not more so.
Overall I'd say this is the weak spot for the game and give it a 5.5 out of 10 on it's replay value. It's fun enough that playing it is definitely worth it, but it's a game that feels like it could be replaced for me down the line.

Recommended Group: Personally, I felt like this was most enjoyable when I was playing this with a younger group as the kids really enjoyed collecting all the fish and laughing at whoever landed on the shark tiles. If playing with a more mature group, I'd use this more as a filler or palate cleanser in between heavier games.

Overall:
I honestly did enjoy this game when all was said and done. It's a solid game that I'm willing to play if someone wants to. I literally have yet to play a game that I just didn't enjoy which is always a good thing for a game. That said, it just felt like it was missing something for me personally. If you're looking for something that is light and easy, this game is definitely worth it and can work as a great filler or family game. It's easy to learn and teach and for the most part has great components. I will say I think it's weird whenever a game uses he/she to describe a player over "they/the player," but that doesn't really affect the gameplay overall. Again, if you're looking for something to play with the family or even as a potential gateway, I feel like this could be good for those situations.
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