Farming theme: check! Top class game: check! Strange name ending in A: check! Be honest, how many of you even knew of the word agricola before the game of that name came on the market? Cornucopia is the new Agricola in that it suffers from the same problem. I didn't even know what the word cornucopia meant when I first saw it on the game box of this newest member of the Gryphon Games bookshelf games family. Maybe that's just a poor reflection of my own limited vocabulary, because it's not even Latin! But if my initial impressions of this game are correct, then Cornucopia could become a household name here on BGG. This isn't a gamer's game, so it's not going to crack the BGG Top 10 any time soon. But as far as fillers go - and that's what this series is all about - this is one of the best. I'm hesitant to say it, but I wonder if this could have the kind of appeal that For Sale does! Only time will tell if it can live up to that kind of reputation - and if it's not quite in the same league as For Sale, then it's awfully close. Of all the games in the series that I'd never played before, this is one of the games that I'm most excited about. It has mechanics and ideas that I haven't seen previously, and a very different feel from any other game in the series. To give you an idea: after we learned it, we played it half a dozen times in just two days, and just wanted to keep playing it again and again - it's been played close to a dozen times already in only a week. There are elements of press-your-luck and risk assessment, the result of a fascinating combination of set collection and a wagering mechanic that keeps everyone involved at all times, so there's lots of fun, excitement, whooping, and hollering as cards are turned over. You really must learn more about Cornucopia, because this might well rise near the top of the class of For Sale type fillers!
Oh, did I forget to explain what cornucopia is? Shame on me: it's an ancient symbol of food and abundance. In modern times it's often associated with Thanksgiving and harvest, and is typically a hollow, horn-shaped wicker basket filled with various kinds of festive fruit and vegetables. In this game, you have five such baskets that players are trying to fill with five fruits and vegies. In other words, a farming theme! This wouldn't be the first time that a game with a farming theme rises to the top of the pile. Let's go find out more!
The box cover is the same size as all the other in the Gryphon Games bookshelf series, and it features (drum roll) a cornucopia!
The back of the box shows off some of the components - notably the fruit and vegetable cards that we're going to use to fill our baskets - and gives a brief explanation of the idea behind the game:
"It's Harvest Time! In this game, you attempt to fill your basket with a bountiful collection of fruits and vegetables. You can try to collect the greatest variety of goods, or you can try to monopolize one - for even greater rewards. In either case, you try to complete your harvest as efficiently as possible to earn the most coins. You can even try to bet and win more coins by predicting the outcome of your opponents' efforts to assemble their baskets of produce. It all adds up to a Cornucopia of great fun for the whole family!"
We get our first look inside the box, and see a very well made plastic insert, that houses plastic chips, cards, and reference sheets:
A complete inventory of the components results in the following list:
● 66 goods cards (fruit and vegetables)
● 5 basket cards (empty cornucopias)
● 30 bidding cards
● 5 betting cards (thumbs up/down)
● 105 coins (30 yellow, 45 blue, 30 red, in two sizes)
● 5 reference cards
● 1 rulebook
It's a generous selection of different components, but when you pile it all together, you get 106 cards, 105 coins, and the reference cards. So cards are the primary component, and as with the other Gryphon Games bookshelf games, they're excellent quality, colourful, and attractive.
The rule book is probably the longest one in the Gryphon Games bookshelf series - instead of a single sheet of thin card folded double, it's two sheets of thin card folded double, i.e. 8 pages in total.
Some folks have reported that they had a hard time wrapping their head around some of the concepts in the rule-book and figuring out the game. The rules do seem somewhat wordy in places, and could have benefited from some more illustrations or examples. I think the main problem here is that this game doesn't really compare with any other game I can think of. That's a strength, not a weakness! But as a result, it can be hard to visualize how the game works simply by reading a mass of text. When you see the game work in practice, it's really not that difficult - even my 5 year old could catch on without too much difficulty - but it's not the easiest to figure out on your own with the rulebook. But this issue certainly isn't a reason not to get the game - after all, I've done the hard work for you, and with the help of this review, you'll get ample pictures, and should be on your way to playing in no time!
There are five empty cornucopia cards, which designate the empty baskets that you are collecting fruit and vegetables for.
Four are baskets that can be filled with five identical goods or with five different goods, and look like this:
The fifth basket has different artwork, and can only be filled with five identical goods:
Players will work together to fill these five baskets. On your turn, you'll be turning over goods cards, to try to make sure that at least one of the five baskets gets filled with five goods.
For most of the game, you will be drawing goods from a deck of 66 goods cards, and using these to fill the baskets.
There are six different goods cards, picturing different fruit and vegetables:
● 11 Red Tomatoes
● 11 Orange Pumpkins
● 11 Yellow Corn
● 11 Green Grapes
● 11 Purple Eggplants
● 11 Cornucopia Cards
The Cornucopia cards are "wild", and can be used in place of any of the five goods.
So how many goods cards will you have to turn over before you fill up a basket? That's what the Bidding cards are for. On your turn, you must decide the maximum number of cards you think you'll need to turn over, in order to ensure that one of the five baskets gets filled with five goods. The bidding cards range from 1 through 6.
There are four 1s and 2s, five 3s and 4s, and six 5s and 6s. The symbols at the bottom represent the rewards you'll get for being able to fill a basket: yellow coins on the left if it's a basket with all identical goods, yellow/red coins on the right if it's a basket with all different goods. The lower you bid, the greater the reward in coins, but also the greater the risk! If you are successful with your bid, you'll also get to keep the bidding card, and these cards will also be worth points at the end of the game.
There are five betting cards, each with a green "Yes!" on one side, and a red "No!" on the other.
Each player will get one, and be able to use this to bet whether or not they think the active player will correctly get his bid, and fill a basket with five goods by drawing the amount of cards that player bid. I love the green thumbs up card - isn't it great to see one of your favourite BGG mechanics appear in a game?!
There's 105 coins in three colours:
The larger sized coins count as five of the smaller sized ones. The yellow coins are points that will be earned by correctly bidding and filling up a basket; the blue coins will be used to bet on the bids of other players; the red coins will be used to discard unwanted cards that you don't want to place in a basket. Blue and red coins can also earn points, as we will see later.
There are five reference cards, one per player, which include a summary of the turn sequence, but primarily summarize how scoring works.
On your turn, you will try to draw and play goods cards in order to fill up one of the five baskets, while the other players can 'bet' coins on whether or not they think you will be successful. As illustrated below, a full basket consists of either:
(a) goods cards that are all different; or
(b) goods cards that are all the same.
NB: in the course of an actual game, two baskets could never be full simultaneously, because a full basket is immediately emptied.
Points can be earned in four different ways, as summarized on this customized score sheet.
On your turn: You bid a number between 1 and 6 and turn up that many goods cards, trying to fill up one of the five baskets. If you are successful, you get the yellow/red coins on the card, and the card itself. At the end of the game, each yellow coin is worth a point, the players with the most and second most red coins will get 6 and 3 points respectively, and the bidding cards themselves will be worth points for various combinations. So the main way to get points is by turning up goods cards that make your bid, in order to earn yellow/red coins and the bidding card itself.
On others' turn: You can bet blue coins on whether or not the bids of your opponents will be successful. In this way your haul of blue coins will either increase or decrease, and each set of three blue coins will be worth a point at the end of the game as well.
Put the five basket cards in a horizontal row, with the single "all the same" basket card on the right. As the game progresses, you'll fill the baskets by placing goods cards below each baskets in columns. Put a wild card immediately below the "all in the same" basket card, and deal out cards randomly from the goods deck so that each basket now has two goods in it.
Note that the single basket on the right must contain all identical goods. Here the random draw has determined that they must all be Purple Eggplants. The other four baskets will usually contain all different goods. Sometimes the random draw will dictate that they must also be all identical goods, as is the case with the basket on the far left, which currently has two Red Tomatoes, and must be filled with three more Red Tomatoes.
Now that we've seeded our baskets with two goods each, put all the bid cards face up (and arranged by number) on the far left of the basket cards. The complete set-up for a four player game should look something like this (although the initial cards in each of the five baskets will be different each time):
Each player starts the game with a reference card, a voting card, three blue and two red coins.
Flow of Play: Bidding & Betting
Let's take a situation from our game that we set-up above, but one turn later when there are already more goods in some of the baskets:
The active player looks at the five baskets, and makes a bid as to how many cards he thinks he needs to draw and place in order to successfully fill one basket. A bid can be anything from 1 to 6, and is designated by turning the card sideways. In the game situation above, one of the baskets already has four different goods (it only needs a Tomato or a Wild to be filled), and two other baskets already have three goods - so the active player decides to bid 3.
Here's where the game becomes fun for the other players, even though it's not their turn - they can "bet" on the outcome, using blue chips. All the other players get ten seconds to place 1-3 blue chips either on the "Yes" or the "No" side of their voting card. Since blue chips are worth 1 point for each set of 3 at the end of the game, this is another way to earn points. Betting is not mandatory, but optional. Do you think the player whose turn it is will get their bid of three? Someone is betting "No"!
Not everyone will be comfortable with the notion of "betting" - but this is only a game and really it's just a matter of word choice - call it "bidding" if this is a problem for you or if you really want to avoid offense.
Flow of Play: Filling Baskets
Drawing and Placing cards
Now the active player gets to draw and place as many goods cards as he bid, to see if he can fill one of the baskets. Cards are usually placed at right angles, so you can keep track of how many you've drawn and placed. I'll call the baskets from left to right A, B, C, D, E. Here's what happened in our game:
Card #1: Purple Eggplant!
This can't be placed in basket A (it requires all Tomatoes only), or in basket B (it requires all different goods and already has an Purple Eggplant). Baskets C (all different), D (all different) and E (all the same - Eggplant) are all possible, but the player decides to place it in basket C. Actually it probably would have made more sense to place it in basket D, because then this basket would also now have four goods, and only need an Orange Pumpkin to be filled! Perhaps our active player is feeling a little foolhardy?!
Card #2: Green Grapes!
The only basket this can go in is basket C! It's going to come down to the third and final card! Both baskets B or C need a Red Tomato or a Wild card to be filled! Everyone waits with bated breath!
Card #3: Red Tomato!
Hurray! Basket B is full! A successful bid! But only just! (Note that the Red Tomato could also have been placed to fill Basket C instead)
What happens if you draw a card that you can't place, or don't want to place? Let's imagine that the third card drawn was another Green Grapes or Yellow Corn (which are unplayable!). Or another Purple Eggplant (which can go in basket E, but would still result in a failed bid) or Orange Pumpkin (which can go in basket D, but also would result in a failed bid). Once per turn, you can discard a red coin to discard a card and draw another. So if the third card drawn had been one of these cards, the sensible play would be to discard a red coin in order to discard the unwanted card, and draw another card in the hope that it would be the required Red Tomato or Wild card needed to fill a basket. In this way the red coins are an important part of the game (as well as contributing to point scoring).
Flow of Play: Outcome
The bid is successful if a basket is filled after drawing the amount of cards bid, otherwise it is unsuccessful.
● Other players: Lose the blue coins if they bid on a "Yes" vote, and earn blue coins if they bid on a "No" vote.
● Active player: Loses a yellow coin. The goods cards placed remain, however.
● Other players: Lose the blue coins if they bid on a "No" vote, and earn blue coins if they bid on a "Yes" vote.
● Active player: Gains the bidding card, and red/yellow coins indicated by it. The coins on the right of the card is what you earn with a basket of all different goods, the coins on the left of the card is what you earn with a basket of all the same goods.
In this case, the basket had all different goods, so the player would get two gold coins and two red coins. The baskets which have all the same goods are harder to get, but also more lucrative and earn more gold coins. (In fact, as an incentive to make baskets A, B, C or D an "all the same" basket, there's a special rule that if you place a card that is the determining card for making one of these baskets an "all the same" basket, you earn a gold coin by doing so.) Successfully making your bid is one of the most important ways to earn points, because that's how you earn gold coins, and the bidding cards themselves are also worth points at the end of the game.
After a successful bid, the full basket is emptied (these cards are discarded), and two new cards drawn and placed so that the basket begins with two goods in it. Note that basket E remains an "all of the same" basket for the entire game, so when this basket is emptied, the wild card at the top is not removed (it remains there throughout the entire game), and a new card is drawn and placed to determine what goods this basket must be filled with.
Also note that as soon as a basket is filled, the active player stops drawing and placing cards - even if he drew less cards than what he bid, his bid was successful, and his turn is over. Now it's the new player's turn to make a bid, and so the game continues!
Flow of Play: Summary
It may sound somewhat complicated, but it's mainly because the mechanics are different and unusual, and in reality it's quite straight-forward to learn. When you see it in practice, it's very easy to catch on to, and some visiting non-gaming pre-teens here had no difficulty learning how to play, as did my five year old. In short, the flow of game-play is:
● Active player bids an amount, while other players bet yes/no.
● Active player turns over cards and tries to fill a basket
● The active player wins coins if he's successful (loses a coin if not), while other players win/lose bets depending on the result.
Repeat with the next player!
In turns, players will continue to make a bid, drawing and placing goods cards in order to fill baskets, and the game continues until either: (a) you've gone through the draw deck twice; or (b) three of the piles of bidding cards have been emptied. End of game scoring is summarized on the reference cards, i.e. yellow coins are worth 1 points, each set of three blue coins is worth 1 point, and the players with the most and second most red coins get 6 and 3 points.
The bidding cards are also worth points, as summarized on the reference card, i.e. points are earned for a set of 2 (3 points), set of 3 (4 points), run of 3 (3 points), run of 4 (4 points), and a run of 5 (5 points). There is a small error on the reference sheet (as described by the publisher here): a set of 4 is not worth 5 points but 6 points (the equivalent of two pairs).
Bidding cards can only be used once when figuring out the sets and runs. In most cases, the bidding cards end up being worth 1 point per card, although you get better value with triples (1.33 points per card) and pairs (1.5 points per card).
To assist with scoring, I've made a customized score sheet which you can download here. Here's an example of scoring from a two player game:
This player had the most red coins (i.e. 6 points), so the points earned were as follows:
In a two player game it's normal to win around 10 bidding cards (and over 20 points in yellow coins), whereas in a five player game there's a greater number of players, so you may win only as many as 4 bidding cards (and less than 10 points in yellow coins). Scores usually range from as low as 10-20 points in a five player game, to as much as 40-50 points in a two player game.
What do I think?
With a title like "Cornucopia", this game doesn't seem to stand much of a chance, no matter how good it is. But wait ... wasn't that also true of Agricola? Perhaps there is hope after all! Because this is a really, really good game in this series, and it has the potential to captivate gaming tables in a similar way to games like For Sale do. I'm not kidding. Here's why:
● It is quick. Now that we know how the game works, we can whip off a game in 20 minutes. Probably count on 30 minutes of game time in most cases, regardless of the amount of players. In many cases you'll find yourself wanting to play a second game immediately afterwards. It's the perfect length!
● It is unusual. I've played a lot of games over the years, but despite that, I didn't have a sense of "Oh, I've seen that before!" when I played this game. The elements of risk assessment, set collection, bidding, and betting come together in a way that is unique.
● It has non-gamer appeal. I wouldn't give the rule-book to non-gamers any time soon and let them figure it out for themselves. But if you teach the game, it's very easy to pick up and explain in person. We've had good success introducing this to non-gamers. Everyone has fun and a good time, regardless of whether you win or lose.
● It's tense and exciting. The bidding mechanism results in a press-your-luck element, and there's a lot of tension as cards are turned over one by one by the active player to see whether or not he makes his bid. What makes this shine even more, is the betting mechanism, which has all players interested in the outcome of this turn. It's brilliant, and comes together perfectly - this becomes a game that can have everyone on the edge of their seat, shouting and cheering as a final card is turned over, an event that is certain to happen multiple times in a game! The bigger the risk, the bigger the potential rewards - or loss - and trying to assess that risk and to bid/bet accordingly is a big part of the fun. If an opponent does call a risky play, you can bet that he will or will not make it, and so share in the drama of the card drawing and placement!
● It's got no down-time. The betting mechanism that all players are involved in the game, all of the time. The outcome of every play will be of interest to everyone sitting at the table, and you're never get the feeling that you're standing in line waiting for your turn on the roller-coaster - you're part of every ride. For some people the betting mechanism will feel like the addition of fiddliness without enough return. Personally I think it improves the game, and since it's essentially a filler I don't mind the fact that there's some luck elements that can occasionally trump strategy - I prefer to be involved on other people's turns in this way, even if the return is only small.
● It allows for some strategy. This isn't a gamer's game, by any means, but it does have interesting decisions to make. Most of these involve assessing probability and risk: e.g. what are the odds of getting a basket filled, and how many cards do I think are needed to do it? What are the odds of my opponent getting his bid, and how many coins should I bid? Other strategic considerations to bear in mind when playing: Be careful not to set up other players for completing lucrative bids of 1s or 2s. At times it can be wise to attempt to complete a more risky "all the same" basket in order to earn more points. At other times, it will be more important to complete "all different" basket and earn red points, and do keep an eye on how many red coins your opponents have to ensure you're in the running for first or second in that category. It's certainly far from being a game determined by pure luck or chance. It doesn't have deep strategy - but then again, nor does For Sale, and that's not what games like this are about!
● It scales well. Two players, three, four or five - all work equally well!
● The theme is secondary. I gather that the theme as it was originally conceived had to do with a bazaar. It's set-collection, and it could be just about anything. But really the theme isn't that important, and the game-play outshines the theme. Even though the word "cornucopia" may not be a word that's often on the tip of our tongue, the idea of filling baskets with fruit and vegetables works well, it makes good sense, and gives opportunity to have bright and colourful cards with simple colours and pictures. I like it, although I'm not sure that calling it Cornucopia was the most brilliant marketing move.
● It works. It really does! It just works! Everything comes together perfectly! In the first week alone, we played this game virtually a dozen times. Will it have staying power? That remains to be seen, but I think it will hold its appeal, because no matter how often you've played and no matter how good you are at bidding, betting, and assessing risk, there's still going to be the suspense of turning over the cards and discovering the outcome!
Cornucopia is one of the entries in the Gryphon Games series that I'm most excited about - in fact right now it's my third favourite game in the series, just behind For Sale and Roll Through the Ages. There were other terrific games in the series, but many of them were reprints of games we'd seen before and already knew about, like For Sale, High Society, and Incan Gold. Aside from these, there was really only one new game that deservedly became a big hit, namely Roll Through the Ages. Cornucopia is a different kind of game, but it deserves the same kind of reception. I'd put it in the same class as games like For Sale and Incan Gold. There's slightly more to the rules, perhaps, but they really are easy to explain, so don't expect eyes to glaze over as you launch into your rules explanation - people can be playing in minutes. I also think that Cornucopia has a similar appeal as games like For Sale. I'm not going to be pulling out For Sale to play four times in a row with serious gamers. But when my family or non-gaming friends come over, For Sale is going to be one of the first games I think of, for a 30 minute fun fix. Cornucopia meets those same criteria and does the same thing - although in a different way, but with equal success. I have to admit that as good as For Sale is, I'm getting a little tired of it myself after having played it countless times, and if Cornucopia can achieve a similar result, I'll probably grab it to meet a similar need, at least for now.
What do others think?
It's still early days for Cornucopia. It's barely on the shelf in stores, and most people probably have not even heard of it yet, let alone know how to spell it or pronounce it. But some folks have played the game, and it's worth having a listen to some early reactions.
There's not much negative response at this stage, and certainly no real consensus about specific weaknesses or issues. One gamer didn't find the choices interesting, while another gamer found the passing around of chips a bit tedious and there's some truth to that. But the only criticism raised so far that arguably has some legitimacy has to do with the rulebook:
"The rulebook, measuring at only like 8 pages, was one of the toughest ones I've had to work through, ever. Seriously, it took my wife and I almost a full game to feel like we got it down. Once we did however, it was a pretty good game. It's going to see a few plays with the family. I just highly recommend a solo run through of a full game or something before you try to explain it. " - DL Crizzle (bippi)
Note that this isn't really a criticism of the game itself, or even of the gameplay or the rules, but more of the rulebook, and the process of learning how to play. And quite honestly I can see where this concern is coming from, because I had to figure out how the game worked as well, and it's certainly much easier to learn first hand, or with the help of some pictures. Well guess what folks, you just got all that and more in this review! After reading the above article, I think that learning the game should be a cinch, and you shouldn't have any problem understanding the rules and gameplay.
Most initial reactions at this point are positive, such as these:
"This neat little betting game lets you wager on whether or not your opponents will have a successful turn as they attempt to fill the horn of plenty. Its nice and its light -- and its fun to bet against your opponents!" - Bob Solow
"For it's relatively short play time, there are enough reasonably good decisions to make and it does a great job of keeping all of the players engaged throughout (as you are betting on the other players' decisions). When we played, we often found ourselves high-fiving and ribbing each other after a cart was either completed or not. You can't go wrong with this innovative filler." - Topher Frisco
"Press your luck, and make your bets based on if you think others will make it. Interesting game." - Andrew Tullsen
"I like the Gryphon line of games as they play quick and are generally good, fun games. Cornucopia is a solid addition to this line of games. The artwork is colorful and while bidding is the dominant mechanic in the game it mixes it nicely with the push your luck element of trying to complete baskets with the fewest number of cards. I'm looking forward to future plays and feel good about recommending Cornucopia to gamers and families alike." - Alan Reeve
"Like the betting aspect to keep you interested throughout the game and eliminate downtime." - Todd Sweet
"It's a good fit for the Gryphon line and a fun game to play." - Bobby Warren
Is Cornucopia for you? This is not Agricola, so if it's a gamer's game with a farming theme you're looking for, look elsewhere. But if it's a "For Sale" type filler game you're looking for, one that can provide a 30 minute "For Sale" type experience without being anything like "For Sale", then Cornucopia is your game. A very fun filler, with lots of laughs and excitement!
The complete list of Ender's pictorial reviews: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/37596
Ender's other reviews of the Gryphon Games bookshelf series: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/48478
Tue Mar 9, 2010 10:37 am
I like it, although I'm not sure that calling it Cornucopia was the most brilliant marketing move.It's funny that you mention this as I remember a room full of gamers telling the development guy the same thing when he taught us a pre-production copy... I think "Farmer's Market" was the consensus of a better name.
Farming theme: check! Top class game: check! Strange name ending in A: check!...but now that you put it like this... perhaps Cornucopia is a BRILLIANT marketing move
Another outstanding edition to the BGG database Andrew Wiggin! Although I'm surprisingly more upbeat about the game after reading your review than after playing the game 3 times! How'd you do that?!?!?
Tue Mar 9, 2010 5:27 pm
|Isn't there another way to get a chip (yellow, I think?): when you establish that one of the baskets is either all-the-same or all-different? I just read the rules the other night, and scanned your review so I could be misremembering or just have missed it in the tome you produced!|
Tue Mar 9, 2010 7:54 pm
|This is a great review. But 13+3+6+12=34 (not 44)|
Tue Mar 9, 2010 11:26 pm
Isn't there another way to get a chip (yellow, I think?): when you establish that one of the baskets is either all-the-same or all-different? I just read the rules the other night, and scanned your review so I could be misremembering or just have missed it in the tome you produced!
You're quite right about that rule, it was mentioned, albeit somewhat buried under the heading "Flow of Play: Outcome", but it's worth repeating and highlighting:
The baskets which have all the same goods are harder to get, but also more lucrative and earn more gold coins. In fact, as an incentive to make baskets A, B, C or D an "all the same" basket, there's a special rule that if you place a card that is the determining card for making one of these baskets an "all the same" basket, you earn a gold coin by doing so.
Here's an example:
Basket A on the far left includes a wild card, so at this point it's undetermined whether it will be a basket with "all the same" goods or "all different" goods - it will depend on the next card placed in that basket. If you draw a Purple Eggplant card, you have two choices about where you could place it:
a) Basket D (which is already an "all the same" basket, and is more likely to be filled this turn)
b) Basket A (thus committing it to being the more difficult "all the same" basket) - this would earn you a gold coin.
Wed Mar 10, 2010 3:30 am
|Very helpful review! Looks like I'm going to have to buy this one.|
Thu Mar 11, 2010 7:54 pm
Another outstanding edition to the BGG database Andrew Wiggin! Although I'm surprisingly more upbeat about the game after reading your review than after playing the game 3 times! How'd you do that?!?!?
And after a couple of more plays I remember why I put this on the hard-to-reach-game-shelf... There is too much token-pushing, and just not enough interesting decisions to make in this game to satisfy my lunch time gaming need.
Thu Mar 11, 2010 8:08 pm
Thanks for another wishlist addition, Ender. |
My daughter turns 7 in a couple weeks, I think I might have to try and convince my wife this would make a wonderful present for
Or maybe I should buy it and then try to convince her... after all, as someone, somewhere once said, "It is easier to ask for forgiveness than permission."
Fri Mar 12, 2010 3:59 pm
Be honest, how many of you even knew of the word agricola before the game of that name came on the market?
I did. But it was the USDA agricultural database.
Sat Mar 20, 2010 1:17 am
I just don't see all the enthusiasm, though. It looks as if there are just two factors to winning: 1) luck, and 2) the ability to calculate odds in your head. Not even very complicated odds, either -- if you memorized the percentiles for a dozen possible outcomes, you'd have an advantage over all the other players. Or print out a spreadsheet and let everyone look at it, and the game loses any interest whatsoever.
Sun Mar 21, 2010 8:14 pm
Wait, wait, wait... the designer of Betrayal putting a game down for too much luck and not enough meaningful decisions? |
Kidding aside, I love Betrayal for what it is: a fun game where great theme and simple rules come together to make a memorable experience. I suspect that Cornucopia would fit a similar description, despite being a very different type of game.
For a short and light gambling/press-your-luck game Cornucopia sounds unique and interesting. Getting non-gamers to play shouldn't be too hard because of the betting aspects, and grafting on some drinking rules for missed bets could make this a party hit (assuming you are into that kind of party).
This won't be a game for every person or situation, but Ender's review has convinced me that Cornucopia might work with some of the people I game with.
Wed Mar 24, 2010 9:23 pm
I think you meant to say: "all different" basket.
Regardless, thanks again for your great review. Add another game to my "owned" list thanks to Enders!
Wed Mar 31, 2010 12:54 pm
I'm amazed to see that the artwork is radically different than the one in other Dominion expansions.|
The change in gameplay mechanics is refreshing, though.
Thu Apr 28, 2011 10:36 am
Nice review! I'm buying this game! But do you know the card size? (because I want to buy sleeves at the same time!)|
Sat Apr 7, 2012 9:13 pm
Nice review! I'm buying this game! But do you know the card size? (because I want to buy sleeves at the same time!)
I'm fairly sure they're just standard poker sized cards. At any rate the cards are the same size as the cards from all the other entries in the Gryphon Games bookshelf series.
Thu Apr 26, 2012 1:36 am
|I managed to pick this one up for little at a convention. I do love your reviews, and almost always agree on your verdicts, but I'm sorry to say that this game fell completely flat for my 12-year old son and me. The luck factor is very high, the betting feels pasted-on, and for the simple gameplay there's quite a bit of fiddling required. Maybe this is better with more players and/or a younger crowd.|
Tue Jun 4, 2013 10:50 am
I managed to pick this one up for little at a convention. I do love your reviews, and almost always agree on your verdicts, but I'm sorry to say that this game fell completely flat for my 12-year old son and me. The luck factor is very high, the betting feels pasted-on, and for the simple gameplay there's quite a bit of fiddling required. Maybe this is better with more players and/or a younger crowd.
It's not a great game - needed another round of development to smooth its rough edges (like the 2 different types of currency and the fact that betting almost always goes all one way). That said, it is definitely better with 4 players.
Tue Jun 4, 2013 1:19 pm