Pick Picknic is a silly themed simultaneous action selection game by Stefan Dorra. In this re-theme of Razzia, players will attempt to gather the most corn to feed their chickens or play foxes to eat their opponent’s birds. The player with the best feed flock will win. A great game for kids and good light filler!
6 Farm tiles (4” cardboard squares in 6 colors)
78 Corn Cubes (1/2” wooden cubes in 3 colors: Green, Blue, and Yellow)
60 Cards (birds with values -2,3,3,4,4,5, or 6 and fox cards valued 4,5,or 6 for each of the 6 colors)
1 wooden die (standard 6 sided)
The components are of good quality. The cards are similar in size and quality to those in Ticket to Ride. My cards have started to show minor signs of wear after about 30 plays, but they seem like they will hold up for quite a few more plays before it will become distracting. The Doris Matthäus artwork is well done and very fitting for a fun, light game.
I highly recommend using the “1 more farms than the number of players” variant at all times. This variant will increase how often players chose the same color farm. For this variant, only place out the number of farms equal to one more than the number of players. Remove all the cards for the colors not being used from the deck, and place them and the unused farm tiles back in the box.
Deal 5 cards to each player (6 if playing with only 2 players) and place a cube on each farm. The color cube dropped on each farm should be randomly selected, so just grab a handful of cubes at a time and let one fall on each farm without looking at the colors.
Each round is made up of 3 steps:
1.) Pick a card
All players chose a card at the same time and hold it out in front of them face down so no other players can see it.
Once every one has chosen a card, all players reveal the cards at the same time
2.) Resolve the cards
Each card will have a color and one of the following:
• A bird and a number between 3-6
• A fox valued either 4,5, or 6
• A fleeing bird with a -2
The color card played will determine which farm the player will be going to that round. How each farm resolves will depend on all the cards played for that color.
1. If a bird card is the only card played of a color, it will eat all the corn (collect all the corn and add it to your score pile)
2. If more than 1 bird is played of a color, the players have 2 options
They may split the cubes anyway they can agree on (it does not have to be even)
They can fight for the corn (each player rolls the dice and adds the total to the number on their card until 1 player wins, that player takes all the corn)
Foxes don’t eat corn, only birds
If no birds are at the same farm as a fox, the foxes on that farm will not collect anything (again, foxes do not eat corn!)
If a fox and at least 1 bird are on the same farm, the fox will eat all the birds on that farm (the birds will not get any corn)
If 2 foxes and at least 1 bird are in the same color, the foxes have to fight (roll and add it to your fox number, highest total gets the birds)
Foxes may not split up the birds!
Birds eaten are kept in the players score pile with their eaten corn (each bird will be worth the number of points listed on the card at the end of the game)
The Scared bird (the -2 card):
If not other card is player in the same color as the -2 card, it will collect all corn in an area just like a normal bird
If any other card is played in the same color (either a fox or bird), the -2 player will eat a green corn and run. If no green corn is on that color, the bird will not get any corn. If a fox is on that color, the fox must eat the -2 bird (it will be worth negative points at the end of the game)
3.) Pass out new cards and place a corn cube on each farm
After each turn, all the played cards are collected into a discard pile (except for the birds eaten by foxes). One player should then pass out a card to each player (the discard pile will be shuffled and reused when you run out of cards)
Another player should randomly add one corn cube to each farm (always add one cube even if there are still cubes on the farm).
End of Game / Score:
Keep playing until there are not enough corn cubes to place one on each farm and then count the score.
Each corn is worth 1-3 points depending on the color.
Green = 1
Blue = 2
Yellow = 3
Each bird card eaten by a fox is worth the number on the card (3 to 6 points).
The player with the highest total score wins.
There’s a ton of luck in this one, but a couple of things may help give you a bit of an edge (if you really feel the need to play it competitively):
1. Keep track of the foxes; there are only 3 of each color in the deck. All 3 foxes of one color will rarely all be in the discard pile at once, but it can make you feel safer playing a 6 bird on the farm with the most corn knowing there’s only 1 fox out there instead of 3 (you will still be eaten by the fox anyway, but it’s good to know there’s sound strategic thinking behind your choice).
2. Know the score. You don’t need to keep track of the exact amounts for every player, but having a feel of about where you are in the pack and who the leader is. I mainly look at who wins the bigger turns (when the fox eats 6+ points or birds or a pile of corn is won by a single player) and try to put the rest of the players into a “ahead”, “behind”, or “about even” status. Knowing where you stand can really help in the decision to negotiate or not. As an example, say you and one other player trailing by 10 points are on the same farm with 10 points of corn and have the same number bird. It’s around turn 10 and you are sharing the lead with 1 other player. I’d offer the 50/50 split and would most likely accept a 60/40 in their favor if no other farm had more than a few points on it. You may not agree, but a minor lead with only a few rounds will likely work out better than being 1 of 3 players tied for the lead.
3. Take the odds into consideration when negotiating deals. Since only a single D6 is rolled by each player in a fight, the odds for a +1 or +2 advantage might not be worth the risk (about 2/3rds advantage with +1 and around 5/6ths with +2. With +3 or more, the advantage is up in the 95%+ range). Are 1 or 2 more points worth the 1 in 3 shot of losing? If you have the advantage in the fight, you can always attempt to split the cubes more in your favor. An “I’ll take 5 and give you 2 since I have the advantage” deal may be accepted (or at least set up a 4 to 3 point counter offer).
4. If you have a higher score than a player on the same farm, think about splitting it rather than fighting. The game only lasts 13 turns with 5 players (more with fewer players if playing with the ‘one more farm than number of players’ variant); each turn leaves your opponents with fewer chances to catch up. If you have the lead and split a high point total farm, you will extend your lead over the players who did not split and maintain the same advantage with the splitting player…not bad for absolutely no risk. Of course if you are trailing, you should just fight it out since it’s likely your best chance to get back into the game.
Note: I was using this tactic until I was asked why I sometimes split the corn and sometimes force the fight. After explaining it, no one splits it anymore.
Even if you do know the exact number of foxes left in each color, it’s always going to come down to the luck of picking the right card each turn. Do you go for the farm with the best score in corn or go for the second best farm to avoid a possible fox? Should I play a fox on the second best farm thinking everyone will avoid the obvious best choice? Should I play my duck on the best farm since everyone else will not expect you to actually try to play on that farm?
The best strategy for Pick Picknic is to not take it seriously and just have fun.
I really like this game for 4 reasons:
1. It’s fast paced. A typical game is over in about 25 minutes.
2. It’s simple. Perfect for gaming with the family (everyone from the 5 year old nephew to grandma loves it)
3. It’s such a silly theme and so dependent on luck that it’s almost impossible for anyone to take it too seriously. It’s just a fun game, win or lose.
4. No intimidation. Once I’ve explained the theme and they get a look at the cards, all the standard “this looks complicated” comments from non-gamers are surprisingly absent.
5. The smack talk. For some reason, this game seems to pull it out of our normally quiet game group.
While less strategic than most, Pick Picknic still gives the impression of meaningful decisions (even if it is mostly luck that determines the winner). I’d highly recommend this game for anyone who may need a simple game for non-gamers and/or children. It also works well on game nights as a ‘no more thinking’ closer or “recharge” game after a serious flop or brain burner.
Note: This review was written after 31 games played using the 'one more farm than number of players' variant described in the set up section of the review.
Paul - the
My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings; Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!
You spin me right round, baby - Right round like a record, baby - Right round round round - You spin me right round, baby…
Re: Pick Picknic: Not just for the kids! (review and strateg
Just a question, how do you play with three players? The rules state that you should each play two cards per turn, but you seem to imply it's better to play with only four colours and one card per turn. Is this more fun in your opinion?
I have only played the correct 2 cards per turn version of the game once, so take my opinion as mostly hypothetical.
I see the reason to play 2 cards per turn as a way to make up for the lack of players choosing the same farms. By reducing the farms in play, you just as effectively increase the conflict without adding any potential confusion. The game will have a few extra rounds since fewer farms are restocked each turn, but it probably plays in about the same time since you only pick and resolve 3 cards instead of 6 each round.
It probably won’t make much difference in the fun factor either way you play, but I think the variant has two advantages when you are playing with young children:
1. You always play with the same rules (always 1 card per round even if someone else jumps in for the next game)
2. Fewer options each round can keep the game flowing better (both for picking and resolving cards)
The variant also make the 4 player game a bit more interesting.
Either way, I still recommend this one. I'm sure it will start getting to the table more often again during our summer camping season.
Great review! Thanks.
I tried this with my lunchtime group today, 4 player, using the variant... it was pretty good. I was just wondering if you'd ever tried reducing the number of yards further... perhaps to 1 yard per player?
I have never played with equal farms to the number of players. The way we play it seems to work out right for us, so we never strayed once we started playing that way. There is a nice balance of conflict and room to guess correctly to avoid everyone else.
Let me know if you try it with equal number of farms, I would be interested to hear if fewer farms make the fox cards a bit too good.
- Last edited Fri Aug 8, 2008 6:21 pm (Total Number of Edits: 3)
- Posted Fri Aug 8, 2008 6:19 pm
I would think having more farms than players is a good idea, to allow goodies to accumulate faster than they are removed. But your 1 card + fewer farmyards suggestion sounds workable - I'll give it a go next time we play with 3.
I would think having more farms than players is a good idea, to allow goodies to accumulate faster than they are removed. But your 1 card + fewer farmyards suggestion sounds workable - I'll give it a go next time we play with 3.I had wondered about that... maybe putting 2 cubes per yard would work to build up the cubes quicker.
Shame you're not around on Tuesday Ed... I was thinking of opening with this one