Game Overview: In March 2014, Let Them Eat Shrimp! was successfully funded on Kickstarter. The game is an easy to learn tile laying game where players place a fish tile onto the game board. If it covers certain fish images, they get those fish in return. However, if they cover up any part of a shark image on the game board, most likely the player will end up losing a fish tile from their possession. At the end of the game, players score victory points for sets of fish and shrimp tiles they have collected. They also earn points if they have any of their initial fish egg tokens remaining.
Box Contents: There are a lot of tiles (140) in the game box and all are nice and thick. The game boards are also the same thickness of the tiles. There is not an easy way to store this many tiles with the box that is provided. We had to use baggies to store and separate them out. We would suggest this for easy setup for each game play. The art is well done and if you look closely at the fish tiles, you will see that they are not always the same.
Clarity of Rules: The rules manual is done very well. It is an eight page full color manual which includes a few pictures for game play directions. However, most of it is text. This is not an issue though as our 11 year old son sat down and read through the manual and taught the rest of the family the game.
Game Play: For the basic game setup, each player is given a shield to hide the fish they currently have, 3 fish egg tokens, and one tile for each fish type. Depending on the number of players, you will have either 2 or 3 game boards in front of all players. To determine the starting point on each game board, one of the green triangle fish tiles is dropped onto the board. The game play simply consists of laying one of your fish tiles onto the board where one side of the placed tile touches at least one side of another tile that had previously been placed. Whatever is covered up by your tile is what you will receive back into your supply of fish. For example, covering up a blue diamond and green triangle with a single tile, gives you a blue fish (diamond) and a green fish (triangle). Additional images are placed throughout the board. If you cover up a shrimp, you take a shrimp token which equals two points at the end of the game. If you cover up a starfish, you must roll the die. Depending on the roll you will either get one of the four fish tiles, the ability to choose one of the fish tiles, or not getting anything if you roll a shark. If you cover up a shark tile, you roll the same die. However, you lose the fish type you roll instead of gaining one. If you are lucky and rule the star fish, no fish is lost. The three fish egg tokens may come into play when covering up the sharks. If the die comes up with a fish tile that you do not have, you must turn in one of your fish eggs. Game play continues until all available fish images on the game board have been taken or there is no legal placement available. Scoring is based upon the number of sets you have gained throughout the game. For each complete set of fish tiles you earn 5 points, a set of three gives 3 points, and a set of 2 equals 1 point. If you have any fish eggs remaining, you can use them as wilds to complete sets. In addition, each shrimp you obtained gives you 2 additional points.
When you are ready to move to the advanced game, the skill level really kicks up to another level. First you will typically use the other side of the game boards which has many more sharks on them. At times when you cover up a shark, you will have to roll the die multiple times instead of being one and done as you see in the basic game. In addition, you now have a player mat where you place each fish type onto the mat. Each player takes a turn to play one of the fish from the player mats. Once everyone has cleared off their player mats, the first player token is passed to the next player and everyone fills up their player mats again with the same four fish tiles from the supply they now have. if they do not have enough fish to complete their player mat, they must turn in one of their fish eggs for each fish they are missing. If at any point, you do not have any fish eggs left and you are missing fish from your play mat when it needs to be filled up, you are eliminated from the game. End game scoring stays the same as the basic game.
Replay Ability: Because the starting points are different each game and the tiles that you will obtain are going to be different from game to game along with the basic and advanced game, there is a lot of replay ability.
Appropriate Audience: The box suggests 6+, which we think is right on. There is no reading with the exception of the scoring summary that explains the points earned. The shapes of the tiles can also lead to a teaching opportunity for the younger kids as they will need to recognize the difference between triangles, diamonds, trapezoids, and hexagons.
What We Liked/Didn't Like: We like how easy it is to learn and to teach the game. Even though the game seems easy, we find that it is very challenging at the basic level to create multiple sets at a four player level. Also, when you are ready for a challenge, you can move to the advanced game where it is possible that you will not even make it to the scoring round. At times, there doesn't seem to be a lot of strategy involved as your tile placement is dictated by the other players, unless you are willing to take your chance by covering up a shark.
Add-ons/Other Releases: An expansion was released in 2014 titled Shark v Squid, which contains squid and shark tokens. The squid titles can be used to attack the shark, take shark tokens, and score points.