At San Diego Comic Con, I tried a new game published by SafeHaven Games called Scoops. I enjoyed the demonstration so I picked up a copy. It is a light filler that I think is fun. Here are some details.
The game was designed by Kayla and Brian Moseley, with art by Paige Moyer. It is for 2-6 players, ages 7 and up, and takes about 10-15 minutes to play. The goal is to score the most points by building up your ice cream cone with scoops of ice cream and with toppings. You can build on your own cone, or you can play cards on your opponents' cones to hurt them. The game ends when someone plays the "Cherry on top" card. The game comes with six starter cone cards, a large deck of cards, and two rules/scoring cards.
Here's how you play - you start with your basic cone and a hand of five cards. You play one card, and then you draw to replace it. Scoops cards and cone cards can only be played on your own cone, while toppings can be played on your own cone or on one of your opponents' cones. When at least one player has a cone with at least three scoops of ice cream, the game can end by having someone play the "Cherry on top card." Players add up their points, subtract any penalty points, and the winner is the one with the highest score. A player must play a card if possible, even if it would hurt their score. If a player cannot play any card, they must discard one and draw a new one - this counts as their turn.
Scoops cards have a flavor and a color background - Chocolate is on a blue card, wild berry on orange, vanilla on white, etc. Special cones can replace your plain starter cone, or they can have an effect. Toppings cards provide an effect or a bonus. "Cherry bomb" lets you discard the top two scoops of any cone, including your own. "Sprinkles" changes a blue card to an orange one.
Point are scored based on matching flavors and backgrounds. Two blue scoops would be 4 points, 3 would be 8, 4 would be 16, 5 or more would be 32. Scoops of the same flavor score 4/8/16 points for 2/3/4 identical scoops. This matching background s and flavors must be in a row for them to score - being on the same cone doesn't help unless they are touching.
Vanilla scoops (white background) do not combo with other cards, nor do they interrupt combos. They are worth 1 point apiece. However, if you have more than three in your cone, you get penalized 10 points. Unmatched scoops on a cone is -2 points.
Overall, I think this is a fun, light game that could be a great filler between heavier games, or a nice way to begin or end game night. I think it will scale well with young kids. With them, I would likely get rid of the penalty points to reduce confusion. Still have to get this on the table with my game group, but I think they will like it. I also think it will play well with non-gamers.
The scoring is a little confusing, and I wish instead of two identical rules cards, one had been used for scoring examples and questions. And they didn't include my favorite flavor - peanut butter!
I will probably give this a BGG rating of 6. Two thumbs up!