Fishy Tactics, Kickstarter by Toby Fairclough, Reviewed by Jason Elliott from PaladinElliott Productions
What are the recommendations for this game?
Number of players: 2-4
Time of game: Plays in a very quick 10 minutes (including teaching players how to play)
Age recommendation: 4 years and up
The back story:
It is time to go fishing. You and the players have gone out to the water, and you have taken position with your boats. Now it is time to catch some fish by reeling them in, but wait, there is a pesky crocodile going around and eating them. Try and get as many as you, and at the same time try to get higher value fish (denoted by color).
What comes in the game? (Note: Basing this off the prototype copy)
One fabric board (makes it take up less space)
1 Cloth Travel Bag
1 six sided die
1 Crocodile Meeple
3 Red Fish Meeples
5 Orange Fish Meeples
7 Yellow Fish Meeples
9 Blue Fish Meeples
1 Spinner ( I attached a plastic jar lid with super glue for stability)
What is the end game objective? What am I striving for?
You want to catch the most fish worth the highest points. The player (or crocodile) with the most points worth of fish at the end of the game wins.
How do I set the game up?
Each person who wants to fish will pick a boat to cast their line from (rolling the die is how many spaces you reel a fish in). You want to place the green crocodile in the middle of this 5 by 5 grid playing board. Then take the fish and place them in the bag (to make it random) and place one fish each in the remaining 24 squares. Make sure you have your die and spinner ready, and you are set to go!
Now to play:
The first player is the one who is determined randomly. So may I suggest, maybe the last player to actually go fishing, or the first player to name a type of fish, or the first to name a fish movie. On a player's turn, you will first spin the spinner to determine the direction that the crocodile moves. The crocodile will move one square left or right, up or down, or diagonally. If there is a fish where the crocodile moves then the crocodile eats it. If the crocodile cannot move, then the crocodile stays in place (at the borders). You will then roll a die to determine how many squares you can move a fish. The idea will be to move that fish to your boat space. Moving from the square adjacent to the boat to the spot where the boat is counts as one move. Once this has happened you score that fish. Remember though that on someone's roll of a six, they can choose to steal from you, and you place all of your scored fish in the cloth bag, shake it up, and they choose one at random to place in their scoring area. Once you have rolled a 1 through a 5 and made your move, or a 6 and stolen someone else's fish your turn is over. Please remember that scoring fish works like this:
Blue Fish = 1 point each
Orange Fish = 2 points each
Yellow Fish = 3 points each
Red Fish = 5 points each
Special Note: There is a way to block a fish from moving. You are allowed on your turn (roll of 1 through 5) to move a fish onto another fish. Think of this as the top fish made the lower fish go deeper in the water. The lower fish is blocked and not allowed to move. To free the fish below, one must move the fish on top. This would be a strategy used to block high point fish.
When does the game end?
The game ends when the last fish has been claimed by moving into a player's boat or is eaten by the crocodile. At that point all players total their scores, and the score of the crocodile. The highest score wins!
Are there any variations for this game?
You could ignore playing against the crocodile. You can always do this if you want for the little ones to have a human player win, but I have not seen any reason to do so. You may also instead of the spinner apply an eight sided die with the directions the crocodile will move. You draw out a 3 by 3 grid on a scrap piece of paper, and mark all the squares (except the true middle square) with the numbers 1 through 8 to determine where the crocodile goes.
Some game results:
Our games so far have been wonderful, there is enough randomness to the game that different players have won each time. This is a good game for younger players because there is a higher emphasis on luck than on strategy. In fact everyone has figured out that it is not only about getting the highest point fish, but in blocking them from other players as well. In fact, as we speak, another round of the game is being played upstairs!
I would easily say this game is going to be a family favorite, due to being readily available for not only the parents, but for our 7 year old son (Arnold) and 5 year old daughter (Talia) to play. I will be scoring this a 10 on the BoardGameGeek.com scale (1 through 10, where a 5 is I would play it 50% of the time it is mentioned for playing). This score is based only for families with small children. I am not going to have anyone compare it to solely adult skill level games, with that being said this deserves a 10 out of 10. Why the high score? First, it has an easy learning curve, where both of my children picked up how to play the game in only a few moments. Second, the theme and fun match. My kids were giggling, my wife and I were giggling, and when anyone stole a fishy, there was all kinds of noises being made. Third, the size of the game. Toby focused on making a great game, that could travel with you, and be part of your collection, and he did that very, very well! Fourth, the quality of the parts mean this game will hold up for a long time, and that is what I want in a game. Fifth, it is very colorful, as the fish look like they are swimming around, and the color palette is eye catching.
In conclusion, this is a MUST for those families who want to bring their little ones to the table. Maybe you want to teach them to socialize, or maybe help them with their Math Counting skills. Maybe you want to teach them about making strategic decisions in a very light hearted, non threatening way. It could also be that you want to play a game that is very quick, good for laughing, and simply enjoyable. Look no further, because this will be a great family game to play amongst parents and their children for years to come!
Thank you so much for reading this report on Fishy Tactics!
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RET. SSG Jason L. Elliott (PaladinElliott)