My wife and I played a prototype copy of Package!? at the Chimera game store near Nottingham, UK.
Package!? is a 2-4 player, abstract strategy game which claims to take five minutes. Early games will take longer until you become familiar with the rules.
In Package!? your goal is to deliver packages (wooden cubes of your player colour) to five different locations, with each location worth differing points. Once a player delivers all their packages each player has a final turn and then scores are calculated to determine a winner.
The graphical design and box art are of a very high quality, especially for a prototype. Due to the theme, it may look somewhat plain but certainly wouldn’t look outclassed on a shop shelf. The pawns were acceptable but the cubes felt a little light. Overall, I liked the presentation and components and these are prototypes, so may change.
My first misgivings came with the rules. Presented on a single, double-sided and folded sheet, the first impression is again good. However, the layout and presentation of the rules feels padded and meandering. Quick reference tables feel badly needed here. For example, there are three situations where you can manipulate existing cubes, resulting in either: move a cube one location, move a cube to “location one” or remove a cube entirely. These are all explained in different sections, but I would very much have preferred a summary table of event descriptions and consequences. A lot of time was spent consulting the sheet when these situations arose, although this would decrease with experience.
The actual gameplay is driven by a six sided dice. Initially, you roll the dice and go wherever you roll, with a six giving a free choice. On arrival you place a cube. That’s it. It’s a roll and move mechanic without even the choice of direction you would get in some games. As the game develops, you gain new options, such as affecting a location with cubes totalling the same as the number rolled instead of moving and placing. Rolling a six gains some new options too once cubes are in play. Reaching three packages in a space or going to a space where an opponent already has three packages are the other special situations and I already listed possible outcomes in the previous paragraph.
Choices are few in this game. You roll, you move. Sometimes you will have another choice besides moving, but it will usually be very clear which choice to make. There is never a feeling of excitement as you hope to roll a crucial number, because there are no big plays out there to hope for. In the end I felt that the game was playing me and not the reverse. I went through the motions until it was over.
Is it a bad game then? No, not entirely, but it fails to rise above the competition or even offer variety in its field. It comes in a nice box and is a competent game with working rules. Abstract games are not my preference, but I could still name several that I would play before this. If it is aiming to be a family game then the fiddly situation and consequence rules may annoy younger players (and myself!) while if it aims to be a game for adult players then it lacks the need for planning or strategy. I don’t mind light games if they are fun, but this did not appeal to me at all.
Disclaimer – I played this a week ago, but the above is accurate as best I can recall.
I gave this 3 out of 10, following the BGG guidelines, as I probably wouldn’t play this again.
Shep @ Half Wing Games
Thanks for the honest review and comments. Sorry it didn't tick the boxes for you.
One thing that you stated in your review was the need for a reference card or similar. You are not the first to provide this feedback and as such one is being produced as we speak (it will be double sided on a large tarot-sized card) to be included in the game as standard. Also, a scoring reference and example illustration will be included on the inside of the box lid in full colour to help with the end game section.
Even though you didn't dig the game, you have my thanks for checking the game out. I really appreciate it!
Thanks to you too. Although I wasn't keen on the game, I very much enjoyed the experience of testing a prototype and exploring the unknown without preconceptions.
I wish you every success with this game and any future games. I'm sure there are people out there who will love it.