Recommend
 
 Thumb up
 Hide
5 Posts

Squirrel Rush» Forums » Rules

Subject: Round One Question + Overall Appreciation rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Stefan Minor Weaver
msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Hi!

Quick question for the designer (plus a note of appreciation below).

My wife and I have been playing the excellent Smarty Squirrel variant (our daughter is only three, so we’re a few years away from being able to share base Squirrel Rush with her), and one thing we’ve noticed, within the context of ADORING this game, is that the second player has been at a disadvantage more than once on account of being outscored in the very first round, when entering the glade and before the special ability cards kick in. Which is to say: outscored without any ability to avoid being outscored.

Specifically, there have been times when, for example, the first player picks up an initial twelve nuts when entering the glade, but then the second player is limited by the tiles to a maximum of, say, eight. Like, there’s literally no other way onto the board left that would yield more than that. And so the second player, through no fault of his (my!) own, begins the day down four nuts. Which is actually a kind of big deficit to make up in such a fast game and with two equally-matched adults playing the otherwise neck-and-neck Smarty variant. Player Two might spend the whole game futilely trying to chip away at a lead that the first player didn’t really earn. This can happen especially if the opening grid has only one five-nut border tile.

So my question is: Why can’t you use a special ability card right at the beginning, on your first turn? One, I think it would be fun and interesting to be able to skip into the glade with diagonal leaps and backflips right from the get-go. The somewhat predictable and rote first round would become a whole bunch more dynamic and varied in the process. And in general, this could give the second player a chance to avoid falling behind simply because they went second and the first player scooped up the best nuts. Player Two would at least have a chance to find a clever way to tie or outscore Player One because with a full hand of ability cards, it’s unlikely that the first round would ever end as lopsided as 12–8 (and for those who haven’t played, losing a round by four nuts can mean you got your bushy tail kicked).

I love how close games of Squirrel Rush are, and how every single extra nut you manage to nab makes a big difference. So it’s been a wee bit frustrating to begin a game down an initial four or five nuts with no room yet for strategic maneuvering and improvisation via the creative use of an action card. I’m wondering, though, if the designer would specifically recommend not allowing the use of special ability cards as early as round one.

Do want to emphasize, though, that this is a tiny question about an absolutely WONDERFUL little game which, as rahdo noted, is embedded with a surprising amount of tactical depth. Loads of tactile satisfaction, too, in the slapping down of wooden meeple squirrels (squeeples?) on the glade’s thick cardboard tiles. I also love how you really do get a sense of a squirrel’s insane ninja nimbleness when the squeeples begin jubilantly hopping, cartwheeling, and zigzagging across the board. And the best is when the path to fifteen nuts miraculously opens up in front of you and then, a moment later, “clack! clack! clack! clack! clack!” = 5+4+3+2+1 nuts as your squirrel scampers across five tiles. The best.

And, lastly, Malwina Górnisiewicz’s artwork is sweet, whispery, and enchanting. I cherish in particular the stirring “natural light spreading and receding in the woods over the course of a day” round cards, which kind of take the breath away. Also neat for us because they depict, almost down to each specific conifer, the view out our cabin windows (we live in the Beskid Wyspowy range of southern Poland, on a mountaintop encircled by national forest; the game was designed one province over from us). I especially appreciate those cards because they didn’t need to be so special: practically speaking, they mark off the passage of six rounds of play and that’s it. But the designer and artist nonetheless said, “Let’s take these practical cards and make them beautiful, evocative, and memorable.” And they did. And I so admire that. Thank you!
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Michael Frost

Iowa
msg tools
mbmbmb
Just got the game today and can't wait to play it. I plan on playing it at all player counts, but really want to enjoy it 2-player with my GF. But Based on what you wrote, Iam wondering...

1. Did you ever see this problem in games with 3-, 4-, 5-, or 6-players?

2. Did you house rule your proposal and give it a try? If so, did it adequately address the issue?

3. Are you still playing and enjoying this as a 2-player game?

1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Stefan Minor Weaver
msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Beskid Wyspowy variant
To answer your questions in reverse order:

3. Yes! Absolutely. Playing with the Smarty Squirrel variant, we adore and appreciate this game every bit as much as when I wrote about it last autumn, and can’t wait to eventually play it with our daughter. Everything positive I posted about earlier (second half of the post) remains true many, many rounds later. A top-notch warm-up game which can also be played all by itself two or three times in a row.

2. With the Smarty Squirrel variant, I would highly recommend playing with the house rule I wondered about out loud. And I write that as a gamer who is incredibly hesitant to ever incorporate house rules because I so respect the brilliance of board game designers.

But allowing players to enter the glade using a special ability card works really well in our experience. It basically makes the first round as dynamically compelling as the other five, and prevents the not all that uncommon situation described above in which the second player has no chance to match the first player’s haul and is almost immediately down four or five nuts, a not insignificant deficit in Squirrel Rush.

We’ve only played two-player, though, so I can’t really answer your first question. Hmm. I could see the second player still occasionally being at a disadvantage, but I’m not sure about the third player and so on. Maybe they wouldn’t be, once the tiles start flipping and flipping? I’m not sure.

To emphasize, I’d only recommend trying out the rule tweak when playing with the advanced variant. Doesn’t feel as necessary with the more go-with-the-flow base rules.

Either way, enjoy!
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Krzysztof Matusik
Poland
Andrychów
Małopolska
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Hi!
I think I have good news for you. I'm working on new variant for our little squirrel. Basicly it will be something like Smarty but with even more tactical decissions. And you will be able to plat cards in first turn. So there is no problem playing like this in 2-players game: First player plays as in rulebook, second can play card in his/her first tur. I hope it will help to catch runnung oponent. New variant will be available here on BGG before Easter.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Michael Frost

Iowa
msg tools
mbmbmb
I choose to use your House Rule Variant in the 5-player "Smarty-Squirrels Variant" game we played last night. So we could each use one of our cards, even on our first turn. Play went well. Scores were tight. Everyone had fund. Thinking the top 3 had scores of 74-73-71. The 74 won on his last turn at the very end, as he was the last player.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.