Two things attracted me to this game. First it's a 2-player only game, which are real favourites in my house. Second, the mechanics are very reminiscent of solitaire, which is instantly familiar to everyone. In The Blood of an Englishman, you are moving and reordering cards from 5 central stacks. The Jack player is trying to create 3 separate stacks -- beanstalks -- of 6 cards in ascending order. The Giant player is trying to get 4 cards -- Fee, Fi, Fo, Fum -- together in one stack or as the top card of 4 of the stacks.
While the basic idea here is really simple and cool, the execution is not. The moves that each player makes, for us, seem arbitrary. I get that they make mathematical sense (Jack can move 3 cards each turn while the Giant can move either 4 cards in a block or 2 cards, which can average out to the same 3 cards as Jack), but there is so little thematic motivation for the rules that we found them hard to internalize and constantly needed to check the handy reference cards.
A few of the moves do make thematic sense. The Giant's ability to discard a beanstalk card feels like he is destroying the beanstalk to keep Jack away from the treasures in the sky. This gives a tantalizing glimpse into what the designers were aiming for. But several move restrictions, which are necessary to balance the game, kill this thematic goal. My Mom really noticed this, asking "if Jack take something from the top of the beanstalk to the bottom (move a card from the back of the stack to the front), why can't the Giant move something from the bottom of the beanstalk to the top (move a card from the front of the stack to the back)?" Thematically, she's absolutely right and I had not better answer than "that's the rules and it would break the game."
(It does look gorgeous when set up)
This is one of the few games that my family has had a visceral negative reaction to. My easy going mother, who lives by the motto if you can't say anything nice don't say anything at all, has openly declared her dislike of this game. My son, after seeing us play, has resolved that he will never play this game.
There is a neat idea here that might appeal to those who like more abstract games. For my family, The Blood of an Englishman was a complete miss.
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- Last edited Fri Jul 14, 2017 11:31 pm (Total Number of Edits: 1)
- Posted Fri Jul 14, 2017 12:47 pm
I actually pre-ordered this game and followed it closely as it looked vert interesting and got mainly positive reviews.
While i cannot agree with the constant need to checking the rules, i do agree that it one of the few games i own that literally nobody has any fun playing at all.
Seems like a good idea, but it just isn't fun at all.