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Jeremy Avery
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A.k.a., the “duck poop game”, and well deserving of the title, in the best possible way. Pheasants, geese, ducks…in all, 6 different types of birds are having picnics today, and there will be corn aplenty! But where birds hang out, foxes are sure to follow. Players try and play foxes to catch birds, or birds to grab corn, or duck poop to frustrate the foxes! Intrigued? Why wouldn’t you be? =)

6 colored cardboard mats are set out in the center of the table, each depicting a different type of bird frolicking or lazing about at their own picnic. Each player is dealt a hand of 5 cards. Each card depicts either a bird numbered 3-6, a fox numbered 4-6, or a duck poop card with a “–2” on it. These cards can be in any one of the 6 colors corresponding to the same colored picnic; e.g. red bird corresponds to red picnic.

At the beginning of every round, one random piece of corn is dropped on each picnic. Corn is one of 3 colors, value 1, 2, or 3 points each, giving different picnics different values, and therefore varying degrees of temptation for the birds! Each player secretly selects a card from his or her own hand, then all players simultaneously reveal. And here’s how it plays out:

If a bird is the only card at that picnic, it gets all the corn at that spot – that’s the easy part. If several birds show up, but no fox, then they must either decide how to split up the corn, or if they can’t agree, they roll a die and add it to the bird’s value, with the highest sum taking all the corn at that picnic. But not the duck poop card! That guy is a chicken! (Some pun intended.) If a bird poop card and any other card (fox or bird) are at the same picnic, the fast fowl grabs one piece of green corn and runs away, leaving the other birds to sort things out amongst themselves. If there is no piece of green corn, he runs away with nothing.

But the wily fox, he’s a different story all together! If a fox shows up at a picnic, and there are no birds there, it gets nothing (foxes ain’t about to eat no corn!) If a fox and any number of birds show up at a picnic, the fox eats all of them and gets points equal to the numbers on the bird cards (those are some valuable birds!) but the devoured birds get nothing with the corn carrying over to the next round. If more than one fox show up with birds, foxes won’t share with other foxes and most roll and add the total of the die to the number on their card, highest number takes all bird points. But if there’s a duck poop card there, the winning fox must take that card worth –2 points!

Since corn may not be claimed because either no one went to that picnic the previous round, or a fox ate all the birds there the previous round, some picnics start to become very valuable from round to round attracting birds, but of course, provides extra motivation for players to play foxes too! A neat balance between wanting to get lots of corn and trying to balance risk versus reward makes this family game an absolute blast. Since players can only chose from their hand, options are a bit limited resulting in some unpredictable picnics! This game can be talk very easily, even to younger children and has been a hit with everyone I have played it with so far (though I’ve not yet tried my game group!) I don’t think games span ages much better than this, as nearly any age should get some enjoyment out of it, and the short duration and small box make it an ideal family game, and make it easy to carry with you. Simple, lucky, fun. And highly recommended.

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