The Hungry Gamer Previews Tasty Humans
Before I begin, I received a preview copy of the game in exchange for an honest review. This is NOT a paid review.
There are so many games out there about slaying monsters terrorizing the countryside. Some evil dragon, or troll, is running amok, and it is up to the brave adventurers to slay the monster and save the day. But what if these monsters are just misunderstood? Is it their fault that they are hungry and kings and village leaders are unquestionably delicious?
Tasty Humans is an upcoming game that looks at those questions from the monsters' perspective. In this game you are a monster trying to fill your belly with you absolute favorite meals. And by meals, I mean humans. Tasty, tasty, humans.
In Tasty Humans each player receives a monster player board. The left side has your monsters own special scoring condition and the right side is a grid, that represents your monsters stomach. The monsters take turns eating various adventurers that are trying to rescue the king from the monsters.
As each adventurer is eaten, which may result in monsters taking damage, depending on the location of the Adventurer in the grid, the monster places body parts in their belly. They have to place them in in the same shape as on the adventurer card, but they can rotate it however they want-Tetris style, and it will fall to the bottom of the monster belly. At the end of each round, the monster gets to chow down on a village leader, and snatch up another one to be enjoyed later.
These leader tiles, are all different, and they are what determine your individual monster scoring conditions at the end of the game. As you eat leaders you then have to do your best to place body parts in your stomach in the best arrangement to maximize satisfaction, and therefore points. Once a monster fills their belly completely the round ends at the end of that round.
So what do I think?
There is so much good about this game. I LOVE the art. It is adorable, and cartoonish. I think this is the best way to go with it, because otherwise the game would be INCREDIBLY gruesome. As it is, it is just delightful to chow down on peasants and archers. I also really like most of the components, the player boards are really chunky and sturdy, and the tiles are some of the nicest feeling cardboard chits I have come across. They have a delightful glossy finish to them.
I am a big fan of the mechanics of the game as well, there is enough going on with adventurer selection to really make you think carefully before selecting as you try to balance your scoring conditions, the adventurer abilities, and potential damage. The method of drafting leader tiles at the end of each round is well done, as it adds incentive to selecting, potentially damaging adventurers in order to earn an earlier selection. It also helps that the rulebook is extremely clear, and easy to read.
Finally, I grew up playing Tetris, so having that Tetris like mechanic of rotating around the body parts is both nostalgic and fun. It has just the right amount of complexity to force you to think, but not so strange that it is confusing. The change that the pieces will break apart inside the monster belly is a good change from the Tetris that we all know and love.
I think this game has good replay potential. However, it is currently limited to only four monster choices, I think it would be well served to have a few more options. Perhaps make the player boards double sided and have eight options. That would be excellent.
This game also runs a risk of being very long if you play with folks who suffer from analysis paralysis. There is a LOT to think about in this game, and their are so many ways to blow it.
My only complaints have to do with the components. Yes I know I said I love them, and I do, mostly. The King token is just a generic boardgame piece. (This very easily could be changed in the actual version, or would be a FANTASTIC stretch goal) Yes, for the most part it is just a first player token, but it kind of takes you out of the game to pass around a piece that could come out of a Sorry box. I also found that in the version I received (again it was a prototype so I suspect this will be fixed for production) that the boards were not quite flat and they would spin around very easily if bumped. For a game that is all about small tiles placed specifically on a board...that is bad.
Bringing it all together
Tasty Humans is a fun, simple puzzle game with excellent art and strategic potential. It is quick to learn, thematically delightful, and nostalgia inducing game. Most of the components are excellent, though the king token is a disappointment, and the player boards I received where not flat. The game does run the risk of running long if you are playing with the type of people who have a penchant of trying to analyze every possible move.
Can't read now. Eating!
*Fun Tetris like puzzle game
*Awesome art, fun theme
*Well crafted, and balanced mechanically.
*Deceptively "thinky" game
*Some components need to be improved, but most are AWESOME
*Probably do not want to play it with players prone to analysis paralysis