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Angela Kincaid
United States
Colorado Springs
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This game has an excellent premise. What could be more fun than the birds and the bees, er, rather, fish breeding?

The cards are colorful; but not good for those with any type of visual color defficiency.

There are 60 reef cards in the deck. The layout takes up a lot of space -- not a good game for a round table. The layout consists of four rows of eight reef cards, with the top and bottom row turned face up, the middle rows face down; this represents the reef. One end of the reef is the shore and the other is the open ocean. On the ocean end of the reef are laid out the 'offspring' cards showing the type of fish to breed. This results in four rows of 9 cards each; more than half the reef cards are in play already.

Play begins on the shore side of the rows. You must have a trawler on your side of the rows in order to get cards out of a particular column. You are given one trawler for free; subsequent trawlers cost three worms each. Trawlers must be added to columns sequentially from the shore side out -- they represent the player's 'reach' into the ocean.

From here, it's a simple game of resource acquisition; get the proper color worms to purchase the mommy and daddy fishes.

The tedium comes in when cards are purchased from the reef. The last segment of each turn is high tide - the water of the reef flows to the shore. All cards (except offspring) are shifted to fill in the spaces cleared by cards which have been purchased, plus face up cards with no fish are automatically removed when they hit the shore. This leads to a great deal of card shifting and shuffling and general confusion. It is, without a doubt, the worst mechanism I've ever seen in a card game. And it's just a nightmare if you play with anyone who is obsessive about neatness. This tedium is the only reason the complexity rating is as high as it is.

This game is unpredictable; it's mostly luck, though a little conniving is possible. It has a good 'screw your neighbor' mechanism in the shark card, but it doesn't provide enough amusement to overcome the shortcomings of this game.

While this isn't a worthless game, it doesn't quite reach the level of a 'good' game. I'm desperately searching for someone to take it off my hands.

Overall, I'd give this one a 2.
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