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Subject: Who do I see on the mushroom path? My wife! rss

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Justin Davis
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Sewickley
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Probably the most asked question on the geek is, "What game will my girlfriend/wife/partner like?"

I'm always on the lookout for games to play with my wife, but most have been misses. Lost Cities? Too complicated scoring. Jambo? Never made it through a full game. Odin's Ravens? Not a chance. Out of the 12 or so games I've tried, only Ticket to Ride and Archaeology have been successes, and then only if I ask her to play.

When I saw the reviews of Morels, I thought that my wife might actually like it. The theme was something that she wouldn't turn her nose up at, and the game play seemed simple enough that she wouldn't get overwhelmed.

After one play, I knew it was a hit. After 2 plays, she asked to play it again. And the best part? It is a game that I really enjoy playing also!
Overview:
The object of the game is to earn the most points by cooking mushrooms. In order to do that, you "walk" along a trail of cards, trying to collect sets. It is a 2 player game, but I could potentially see it being played by 3. It plays around 30 minutes, even on your first game.

Gameplay:
Each player will start with 3 cards in their hand, and there will be 8 cards set out in a row on the table. This row is the trail that the players are walking down picking up mushrooms. It reminds me a little of the game Parade in this respect.

On your turn, you can either take one of the 2 cards at the end of the trail, take the decay, cook mushrooms, sell mushrooms or play down an empty pan card.

After you do your action, the card at the end of the trail goes into a pile called the 'decay'. The decay will build up to 4 cards, after which, the pile will be discarded and a new decay will start. The trail is then repopulated with cards from the draw deck until there are 8 cards in the trail again.

You have a hand limit of 8 cards initially, and you can never pick up more cards than your limit (except for the basket).

There are several types of cards.

Mushroom cards:
 


Pan and Basket cards:
 


Butter and Cider cards:
 


Moons and Destroying Angel cards:
 


Night cards:
 


Mushroom cards are what you will collect and either sell for foraging sticks, or cook for points. You need at least 3 of one type of mushroom to cook it, and at least 2 of one type of mushroom to sell it. The points you get for cooking the mushroom, and the number of sticks you get for selling the mushroom are listed clearly on the card, with the rarer mushrooms providing more value.

In order to cook your mushrooms, you'll need pan cards (you'll start with one plastic pan). Simply place the set of mushrooms on the table in front of you with the pan. Also, if you manage to collect enough of a type of mushroom, you can add a butter or cider card to the set when you cook them for extra points.

For every basket you pick up, your hand limit will increase by 2. Basket cards are played immediately to the table once picked up.

2 special cards are the moon cards and the Destroying Angel cards. When you pick up a moon card, you discard it to pick the top card off of the Night Card deck. This deck is made up of 8 cards, each a "night time" version of every type of regular mushroom card, except for the Morel.
 

The night time version of the mushroom counts as 2 of that type of mushroom, which makes it great for set collecting within the restriction of the hand limit.

The Destroying Angel is the only bad card in the deck. If you pick that one up, your hand size will be reduced to 4 and will last for a certain number of turns (depending on how many mushrooms you had cooked previously). So far, I've only seen the Destroying Angel picked up once, and only because it was in the decay with some other very sought after mushrooms.

You might be wondering what the foraging sticks are used for. Normally, you are restricted to just choosing one of the last 2 cards on the trail, but for every foraging stick you discard, you can go up the trail 1 card. This can allow you to grab that nice moon card or Morel before your opponent can get it!

The game lasts until the draw deck is depleted and all the cards on the trail gone. At that time, you count up the points for all the mushrooms you cooked and the player with the most points wins.

Components:
The components for the game are excellent, especially considering that this is the first game produced by Two Lantern Games. The box is very sturdy and the insert holds all of the cards and bits well.

 

 


The cards are of quality card stock. They are thick enough that I don't feel the need to sleeve, but not so thick that it makes shuffling difficult. The artwork on the cards are also very nice.

My game came with hand carved wooden foraging sticks, and 2 plastic cooking pans. Also included were 2 very nice player aids with most of the cards listed on one side (along with their card count), and the Gameplay overview on the opposite side. The player aids are reasonably thick and colorful. The only cards missing from the player aid are the night cards.

 


Finally, the rulebook is well written and easily read with plenty of examples. I will have to say that after reading the rules, I didn't have any questions, nor see any ambiguities. There was even a Commonly Asked Questions and Answers section at the end.

Verdict:
Overall, I really like this game. It is light, but has some meaningful, and sometimes painful decisions to be made. Should I grab the Tree Ear mushroom to make my set of 3, or grab the Moon card, hoping to get a night time mushroom that I was collecting? Should I take that third Morel to keep my opponent from having it, even though it won't do me any good? It can be quite painful to see your opponent grab the mushroom you needed, or to send the destroying angel into the decay right as you were about to pick up those cards.

The components are high quality, and the artwork is colorful and well drawn. But best of all, it is a game that my wife likes and will stay in my collection for a long time.
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Brian Foster
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Good review of a game that is rapidly becoming one of our favorites. It has surprisingly difficult tactical decisions, more than you would expect. It's one of the very few games my wife has asked to play, so that tells me Morels is a keeper.

Let's hope that Two Lanterns Games continues to give us other games of this quality.
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B Mendez
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Eau Claire
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My husband is not a gamer, but he's been inviting me to play Morels over Lost Cities or Battle Line every week since I bought it... and once during weekdays!

(Now if only those pans and sticks that the designer promised would arrive in the mail... whistle)
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B Mendez
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Eau Claire
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basm22 wrote:
My husband is not a gamer, but he's been inviting me to play Morels over Lost Cities or Battle Line every week since I bought it... and once during weekdays!

(Now if only those pans and sticks that the designer promised would arrive in the mail... whistle)


Arrived on Friday!!!
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Daniel Howard
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I love this game, the same reasons as the review. It is perfect for couples gaming and the theme is appealing and the artwork beautiful.
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Justin Davis
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Got a resounding endorsement from my 6 year old daughter:

"I didn't just like this game, I LOVE it"

She picked up how to play very quickly.
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