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Subject: A dad's angle on In a Pickle rss

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Mike Romigh
United States
Lansing
Michigan
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My 10 year old daughter got this game for Christmas from an aunt and uncle who, within the realm of our family are lovingly refered to as "Silly Aunt Helen and Crazy Uncle Milt." Seeing the game title and knowing who it's come from, we know we're in for a good time. We just played it today for the first time. This review will be a general review of the game, but will focus more on how well it fits into the family gaming scene. Now, I like having fun playng a game as much as the next guy...especially when gaming with my family, butI'm gonna tell you from the outset that I am the wrong person to be writing this review as I will never play this game again.

First Impressions
A green pickle on a red box...perfect for Christmas. A "Dr Toy 10 Best Game Winner" sticker on the front...Cool, this MUST be good! The tag line says it all "The What's in a Word Game". Flip it over and the blue box bottom offers a little more explantion. "Try to win a set of cards by fitting smaller things into bigger things." Looking back, in a perfect world, at this point I would've handed the game to my family and said "Have fun." But, being the Eager-to-get-my-family-into-gaming-dad that I am, I joined right in, anxious to play a word game with the kids. Words, gotta be educational, right?!?!?

Components
Playing cards. Alot of 'em. 320 to be exact. All with one noun on 'em. A flimsy plastic rack to hold the decks of cards.

Instructions
2 sets of rules. One for fun...used at parties and with a young family. One for sticklers...used for the not so fun ...er, those wanting a bit of a challenge. Pretty clear throughout...plenty of examples shown in the booklet.

Set-up
Every player gets 5 cards. Four cards get placed in the center of the playing area. The deck of cards is placed in the rack and play begins with the person to the dealer's left.

Theming
Every card has a word and a pickle on it. I guess that would be called consistent. The tray could have been in the shape of a giant pickle...outside of that I don't know what else could've been done.

Art
The pickles were drawn very nicely.

Gameplay
hhhhrrrrmmmppmphpphphh...in the 'fun' game you play a card from your hand onto or under an existing card on the table. If the word you're playing is bigger...not determined by the number of letters...than another, your card goes on top. If it's smaller, it goes under it. For instance 'toaster' goes under 'house' but on top of 'pencil'. Here's my problem with this game...a person could argue that the pencil is the Jolly Green Giant's, the house is Mr. Mouse's and the toaster is big enough to toast 84 pieces of bread at a time, thus making the above play horribly out of sequence...or not.

On a side note, at a party where people are having fun, enjoying cocktails and in a festive mood this would be hysterical. For a family whose 10 year old daughter can strike up an argument with her 12 year old brother and 5 year old sister at the same time over whether a basketball is round, this is absolute hell for a dad who is only trying to get his family into gaming for crying out loud!!!

Play continues until one row of words gets to 4 in size. At this point the "Pickle" round starts and everyone has a chance to 'trump' the last card played. Again - Party = fun. Argumentative children = not. The pickle round is 'won' by the player who plays the last card. Four pickles wins the game.

In the 'other'/more stringent version of the game, things are a bit more literal. The rulebook suggests that the row of cards be read as a realistic story. So the above example - 'the pencil in the toaster at their house' would be unacceptable. Again, play continues with pickles being collected until one has four and then the game is over.

In it's defense, the game has a challenge rule which states a play can be challenged by a thumbs up or thumbs down vote. Interpretation, "Clearly you need another excuse to argue with each other!"

Length
The game length depends on the amount of laughter and/or arguing that takes place. The game itself moves quickly.

Gamer Appreciation
I can't imagine a hard-core or experienced gamer tolerating the 'flexibility' of the open ended rules.
The casual gamer will have an easy time pulling this one out when non-gaming friends are visiting, at a party or after a generous amount of pickle martini's have been consumed!
Families will most likely enjoy this game as there is alot of creative thinking that potentially takes place. But, depending on your family and their argument quotient, house rules will in all likelihood need to be established to ensure your ten year old doesn't knock her twelve year old brother off his chair!

Replay
There are 320 cards and a ton of word combination possiblities. Seemingly a lot of replay value.

Fun Factor
Like I said earlier, I am the wrong person to review this game, let alone determine it's fun factor. I, having recently played alot of games like Settlers of Catan, Ra and Acquire was not in the mood for rule inflexibility and therefore found myself being the proverbial stick in the mud. "Fuddy Duddy" was thrown my way alot. My family was having a ball...I was a little suspicious that they were laughing at my fuddi-duddiness as much as they were laughing at the ridiculous string of words being played. Either way, they played another game after I left. 'Nuf said, I guess.

Was it Worth the Dough
Let's just say that I'm glad this was a present. The cool thing about this game is that it was a perfect fit for my daughter and will be a great game when she gets together with the aunt and uncle that gave it to her! And I guess that's what gaming's all about, getting the family together for some face time and laughter...even if it is at the resident fuddy duddy.






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Randy Cox
United States
Clemson
South Carolina
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1024x768 works just fine - Don't Wide the Site!
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As a person who likes Acquire and other 'more rigid' games, I think this game sounds pretty good. Not great, but certainly better than, say, Apples to Apples. Maybe I'll give it a try.
 
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Herb Petro
United States
INDIAN TRAIL
North Carolina
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We have had more problems with this game than Apples to Apples. At least some of the people I know like Apples to Apples, at least on occasion. In a Pickle has been quite a problem in all settings. For us, it proved totally unsuitable as a game to play with children, no matter how we tweaked the rules, and debating the size of things with adults is simply not fun.
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