It’s sometimes hard to find games that are younger player friendly and yet offer something for older / more experienced gamers. Here’s a brief look at two such games I tried recently that take one great concept each from more complex games and build introductory level experiences from there.
The cartoonish characters and silly name had me expecting a much lighter game than Abraca…what? turned out to be. Players have a “hand” of five spellstones in front of them that they can’t see the values of, but that are visible to all other players. This recalls games like Hanabi or Beyond Baker Street, but here instead of a cooperative exchange of information towards a common goal players try to use what they see to “cast” (play) their own spells, often to the detriment of other players. Each spell has an associated value, and the value is the same as the number of that spell that exists among all the spellstones in the game (so for example, there are 5 total copies of spell #5). Having a few hidden spellstones each round adds an appropriate amount of luck, but there’s a solid deductive core in this game and it was fun to play with my niece and nephew and see them start to put it all together as the game went on.
Given the humorous player artwork and title I would have liked to see similarly silly spell names (and perhaps effects) instead of things like “fireball,” etc, but it’s a small criticism. Would be a reasonable light-gateway game to have on hand for new gamers of nearly any age.
Next up is a game with perhaps even more universal appeal than Abraca-what? in Sushi-Go! Trimming away everything from games like 7 Wonders except the card drafting, Sushi Go! simply adds a well implemented set gathering goal to create a easy to learn, quick playing card game with nice balance and (light) strategic choices.
The artwork is cute and the sushi theme has just a bit of context that aligns with the desired pairings of different card types. There is enough variation to have the hands feel and play out differently from round to round, and the core mechanic of “take a card, pass your hand, then repeat” is wonderfully simple. Strikes me as a great game to have on hand for quick plays in between diving into heavier fare. Also, this is again a game that introduces a concept prominent in more complex games is an extremely straightforward manner.
That’s all for now. Hope to be back with more soon. 🙂