Meeple-Sized Reviews Issue #1February 9, 2016
1st edition of Meeple-Sized Review. We review Honey Wars, Wok on Fire, All Queens Chess and Dino Dude Ranch.
In this our first official edition of Meeple-Sized Reviews we look at a host of family games. The idea behind Meeple-Sized Reviews are to do a collection of smaller reviews compared to our other review type which is a more in-depth look at a game.
“Honey Wars? More like Honey Bores!” If you’re expecting me to say that when you hear about a card game all about bees (that even comes with educational facts right on the cards) you would be mistaken. Honey Wars is a neat little game. However, let me state that potential buyers should be warned that this game is very much a “take that” game. The “take that” in the game is come in when you play cards on other players. The cards you are playing represent actual real-life dangers bees’ face and are used to slow opponents down from making 3 hives and collecting 12 pieces of honey that they need to win the game. I have played Honey Wars both 2 and 3-players, with both adults and kids ages 7 and 10 and it has been a real hit. The kids especially like this game, whether it’s putting the take that cards on their dad’s hive, or rolling the die to try to defeat the threat on their own hives, or collecting the honey cubes and becoming “rich” or even learning the bee facts at the bottom of the card. And yes, they also love beating their dad at the game. I am not sure how often this would get to the table with just adults, part of that is the “take that” factor, but with kids (if they can handle the “take that”) it can be a fun family game.
Honey Wars is recommended if you are looking for a good card game to play with your kids and if you do not mind “take that” in your game, plus you will even learn some bee facts along the way.
Honey Wars will be on Kickstarter March 1st, 2016.
Wok on Fire is a Taiwanese game that was recently picked up by Green Couch Games and will be on Kickstarter very soon. This unique card game may be best described as set collecting with a pinch of dexterity. In Wok on Fire, players use a playing card as a spatula and use it to flip over cards that have food pictures on the front sides of them. Most cards do nothing until the end of the game, where they are scored Sushi Go! style. There are 4 cards that have effects that come into play during the game. I have had the chance to play this game both as a 2player game and a 4-player game, and while there are no rules difference, there is a “feel” difference. In the 2-player game, the players have more turns (each player will get 3 more turns) compared to the 4-player game. This gives the 2-player a more strategic feel over the 4-player, as you have more turns to build up your scoring tableau. However, the 4-player game has a light-hearted, jovial feel to the game. With more players, there will be more cheering or groaning (or possibly smack-talking). Also, it should be noted, that the garlic gives you more choices, with the more players playing (since it allows you to give a player of your choice a card from the play area known as “the Wok”). I would also like to note that children around the around age of 7 can play this game, though they will need some help with scoring (all the different foods score differently; like the aforementioned Sushi Go!).
Wok on Fire is a good game for those of you looking for a qwirky filler to play with your gaming group or looking for a game to play with your family. This is definitely a game that even though we received a pre-release copy, we will be supporting ourselves on Kickstarter.
Wok on Fire will be on Kickstarter later this month (February 2016).
This is a tiny little abstract game from ThinkFun, that has nothing to do with chess other than it’s a checkered board and there are Queen pieces (that move like the Queen in Chess) set up on the board. The object of the game is to get four of your Queens in a row – there is no capturing, jumping or bumping – just move your piece and try to get 4 in a row. The box says 8+, but I have played it with our 7-year-old no problem. In fact, the first day we played it – we enjoyed it so much that we played something like 15 times that day. Now I know there are other “4 in a row” games out there, and let me say that I would rather play this game over Connect Four. All Queens Chess is a fast game and is an excellent way to introduce your kids to abstract games. That said, if you only play with adults – there are better abstract games out there for our age group.
In short, if you have kids, and want to introduce them to abstract games or looking for a cheap game to play with them, you really should check out this $13 game.
All Queens Chess is out now.
There is a small gap in the gaming industry between those box store family games you grew up with and gateway hobby game, like Carcassonne or Ticket to Ride. Almost a “gateway’s gateway.” A little too light to be a gateway and a little too long to be a filler, I guess you could call it a
casual game. Dino Dude Ranch is a game found in that limbo. In Dino Dude Ranch, players roll two dice to collect resources and use those resources to purchase dinosaurs. Once one player’s board has been filled up – it is in
the end of the game. Each dinosaur scores differently and you add your dinos up (and subtract any tar pits you may have had to take) with the highest score wins. That simple! The hook to the game, what makes it more than just a child’s game; is the Hired Hands Cards. These cards allow you to manipulate resources, your board, collect dinos and even interact with other players. There is just enough “oomph” to them that they don’t feel too nasty or take that-ish, but provides something for the gamer in me. Actually, I was pleasantly surprised the first time I played Dino Dude Ranch, you could even say I was blown away by the fun I was having.
There are kid games out there that when you play them, and you know – this is only for kids, or are good for an adult to play with a child, but not adult to adult game. We have found that Dino Dude Ranch is a fun light adult to adult game, one that I want to play recently every time I know we are sitting down and having a game night.
I should mention that the production values of the game is great too, Dan Letzring (designer and publisher) really outdid himself. The rules are understandable and the rulebook even has few facts about the dinosaurs found in the game that you might find in books about dinos. The only negative thing that I can say about the game is that I wished it came with a players’ aid/quick start guide for new players or those that haven’t played in a while, but this is minor.
I would like, as a matter of disclosure, to mention there is an expansion to this game – the raptor that is purple with orange feathers (though orange is hard to tell on tile). It is colored as a tribute to The Inquisitive Meeple. However, it had no factor in my decision for this review.
I would recommend Dino Dude Ranch to gamer families, non-gamers/new gamers or even any hobby gamer looking for a light/casual fun game. Emphasis on both casual and fun.
Dino Dude Ranch is out now.
Editors note: As of Feb 2019 The Inquisitive Meeple awards Dino Dude Ranch its Family Time Award for being an excellent family game.
The Inquisitive Meeple Note: Some of the following games (though not all) were review/preview copies given to The Inquisitive Meeple. Any positive opinions/feedback on the game are our own. They were not solicited by publishers or by the designers.