I’ve discussed these games during my interview with Chris Handy recently but I wanted to give my brief inpressions of each game. I’m not going to get into how to play each game. You can find the rules for each here.
So to start off:
RUM – RUM is a set collection game at its heart with some interesting additional mechanics. This is an easy to learn game. It has some thinkiness in trying to figure out what colors of bottles to collect vs. your opponents. This leads to a bit of strategy of playing off other players. It has decent player interaction in stealing of scoring cards. This mechanic is fun and leads to some “Oh MAN!” moments. The pirate theme is nice. I like the ‘trio’ rule because it is helpful as a catch-up mechanic or a ‘surprise’ point makers The game plays fast, has some decisions, and is my family’s third favorite of the set.
GYM – GYM has the best theme of the set in my opinion. It’s an area control game with more. The game mimics the theme very well. It has some actually good decisions with the event actions. The coaches are an under-used/underappreciated mechanic that can make a big difference in the game. The bully mechanic is neat and a key to understand. GYM’s scoring is interesting in that you score the difference between your’s and your opponent’s score on each spot. The movement / advancement of the events is a nice mechanic for helping your own cause that is essential to get a handle on to do well. GYM has nice art. This game probably the most gamer-y of the set. This was second favorite of the 4 for my family and my personal favorite.
ORC– ORC is another nice area control / battle game. It is quick to play but deceptively strategic. In fact I believe it will take several plays to grasp all this game is. The main ‘issue’, if you want to call it that, is that you have to remember to save one or two types of orc for end game scoring. This can be hard to remember. Decisions on where to place each turn can be difficult as you want to optimize placement. It is the second most gamer-y of the set but was my family’s least favorite of the set.
Lastly is SOW.
SOW – SOW’s mancala mechanic is very good and well developed. The game is easy to learn once you get the idea of the mancala. It has lots of think. There is some take that in moving flowers / seeds around or changing the mancala direction. SOW is fairly quick. There can be some strategy in moving the needed flowers around to your wheel barrow and away from your opponents’. The Action cards add a nice twist. The ‘last card placed’ mechanic can really throw you for a loop as you have to plan well to avoid giving your opponents points. I liked this a lot. The art is nice as is the theme. This was my family’s favorite and my second favorite.
That’s my take on Pack O’ Games set 2. I enjoyed all the games and am impressed with how much game and fun is crammed into each. Thanks Chris for making these fun, pocket sized games.
I just received my Kickstarter pledge this week so I thought it was appropriate run this post again. There were 10 games total with all the stretch goal games. I’ll post a review/podcast on all these game very soon.
Full disclosure: Perplext Games supplied advanced copies of these games for review. This did not impact my impressions.