What's Eric Playing?: Week of February 18, 2019
More reviews! This week we’re starting with Bunny Kingdom and then continuing the month of EXIT game reviews! As always, click on the header to read the full review.
Overall, I think Bunny Kingdom is solid! The drafting / control tension is really fun, and I think there are usually really interesting decisions to make (naturally, in a drafting game, there are always some uninteresting decisions or non-decisions, but them’s the breaks). It’s a cute, whimsical game, as well, and the family-friendly theme makes for a great game that everyone can play (once every player’s ready for a slightly-heavy strategy game). It, like Everdell, is probably a smidge heavier than I’d play at three+ players with any real frequency, but I’m itching to try it out at two players with Hokkaido‘s ruleset for two-player drafting. I think that it’s a slight modification, but one that I’ll enjoy a bit more (we had some problems with very lucky draws in my previous two-player games). That said, I have really enjoyed every play I’ve gotten of Bunny Kingdom, and I’m looking forward to the expansion. If you’re looking for a game that’s light enough for anybunny or you don’t mind the occasional hare-raising pun, Bunny Kingdom is a lot of fun (and a solid game to boot)!
I mean, Slap It! isn’t the like, smartest, most intellectually challenging, most strategic game in my collection, sure. You’ve got me there. But it’s fun as heck, so, it stays. At two players, it’s this weird sort of dice-based standoff where I spend half the game laughing and the other half slapping the table too hard and getting upset with myself for doing that because I got too excited and whack and now my hand hurts. At higher player counts, well, I’m not as enthused unless we have the right table size and everyone knows how to play. Once that happens, yeah, it’s gold. But that’s fine with me; I’ll just keep it in my two-player arsenal. Plus, it’s great family-friendly fare, so I can play it in a lot of contexts without much issue. If you’re looking for that kind of game or you just like dexterity games in general (like I do), Slap It! is a cute one worth checking out, for sure. I just wish it came in a box.
Overall, Cosmic Factory is a lot of fun! Intriguingly, my normal game group seems to like it a lot more than I do (which is totally fine, but usually I’m the positive one). I think they really like the combination of path-building and tile-laying, which I’m also really enthused about, and I think that the Kaos cards add a really nice layer of variability that’s similar to Landmarks in Dominion: Empires. I kind of wish a lot of games had cards like that that change the basic conditions up enough to keep things fresh from game to game. The nice thing is that future expansions can just add more of those with extra features (a la Santorini: Golden Fleece) and breathe a bunch of additional life into the game. As it stands, there are probably other real-time tile games I like a bit better (Eco-Links is still probably my favorite out of the set), but this is certainly a fun one as well that I’d definitely recommend. If you’re looking for a space-themed real-time tile-laying game (or any one of those things in particular), I’d recommend checking out Cosmic Factory!
Overall, EXIT: The Abandoned Cabin is a lot of fun! I think it’s a solid example of “here is how the EXIT games work, if you’re interested”, which makes it an ideal gift or game experience to get for someone else. I’m planning to show a coworker The Polar Station (which is part of why it’s the last one I’m reviewing) and if he likes it, I’ll probably get The Abandoned Cabin for him to try out (or The Pharaoh’s Tomb, another favorite of mine). Personally, I’m a big fan of the series, so, I feel like most of them are going to be solid entries, anyways, but this one is pretty standalone (and has two puzzles I like a lot), so I feel like it’s also a good potential series representative. Either way, I like the theme, I like the puzzles, and while I don’t love the color requirement for some puzzles, I do think they’ve taken steps to make it more clear in subsequent games, so that’s also good. I’d say if you’re looking for a place to get started with the EXIT games, The Abandoned Cabin is likely a great choice!