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Svarog's Den - Board Games

Draw Yokai, Bust Piñatas, Collect Old Toys, and Play My Favourite Things

by W. Eric Martin

• UK publisher Play For Keeps will release a new edition of Daiki Aoyama‘s trick-taking game Eye My Favorite Things under the name My Favourite Things.

Aoyama’s design, which first appeared in 2016 from Japanese publisher するめデイズ (Surume Days), combines card play with a party game spirit. In this game for 3-6 players, each player gives their neighbor a topic, and their neighbor writes their five favorite things and their least favorite thing for this topic on six cards, secretly ranking the cards from 1-5 and 0. You get these cards as your hand, then you play a round of trick-taking, trying to figure out what to play based on how you think your neighbor ranked what you hold.

You score a point per trick won, then you play a second round by giving the neighbor on your other side a topic. Whoever scores the most points wins, but beyond that you get to learn about your fellow players.

Play For Keeps will run a Kickstarter campaign for My Favourite Things in 2023 for release in 2024. (PFK notes that its edition will have new artwork and “deluxe components designed to improve usability”, but it’s not clear whether anything about the gameplay has changed. If not, we’ll merge these two listings.)

• Play For Keeps debuted in 2022 with Overstocked, a card game for 1-6 players from Mandela Fernandez-Grandon that seems reminiscent of Jog Kung‘s Magazynier, a.k.a., Veggies, yet turned inside out:

In Overstocked, players must stay up to date with the latest 90s toy crazes, filling their warehouse with the most in-demand toys and avoiding stocking the least popular.

Each turn, players place cards into either their personal warehouse, which increases the number of each toy they have to sell, or into the central area, which is shared by all players and represents the popularity of each toy.

Sample game

Once everyone has played all the cards in their hand, players score points for all the toys in their warehouse. The more popular the toy, the more points it scores. However, the toy with the largest area in the central area scores negatively! The craze for this toy has peaked and as with many 90s crazes, everyone is ready to move onto the next thing.

In Magazynier, which I covered in March 2022, each player builds their own grid of cards, then you choose one of the items in your grid and score points equal to the size of your largest group multiplied by the number of groups of that item — but everyone else scores that item as well, so you’re trying to build a grid that will maximize points for what you think others will score while trying to monopolize one item for yourself.

Overstocked flips that concept so that everyone builds their own multiplier for a shared area, while slipping in a poison pill that can tank your score. The game also includes three expansion modules and a solo variant.

• And since I already mentioned Veggies, I’ll follow up my recent post on Devir’s 2023 line-up with two small games not covered there.

Yokai Sketch is a two-player game from Ignasi Ferré due out in 2023 that is probably more intuitive to play than the description below makes the game sound:

Children who go into the forest may come across some yokai, that is, supernatural creatures and phenomena. Moved by boundless curiosity, the little ones draw these spirits in their notebooks to understand their nature and learn from them.

With a set-collection core mechanism, the goal of Yokai Sketch is to score more yokai points than the other player by completing sketches of the elusive forest spirits. The game consists of two decks of cards: in one are four types of yokai, each associated with an element (water, fire, earth, and wind) and a numerical value that corresponds to victory points, and in the other, sketches made by humans, two of the four elements, and possibly a special ability.

At the start of the game, the yokai cards are stacked in four decks (one for each element) and three sketch cards are dealt face down to players. On their turn, players draw a new sketch card and slide one of their four cards under one of the four decks in the center of the table so that it reveals the element associated with that yokai. If by doing this the yokai reaches or exceeds the number of sketches needed to draw it (adding the sketches on both sides of the card), the player who has accumulated the most sketches on their side of the table takes it.

Sample cards

The winner’s sketch cards will be placed in the discard pile, and the other player’s will stay where they are as they will be used for the next yokai card of that type. If there is a tie in the number of sketches on both sides of the card, the yokai is frightened and lost. In this case, neither player manages to finish the drawing and all the sketch cards on both sides of that yokai pile are discarded. Sketch cards can also include powers: calling the yokai or distracting it to move cards. The game ends when one or more yokai decks are empty.

• The other Devir title is Blind Business, a 2-5 player game from newcomer Andrew Roy that will have you making wild swings for points:

There’s festivity in the air! Ricky is also in the air, the 10-foot-tall donkey-shaped piñata that is the mascot and symbol of the town. The mayor has announced a contest to take down Ricky, and the whole town is invited to participate.

No one can break Ricky open by themselves, though, so you have to gather the best teammates from the four districts of town, each bringing their own abilities to the challenge. Snatch the right people from the hands of your competitors and gather the best team of piñata-poppers — but you never know who could be on the other teams until it’s too late. Hurry up and pop Ricky before anyone else can, and you’ll win all the candy inside, the Big Trophy, and never-ending prestige!

Blind Business is made up of a deck of 50 cards that are numbered from 1 to 11 in four colors, along with six jokers. You start with four cards in hand; after seeing them, shuffle them and place them so that all other players can see them, but not you.

On a turn, the active player requests a card from an opponent. If the opponent refuses to hand it over, they keep in their area for scoring at game’s end; if they do hand it over, they can try to claim a card from the active player’s hand — and the active player can then agree to this trade (with players swapping cards and scoring them) or refuse (with each scoring their own card). Whatever happens, players refill their hands to four cards.

Each player arranges cards in columns according to their color, with colors corresponding to the four zones in which the city is divided: the playground, the boardwalk, the central station, and downtown. At the end of the game, depending on the majorities, players earn points based on their card combinations. You can also win instantly by collecting five consecutive cards of a single color.


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