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Put the Right Flora and Fauna Together in Forest Shuffle, and Ditch Your Anarchy Pancakes

by W. Eric Martin

• At Gen Con 2023, German publisher Lookout Games will demo Forest Shuffle, a card game from designer Kosch — who debuted in 2022 with FYFE — for 2-5 players that will debut in October. Here’s an overview of how to play:

In Forest Shuffle, players compete to gather the most valuable trees, then attract species to these trees, thus creating an ecologically balanced habitat for flora and fauna.

To start, each player has six cards in hand, with cards depicting either a particular type of tree or two forest dwellers (animal, plant, mushroom, etc.), with these latter cards being divided in half, whether vertically or horizontally, with one dweller in each card half.

On a turn, either draw two cards — whether face down from the deck or face up from the clearing — and add them to your hand, or play a card from your hand by paying the cost, then putting it into play.

Each tree and dweller shows a cost, and to pay this cost, you must discard cards from your hand into the clearing face up. If you play a tree, flip the top card of the deck into the clearing, then place the tree in front of you. If you play a dweller, pay only the cost on the dweller you choose, then slide this card under a tree that has an empty side that matches the dweller you want to play. (A tree can have cards played on all four sides of it: top, bottom, left, and right.)

Sample cards

Alternatively, you can play a card face down as a tree sapling. This card costs nothing and can have dwellers played on it, but it has no species, whereas each tree is one of eight species.

After you play a card, you can use the effect on this card (drawing cards, placing additional cards, taking another turn, etc.) or gain the bonus you gained if you paid for this card with cards of the same color — or both, if applicable, with the effect taking place before the bonus.

If at the end of your turn the clearing contains more than nine cards, place all of these cards in the box out of play.

Gameplay example

During set-up, three winter cards were placed into the bottom third of the deck. When the third winter card is drawn, the game ends immediately, then players tally their points based on the trees and dwellers in their forest. Whoever scores the most points wins.

Sabine Laure-Müller, who handles marketing for Lookout, notes that Forest Shuffle will be the company’s first simultaneous global release, with the first printing being released in twelve countries in eight languages.

Forest Shuffle is the debut title in Lookout Games’ “Greenline” label, which designates a game that contains no plastic. The game will also be produced on FSC-certified paper, and the box enclosure will be sealed with small sticky paper labels rather than plastic shrink wrap..

Anarchy Pancakes sounds like an obscure late 1970s punk band, but in fact it’s a quick-playing card game from Steve Peters and Exploding Kittens, in collaboration with Spot it! publisher Zygomatic, that has been released at the Target retail chain in the U.S. and on the publisher’s website.

Here’s a rundown of this five-minute game for 2-6 players:

In Anarchy Pancakes, each player starts with seven pancake cards that feature various misfit toppings, such as an earthworm, a flaming donut, and a skull wearing a party hat.

On the count of three, players attempt to match their pancake cards’ toppings to other players’ toppings, forcing them to take the cards and form a “pancake stack”. The first player to get rid of all of their cards and shout “Anarchy pancakes!” wins that round and collects a “slab ‘o butter”. The first player to receive two slabs ‘o butter wins.

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