Earlier this year, designer Chris Handy launched a Kickstarter campaign for his ‘Pack o’ Game’ concept for a series of 8 very portable micro games – each in a box about the size of a pack of gum. Each box contains not only the 30 cards needed to play the game, but a nice compact rule sheet folded up to fit in each box, too. (As an aside, I love the clever 3 letter names for these!)
Chris has done an incredible job at creating a set of games that not only vary in theme and mechanisms, but also difficulty levels and number of players. Each game’s got a distinct feel to it, and it genuinely feels like there’s a game for every time you feel like sitting down to play. The only restriction really, is how many players each game can take.
In keeping with the size of the games, I will stick to a little overall impression/snippet of each game – although I could write more, because as accessible as these games are, they all have a wonderful depth to them even from the ‘lowest’ difficulty rating up to the most complex. (And the link to each game takes you to the info page on the publisher’s site, with a handy ‘how to play’ for each game!)
HUE – A sneaky little area control/majority game where you lay down cards to create blocks of colours to try and earn the most points at the end of the game with your secret goal card. The trick is not to end up with a large block of the colour that will give you negative points! I especially love how you can lay cards to partially cover other cards, increasing possibilities for clever play.
GEM – Mixing elements of auction, hand/tableau management, and set collection, this one’s a tough gem to crack! You want to try and purchase gems during the auction phase that will allow you to collect sets for end-game points, but also ensure you have enough cash to ‘invest’ in those gems to make them useful to spend in further auctions.
LIE – If you’ve played Liar’s Dice before, this game will feel fairly familiar to you. Instead of dice, you’ll get a handful of 5 cards, each with two die faces (either the same, or different). Arrange your hand by choosing one die face from each card to use for the round, and use that knowledge to help you bluff. I went with random hands each time, because I’m like that. The rest plays out like Liar’s Dice – if you fail to call or challenge what amount of dice faces of a certain value are out there, you lose a card. Last person standing wins!
FLY – Mix dexterity with set collection and what do you have? (A) A game Nicole will be very, very bad at, and (B) FLY! The picnic table is set up at the start of the game, and you must drop the swatter down to try and cover up flies. Collecting flies in threes of like colour/symbol will earn you points for the end of the game.
TKO – A little boxing game for 2 players! Pick a fighter – each has slightly different abilities as far as head shots/blocks and body shots/blocks. Secretly select your attack or block and reveal – if you manage to land a hit, or successfully block, then your ranking for those goes up. And if you make it to 5 on one of those hit or block tracks, you win the round! Best of 3 – so simple, but a fun way to think about what your opponent might be doing and try to choose around that.
BUS – So far, I think this is up there as my favourite. (It’s hard to choose, but this is a pretty charming game!). In this delightful little pick up and deliver game, you’re moving your bus around a small grid of city blocks. Each piece of road has a coloured dot, or a BUS stop. Stop at the stop to pick up passengers – each passenger card has two colours to drop off, and the speed you can travel at while doing so (going slower sucks, but means more points!). First to 5 completed passenger cards ends the game, and most points wins! So clever and a fun little game of balancing points for speed.
TAJ – To gain the most points at the end of the game, according to your secret scoring card, you need to make sure that the rug cards are arranged in a certain way to be displayed in the Taj. On your turn, switch two of the rugs. The players then vote on whether they want this to go ahead, or not. Majority wins, and you can even influence that by playing an ‘all’ or ‘nix’ vote card, making it unanimously yes or no respectively. Once all the rugs have been moved/rearranged in some way, the game ends and is scored out according to the colours of rugs. It’s quite a tug of war and I found it a little anti-climactic in the end.
SHH – This is a fantastic cooperative word game. There’s a shared pool of vowels (just one of each), and then the rest of the alphabet is dealt out to all players. Then play proceeds with each person playing one card at a time, the group working together to spell a word – and it’s tough when there’s no repeats, and you have to guess what other people might have based on your hand. There’s a few pass cards which might come in handy – once all the consonants are played out, the game is over. Oh, also.. you can’t speak at all while playing 🙂 So great!
There’s so much packed in these wee games, so I hope that I’ve given you enough of a sample that you’d like to check them out. They are heading out to distributors in the next week or two, and should be available very soon after that at your FLGS! Check out more at Chris’ publishing site, Perplext Games.