I’m going to tell you all about a game that is for three players – and three players only – about trying to collect ostrich eggs without taking too many, and breaking your sack. I know this sounds like possibly the most mediocre opening to talking about a game, ever.. But you’re going to be so mad by the end of this review that you haven’t played and/or do not own this game. Trust me. This one is a true hidden gem.
Eggs of Ostrich is a 10 round, 3-player only game that comes in a delightfully small box, and consists of simple cards and tokens. The art is.. it’s not terrific, but it gets the job done – and at least we can all laugh at the strange ostrich poses. I really don’t mind though, because the table presence of this game is interesting enough with the bag cards laid out and players competing for the egg (and amber) tokens as the game progresses.
Each player has 4 bag cards in front of them, empty and ready for collecting eggs – one that will hold 2, one that holds, 3, one for 5 and one for 7. In each player’s hand are cards corresponding to those bags, and one “skip” card indicating the player will not collect that round. What all are you trying to collect in those bags? Well, some value of eggs depending on what comes up from the egg deck – there’s 12 cards that range from 4 through 10 eggs, and three amber gem cards. Each game, that deck is shuffled, and only 10 cards are used, 2 having been removed at random.
This is when things really kick off! Each round, a card is flipped over from the deck and players will play a card from their hand. If you want to collect eggs, you’ve got to consider the fact that if all other players collect, the eggs will be split three ways. So if 7 eggs are up for collecting and all players go for it, everyone will get 2 eggs. In that instance, it would be perfect to play your 2 bag card if it’s empty, because you’ll fill that up and be done with it! But, dear reader, dear egg collector – don’t forget the skip card. If one of your opponents plays their skip card, you’re left sharing the bounty of eggs with only 1 other person – if both skip, you’re on your own with all those eggs.Thinking about which bag card to play just got a lot trickier.
There’s a little bit of information you can use to inform your decisions – each player’s previously selected card stays on the table for a round, when it then comes back into their hand. And you can see how each player’s going with capacity of their bags thanks to the egg tokens sitting on them – it might give you a better idea of what they need to do in order to not screw themselves over as well as you. This is the really fantastic part of the game to me – a smidge of information, and a lot of “but what do I think they’ll actually do?” mixed up in a quick decision time to play your bag card.
I mentioned earlier some non-egg cards – if the card flipped is an amber gem, the only player who plays their “skip” card will gain the gem (worth 4 points at the end of the game) – this is a tough one to do, and you can really only hope that other players have their skips on the table or they’re holding onto it because they’re going to need to skip collecting as it’s later in the game and bags are looking strained. This decision isn’t so much “what do I think they’ll actually do?” but more “let’s hope this works!!” because 4 points is a sweet reward.
Speaking of points – how do all these eggs pay off points-wise at the end of 10 rounds? For each bag that broke because you ended up stuffing it with more eggs than it could hold, you’re getting zero – should be obvious. The remaining bags score out if they’re full or not. Bags at capacity score as many points as eggs they can carry – so a bag 5 that is full is worth five points. Bags that aren’t full score half as many points as eggs, rounded down – a bag of 7 with 5 eggs would score 2 points. Add on any amber points you’re lucky enough to have collected and you’re done!
This game is one that I will always happily bring out when game night is down to 3 people, or I’m looking for something not too intensive between other games for just a few of us. It’s quick to teach and I love the banter that comes out between everyone as they’re getting to the point of the hard decisions on how to approach their next play. The paranoia of “maybe they are going to play their skip.. Or maybe they aren’t!” is a wonderful thing to see people mulling over. Simple gameplay with tough decisions and a lot of fun make this a hidden gem I’ll be sharing for many game nights to come.
Eggs of Ostrich is designed by Shimpei Sato, and published by Japon Brand. It plays for 3 people in approximately 10 – 15 minutes.