Gigamic, 2010

Papayoo is a variation of your standard trick taking game. The deck is built slightly differently with the 4 normal suits (hearts, diamonds, clubs and spades) in the numbers 1-10, and a fifth suit, the Payoo suit with 20 numbered cards. The goal is to take the least amount of points during a round. More on that in a moment. Although the game uses “normal” suits, the artwork is bright and colorful which makes the game a little more fun. Note that it also, besides having the suit shapes, has different textures (circles, lines, etc) making it friendly to color blind folks as well.)

All the cards are dealt to the players. Then each player gives the player on their left a number of cards (3-5 based on number of players) from their hand. After this “draft”, a special 8 sided die (with each of the 4 “normal” suits on the die twice) is rolled. The 7 of that suit becomes the Papayoo for that hand. The dealer then leads a card and all players must follow suit if possible. The highest card in the suit led takes the trick.

Each of the Payoo suit (numbered 1-20) is scores points equal to the number value on the card at the end of the round. The Papayoo 7 (the normal suited 7 of the suit rolled on the 8 sided die) is worth 4o points. Remember, the goal is to NOT score points.

The game can be played to a pre-determined number of rounds or points.

This is a fairly standard trick taking game, without trump, but with the special dice and drafting which make it more interesting than a game of Hearts or Spades. It retails around $12-$15 and comes in a handy small tin. It is great for carrying around in a purse or vehicle to have on hand for a few rounds when you have time. It is easy to learn and play and quite a lot of fun. If you are looking for a different game for someone who likes standard trick taking games, pick this one up. It would make a good stocking stuffer or gift exchange gift. Recommended.

Bézier Games, 2016

A nanopocalypse has happened. Humans have been driven underground and now that the nanobots have left, the survivors must use the resources available to them to rebuild society. This 1-4 player card game has elements of dice drafting and dice pool building, Dominion style card purchasing, Machi-Koro style tableau building.

Each player starts with a warehouse, in which to store resources, a supply exchange to change resources, a construction action card and an upgrade action card. Every card in the game has two sides, a base side, and an upgraded 2.0 side which does basically the same action, only slightly better. For example, the warehouse will hold six resources on it’s 1.0 side, and holds nine on it’s 2.0 side. Each of the cards also has a resource cost, it’s power, and small orange half circles on the bottom which are their victory point total. (Usually between 1-2 on their 1.o side, 2-4 points on their 2.0 side). The object of the game is to acquire a number of victory points in front of you based on the number of players. 15 points for four players, 16 points for three players, and 20 points for two players.

Each game will have piles of resources and actions which the players may purchase during the game. The game comes with 34 different sets of cards. Five basic resources, one basic victory point card and 28  variable cards, of which only seven will be used in each game. This gives the game tons of re-playability and variety. You can choose the way you want to play the game. If you like a more aggressive game, you can add more aggressive cards, if you don’t, choose more non-confrontational cards. In this way, the setup is very like Dominion.

During your turn, you will take three stable resource dice (white), and will roll them, choosing one, and drafting the rest to the other players at the table. You will also gain dice, both stable, and unstable (grey dice, unable to be stored between turns). Their die face indicates which type of resource they are. Scrap Metal (1), Genetically Modified Organism (2), Protein (3), Polymer Fabric (4), Fiber (5) or Uranium (6) will be used to purchase the available cards, gaining you resources, actions or victory points. Sometimes you don’t get the right combinations of resources to allow you to purchase a card. In that case, you pick up a CHIPI (Cybernetic Holder of Instant Production Improvement)… yeah, CHIPI. You may turn in up to three CHIPIS during future turns in return for an equal amount of unstable resources to use on that turn.

Basically that is the entire game. It is easy to learn, yet has a lot of strategy. I have found that there are many ways to success, and not being able to purchase the cards you are looking for for your initial strategy does not put you out of the game. And should you find yourself falling behind, there is a nice catch up mechanic built in to get you more dice during a turn, allowing you to build more, giving you more victory points.

I had the great fortune of being able to work with Bezier at Gen Con this year demo-ing this game. I was concerned at first, since it was new and unknown, but I loved it right away, and have felt the same enthusiasm from almost everyone to whom I have shown it. I pre-ordered it as soon as I could, and am so thrilled with the game even though I have only played the suggested starter cards. Can’t wait to build up a group that wants to play different variations! Highly recomended.

CrappyBirthdayCrappy Birthday
NorthStarGames, 2011
Do you like giving gifts? Like giving funny gifts? Like Apples to Apples? Then Crappy Birthday may be for you. The game consists of about 150 or so cards. Each card has a strange, weird or downright horrible gift on it.

Like Apples to Apples, each player in turn is the “judge”, or in the case of Crappy Birthday, “The Birthday Person”. Every player tries to find a gift that from their hand that they think will be the WORST gift for the Birthday Person. The cards are placed face down in front of the Birthday Person. When all cards have been played, the Birthday person unwraps their gifts (looks at the cards), and determines which, in their opinion is the worst gift. The person who gave the gift is the winner of that round. The number of wins it takes to win the game is determined by the number of players.

Crappy Birthday is a simple game, but fun in the imaginative and strange gift ideas included. I especially love that the cards have real pictures on them. That means that these things actually exist somewhere. In some cases this is cool (The Darth Vader Air Balloon, or the Monster Smart Car) others it’s frightening. Warning to families, the game does have some “adult” cards, but you can remove the ones offensive to your family and continue with normal play.

If you are looking for a light party game in the tradition of Apples to Apples, you will probably like Crappy Birthday. If you play with the same folks all the time, it could get stale as the card pool is limited. Lightweight, easy, slightly weird game, pick up Crappy Birthday. Heck, give it to a friend as a Birthday gift.

PrintHogger Logger
Hogger Logger LLC, 2015

Hogger Logger is a simple higher (Hogger), lower (Logger) guessing card game about lumberjack pigs.  Each player has a hand of 3 cards from the “number” deck. 4 cards from the number deck are placed face down on the table, and 1 number card is placed below them. This is the “current” card. The first player must choose a card from the 4 face down cards and guess if it will be Hogger (higher) or Logger (lower) than the current card. Every player gets a chance to play as many cards as they wish onto the “current” card pile to make it easier or harder for the guesser. After cards have been played, the chosen card is revealed. If the guesser is correct, they get to go again. If not, play passes to the next player on the left. If the guesser is the person to correctly guess the 4th face down card, they win the round and get a victory point. Play continues until someone has reached the required number of victory cards, determined by the number of players (4-6 players = 2 victory points).

There is also a deck of action cards. Some of the numbered cards will have special actions when played. 8’s allow you to draw an action card. Action cards are played whenever appropriate and give powers like making the current player guess only Hogger until the next face down card is revealed. You may also gain an action card if you play a card onto the “current” card that matches the current card. Played action cards must be completed before any other cards can be played.

I picked up this game because our convention, AnimeIowa, has a cute little pig mascot, buu-chan. The artwork on these games reminded me of buu-chan, and I thought that this would be a cute little game to add to our library. It plays fast, doesn’t require a lot of thought, and is easy to learn. For serious strategy gamers, this game will have nothing for you. But if you are looking for a light time-killer. This is fast, fun and has nice art and good quality cards. It is one of those great games to throw in the backpack or suitcase when travelling.