First Impressions: Pack O Games Set 2

Good evening fellow board gamers! This week, I am doing something fairly new to me. I will be completing four simultaneous reviews of four small games from the Pack O Games line from Perplext. It is actually called SET 2 from the line that I will be looking at. The games themselves are called ORC, GYM, SOW, and RUM. These games will be on kickstarter starting on March 3. You can find the link here.

NOTE: The layout for each section will stay the same this week, however, I will add a small bullet point to distinguish which game I am referencing in each section. As a fair warning, these will be slightly more brief than my usual first impressions, as I now have 4 of them to get through! So with that, let’s get on with the show!

How It’s Played

GYM – GYM is a team picking game that plays just like your public school and high school gym classes growing up. You are each captains (or teams of captains) who are picking your peers for various sports. There are also bullies who will influence which sports will be played by the class. Once you complete putting your team together, you will then place them into various sports, trying to have the most skilled players of each sport, and take the win.

ORC – This is a battle game, that takes place in 6 separate territories. Each territory is a different colour and you are placing your ORC’s to try and build an army on each territory to beat your your opponent. You may build your Orc armies until the stock pile beside a given territory is exhausted. When this happens, whoever has the most Orcs on the territory wins that territory. The game continues until all territories have been battled for and won. There are also tie breaker rules for a situation where there are the same number of Orcs on each side of the battle.

RUM – RUM is a very luck driven set collection game. There are seven coloured rum bottles that need to be collected from the beach, as well as a shipwreck. The beach gives you an opportunity to pick the bottles you would like, and the shipwreck has more cards, although it also has a stealing parrot, and you choose your card face down. You are trying to collect the most coloured bottles to gain captain cards. You must trade in your rum bottles for a captain card. You must trade in one extra bottle from which top number appears. For example, if the captain card is at 4, you must trade in 5 rum bottles to gain the card. At this time, you would then put the captain card in front of you set to 5. From then, your opponents will have to trade in at least 6 to steal it from you again. You play this until the parrot has be drawn 8 times, or until one player gets to 21 points.

SOW – SOW is a game that has players competing to make a bouquet of flowers. There are rows of seeds that you will choose to move and redistribute around the garden. Your goal is to fill your wheel barrow with a specific flowers. All cards start on their seeds side, and when you redistribute a row, the last card played, will flip over into a beautiful flower for you to add to your bouquet. To end the game, each row must have either zero or one card in it. Points are given for each flower in your wheel barrow at the end of the game. You get 3 points for a matching inside colour, 2 for matching outside colour, and one for flowers that don’t match the colour of your flower at all.

The Pretty Little Bow

This section I will put into a general category, and then talk about each game separately. My first look at the game, I was concerned about the small size of the cards. Having them this size to make them easy to grab to take out while you are waiting for a meal, or quick drink is great, however, I was worried about the cards being too small to use. This didn’t really end up being the issue that I thought it would, however, I still found that when I had cards in my hand, they were too small. This was most noticeable in RUM, when you are collecting more and more cards to trade in for captain cards. I think this is mainly a personal preference for a more poker card size, however, I understand why they are sized the way they are for easy travel. Now, lets move onto the specific art of each game.

GYM – The art in this game is very nicely done. Each student and bully in the game is unique, and each with their own name. Another positive I noticed is the amount of diversity in each of the students. They could have easily been all stereotypical, but they weren’t at all in my opinion.

ORC – The art in ORC didn’t really stand out for me. It was okay, and it was distinctly coloured for each territory, but nothing really stood out for me with this. It’s not to say that the artwork isn’t well done, or takes away from the game at all, I just find that there was nothing outstanding or overly noteworthy about it on this one.

RUM – The biggest part of the art for me on this one was the backs of the rum cards. They are boards that you would see falling off of a ship that has turned into a shipwreck. I think that is extremely creative, and suits the spirit of the game perfectly. I like the overall look on this, however, I think I would made each rum bottle colour a unique shape. For example, all the red bottles are tall, skinny bottles, and green are short, fat, round bottles. Otherwise, the art is very well done on this one.

SOW- The art in SOW was a bit of a miss for me. I found it to be a bit too simple for my taste. To me, I felt that when I was playing, I was picking up squares, and on the last card, I was flipping over the square to a couple of circles. I don’t think it took away from the strategy of the game, however, I felt like I was just trying to flip a card to the circle side and collect them in my rectangle, rather than planting seeds and making them a beautiful bouquet.

What’ Not To Love? 

GYM –  The only thing I didn’t like is the use of bullies. I’m not usually the type of person to have issues about being politically correct (is this even political correctness?) with this sort of thing, but I just wish there was a way to have the cards that influenced the games being played not be bullies. Maybe make them injured kids? Everyone had a friend in school who was sporting a cast at some point didn’t they? I know the bully seems to work best for the, but I really wish there was a way to even just get away from calling them bully cards.

ORC – My biggest downfall with ORC was that there was a slight lack of strategy. You had to draw a weapon, and then look at the Orc’s you received on that turn. There wasn’t really an option to know what you were getting, to make strategy. You just had to deal with what you drew. The game was still good fun, don’t get me wrong, I just wish that there was a way to have the option of knowing what you are picking, such as the beach cards in RUM. I think that would make for a slightly deeper strategy game, although I also understand that games are put through the ringer to get them just right, so this was likely tried, and didn’t work out as well in practice.

RUM – So far, the only issue I have come across with RUM is the hangover. Sorry, I had to throw in that one. The only actual issue I have with this game is the penalties for drawing the parrot card. It seems like tossing two or three cards could have easily been one or two cards and not been as devastating and kept the game a bit closer. But as I said just above here, things sometimes don’t work out well in practice.

SOW – I was underwhelmed with SOW a bit. It just didn’t seem to me like anything was really going on too much through the whole game, except moving cards around. I have kept playing it, and will keep playing it since others in my game group have enjoyed it, and along the way, hope to see what they see in it.

What’d You Think? 

Regarding these games as a whole, I think they are a great way to bring a  quick game out with you wherever you may end up. If you and a friend are stuck waiting for your dinner due to a dinner rush, you have something to kill the time and have some fun. As I said earlier, the card size was worrisome, but for the most part, it turned out to be irrelevant worry. I think I’d actually be more worried if they were full size cards now! For a handful of cards that fit into your pocket, you’re really getting some fun games.

GYM – This was by far my favourite game of SET 2. I find myself tossing this in my pocket much more often than I need to, but I feel good knowing I can pull it out and have a quick game with someone at almost any point in time. The game play in this is excellent in my opinion. It really gets you feeling like you’re back in gym class, looking at your peers up against the wall, and all waiting for you to call their names. For me, I don’t have many chances to be in a situation where teams are being picked like that, so this game fills that bit of nostalgia.

ORC – Putting aside that the art didn’t scream out at me, and there was a small lack of giving yourself options to select your armies colours, I had quite a bit of fun with this game. It plays very quick, which almost takes out the need for needing more options. This is a game that has made it to my table to kill time between the end of a game and the start of dinner. (Yes this is commonplace in my house) Definitely one that I enjoy having around and will likely bring with me to most game nights I attend to fill a few minutes of set up time.

RUM – I really liked RUM. I love the worry that goes through your mind in hoping you don’t draw the parrot, and doubt as to whether you should even draw from the shipwreck. Another really good thing, is the beach cards. Having a spot where you can pick a card and know what you are getting is a great thing. It adds a level of complexity, as well as gives you the option to play it safe and avoid the parrot altogether.

SOW – You may have guessed by now that SOW was not my favourite game in this set so far. I find it to not suit my tastes the way the other games have, and that is partly due to what I find to be simple game play, as well as simple art. I will say however, I enjoy the fact that you can potentially give your opponents points through the game. There is enough to the game that I have plans to keep playing this game, and build on that enjoyment and hopefully have a change of heart. To be able to come up with a strategy to make sure you’re never giving away points would definitely add interest for me, but so far, I haven’t had that be the case all the way through the game. If you enjoy a decent strategy game that is also fairly short, I think that this could get some table time with you.

 

I hope everyone has enjoyed my (many) words tonight and you consider checking out the kickstarter! Have a wonderful week everyone and remember, I love you all!

 

 

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