Roux Dat #58: Savannah Park, Groundhog Day, So Clover

Hey board gamers, spring is here, and in Louisiana that can only mean three things: crawfish, festivals and board games! I’m here to talk about one of those three things…enough blather, let’s get right to the games we played this week on our Twitch Tuesday channel. We played Savannah Park, Groundhog Day: The Game, and So Clover!

It’s The Hexagons of Life

Capstone Games has been on a tear lately, producing some of our favorite original and reprinted games. I was super intrigued when I saw that they were publishing a family weight game from Wolfgang Kramer and Michael Kiesling, two designers that when making games together just seem to make games that I really enjoy. We got a copy of Savannah Park, their latest creation, and I’ve already played it three times!

It’s a bingo style game, kind of in the vein of Karuba or Ecos, where players are trying to build a beautiful wild animal park. Points are scored in a few ways, some more important than others as we found out on stream. Putting like animals together in groups around watering holes is a way to really multiply your score a la Kingdomino, and keeping the grass tiles and tree tiles uncovered also scores you points.

It’s very bewildering at first to see so many tiles with so many different animals, and yet, in the third act of the game, the patterns really emerge. The simple act of calling out a tile, flipping it and moving it to the perfect spot is so very satisfying and gives you that “feels clever” moment. If you are Jerod or Sneauxbunny, you’ll have that moment many times during the game — if you are me, not so much.

Roux Dat Says: This is a great family weight game, and one that has a chance to replace Karuba in our collection. We’ve added the lion variant, where you chase points by placing your tiles on the lion meeple, and I like the distraction and chaos it causes. Sure, Savannah Park is almost a complete multiplayer solitaire game, but games like that allow for shared gameplay while you are visiting, plus the agony of hoping someone else picks the tile you really need them to pick (or vice versa.)

Ned? Ned Ryerson? Bing!

Groundhog Day is supposed to be one of my favorite movies of all time, and yet, how did I ever miss this synch up of all of the Ned Ryerson scenes before today!?!?! Oh well, writing up the Roux Dat today gave me a chance to run down the rabbithole of video compilations from this amazing film.

Oh wait, we’re talking board games. Funkoverse produces some of the better IP based games on the market — some would say the best — and my godchild got me a copy of Groundhog Day: The Boardgame for Christmas, knowing how much I love the film. It took a while, but I finally got him to come into town and stream it live with us.

The premise is oh-so-simple. Players are trying to cooperatively steer Phil Connors, the cranky weatherman stuck in Pennsylvania for an eternity, through his “perfect day” by playing seven perfect day cards “The Mind style” in a row. That’s right — there’s no communication once players have looked at their hands, so it becomes a game of feints and winks and nods and silent communication and guessing. Frustrating yet fun should be the tagline.

We played twice in a row on stream and although we did better in the second time, we still lost even on easy mode. We did a lot of tabletalk between days, though, which made it feel more like this was a strategic coop rather than just an exercise or activity.

Roux Dat Says: I liked how the designers took a pretty simple concept, a mechanic of completely incomplete information as in The Mind or The Game, and ratched up the theme and tension. Where The Game has ZERO theme, in Groundhog Day there is at least a facade. After a day or so, the theme kind of melts away into just colors and numbers, but at least the production value keeps you grounded in the setting. I’d definitely play it again with family members as a nice Friday night food and wine game.

Oh Seaux Clover

Just One has been one of our big hits in the party game category. It was our party game of the year, and we’re still playing it. Our experience there got me juiced to play So Clover from the same publisher, and so far it has not disappointed even a bit.

Sagan taught it to us at SoBo, and I ran out and bought my own copy. With Nate and CJ in town for the stream, it seemed like a perfect game to crack open on Twitch. The game is pretty simple, players have four clover-like game boards where they secretly place four square cards each with four words on each side. Connecting the words in the square creates eight hints — players take those hints and try to make a word that connects each connected hint pair.

The twist? The cards are removed, a cylon card is added, and then the team goes around the table trying to put the words back in the correct order, with zero communication from the player who did the original configuration. The crimp of adding that random cylon card is diabolical, because sometimes the words on that random card fit better with the written clue word than the original cards!

Roux Dat Says: Another perfect party activity from Repos, this is yet another game that not only brings out lots of laughs, but every time we have played, there have been those surprise moments when players put together the clues in just the right fashion — and those groan-out-loud moments when players have the right cards right away and then talk themselves out of it!

THE WRAP UP:

So that’s it for our recent plays. Roux Dat will be back soon with more early looks at recent plays.

Is there a game out there that you or your friends are curious about? Hit us up with a tweet @boardgamegumbo and we will see if we can get our hands on the game!

Until next time, laissez les bon temps rouler!

— BJ @boardgamegumbo

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