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FORK – An Engaging Game for All Ages

FORK or (Fox. Owl. Rabbit. Kale.) is a clever and engaging trick taking game from Sunrise Tornado Games Studio and designer Ta-Te Wu that the whole family can enjoy. FORK is launching on Kickstarter January 30, 2023.

Game Play

Each card in the 54 card is a Fox, Owl, Rabbit, or Kale card and has one of four terrain types; Arctic, Desert, Mountain, or Swamp that acts as the card’s suit. Foxes are wild and count as any terrain type.

Each turn a player will lead a trick by announcing terrain type and in a twist on traditional trick taking games they play their playing a card face down unless they are playing a Kale card, which is always played face up. Then all other players then also play a card face down or a Kale card face up. The cards played must match the announced terrain type, if possible.

To resolve the trick, all players cards are revealed and we follow the food chain with Foxes at the top. If only one Fox card is in play it allows a player to score either an Owl or Rabbit card worth 1-3 points as long as it matches the terrain type of the trick. The chosen Owl or Rabbit card is claimed by the player scoring it. After the Fox has fed, starting with the highest value Owl card, players can score a Rabbit card of the matching terrain type.  Then Rabbits can score Kale cards in the lead terrain and if any Kale cards remain after that the owner of the Kale cards claims it themselves for points. New tricks are played until a player has 5 score cards or everyone is out of cards.

Overall Thoughts

FORK is a deceptively simple little game. It’s easy to learn but still offers some interesting strategic choices, my 7 year old son and 11 year old daughter were able to start playing after just a few minutes of explanation, but I still found myself thinking carefully about what cards to play each turn. Do I play my highest value Owl now so that I get first shot at any rabbits that get played? Maybe I should play a Kale to hope that I can score it or at least see if my opponents play a fox or higher value owl or rabbit cards first. Having almost all the cards played face down each trick adds some fun tension to the game. You are never sure that you are going to score a meal on any given trick.

Components and Design

FORK has delightful artwork that strikes the right balance between cuteness and realism that I think can appeal to both kids and adults. I particularly like the illustrations for the Striped Owl and Snowy Owl cards. Lili Chin did a wonderful job illustrating this game.

Final Thoughts

I think FORK can fill a perfect little niche as a family oriented trick taking game. It has much more to think about than a game of go-fish and has a great playful theme as opposed to something like Euchre. I see FORK as the perfect kind of game to bring along one of my family camping trips. Ultimately FORK is a great twist on trick taking games to play with family, gamers and non-gamers alike. 

This review is based on a review copy of FORK WiscoDice received from Sunrise Tornado.

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Ark Nova – The Zoo Game Stunner

Ark Nova Game Box
Ark Nova

Ark Nova, a game about building a zoo, was a game I had heard quite a bit about. I had walked into my local friendly game stores, saw it sitting on the new games shelf, and then passed it by. How could a game with a giant picture of animals in a bubble be a game I would love?

Then I got a message from Misty Mountain Games about the last copy sitting on the shelf. He wasn’t certain when there would be copies coming back in. I broke down and said sure, I will grab it. I stopped by, bought the last copy, and now here I am.

  • Players: 1-4
  • Playtime (with Setup): First time – 3 hours, Repeated Play 2 hours. About 45 minutes per experienced player
  • Publisher: Feuerland Spiele and Capstone Games (US)
  • Designer: Mathias Wigge

After the Empire: Epic Kingdoms Await You

After the Empire is a unique Tower Defense/Worker Placement game from Grey Fox Games. Players will build up their castle defenses and hire soldiers and mercenaries to defend against the ever-growing threat of invaders. Will you be able to build the wealthiest kingdom by the end of seven rounds? Lets find out in this review of After the Empire!

  • Players: 2-4
  • Playtime: 90 minutes
  • Publisher: Grey Fox Games
  • Designers: Evan Halbert, Ryan Mauk

Hallertau – Uwe’s Latest Heavy Gaming Masterpiece

Hallertau

Uwe Rosenberg, one of the most well known designers of board games, has been at it again with his new game Hallertau. Published by Lookout Games we bought this game at the same time as we picked up another game from Uwe you may have heard of, A Feast for Odin.

What we were surprised was that the box was almost as heavy as the mighty 7 pound box that is A Feast for Odin. At nearly 6 pounds of game contents, Hallertau is no light weight game. Weight of the game boxes isn’t the only thing that makes these heavy games. There is a complexity of the rules and game interactions that are common to Uwe Rosenberg designed games.

However, is this really a masterpiece game? Let’s dig into the game and find out!

  • Players: 1-4
  • Playtime (with Setup): we find it around 90-180 minutes
  • Publisher: Lookout Games
  • Designer: Uwe Rosenberg

Explore the Final Frontier in Ganymede the Board Game

Ganymede

I dreamed of exploring space as a child. I loved staring at the stars at night. Growing up in rural Wisconsin allowed for me to have a good view of the night sky. Dreaming of that exploration can be made a little more real in Ganymede the board game.

In Ganymede you will play as a corporation that is seeking to colonize our solar system. Collect colonists of different types on Earth, use Mars as a stop off point, and then fly off to parts of our solar system!

  • Players: 2-4
  • Playtime (with Setup): We find it between 60-90 minutes
  • Publisher: Sorry We Are French
  • Designer: Hope S. Hwang

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