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.
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.
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.
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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