Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Do Your Chores is charming but not very good

GenCan't Roll and Write Library - Do Your Chores

As I've been looking through the games from GenCan't's Roll and Write Contest/Library, I've been mostly focusing on the finalists and the honorable mentions. However, I've also been looking at some of the other games. And Do Your Chores caught my eye by being an oddball game.

Most of the games in the library consist of play sheets that you write stuff down on. Do Your Chores is one of the exceptions, actually requiring you to cut out standy tokens. You could substitute wooden cubes but I just took two minutes to cut them out of copy paper and fold them.

The name pretty much describes the game. You're a kid who has twenty-five minutes to try and clean up the house before your parents get home. This pretty much consists of moving around the house, which is a a grid with interior walls, picking stuff up next moving it to new locations.

You use the dice to randomly locate some of the tokens. Then, on each turn, you Roll two dice. One will be how far you move on the X axis and the other on the Y axis, you choose which and you have to move all the way in a direction before you can move on the other axis. You do get to change a die roll three times during the game.

One mechanic of the game that I liked is the hand mechanic. You have two hands printed beside the board and when you pick a token up, you assign it to a hand. It's a cute but effective way to track tokens.

The game has some issues. First of all, despite the fact that you have some choices, the rolling and moving is random enough that you can be going in circles to a frustrating degree. Running into a wall becomes a major strategy.

Second, each chore is worth one point but some chores involve moving on item, like making the bed, while others like picking up toys or washing dishes require moving three. Some chores are going to accordingly prioritized.

It's not a real ding but I am playing most of these games by putting them in my solitaire binder and using dry erase markers. The fact that I can't do that with Do Your Chores means it's a solitaire game I'm not going to reach for.

Despite all those things (and they do add up to making Do Your Chores a poor game), I did find the game kind of charming. Basically, it reminded me of a first generation Cheapass Game. The hand mechanic makes me think of Give Me the Brain and the quirky theme seems like one James Ernst might have monkeyed about with. (Although it's not as quirky now as it would have been in, say, 1996) I can easily picture multi-player rules where you can steal items from other players or maybe slap them around.

That said, I don't know if I'd even give the game that much credit if it didn't remind me of some of the games that I played when I first started exploring designer board games. Do Your Chores is memorable in its own way but I don't think it will hit the table again.

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