Thursday, September 7, 2017

Ultra light game about bored cats

GenCan't Roll and Write Library

Backyard Buddies wasn't actually high on my list of games to try out from this library. However, as someone who has three cats, it kind of jumped the list for me.

In Backyard Buddies, you play a cat who is busy tracking animals in your back yard. But sometimes, you get excited and fixate on leaves instead of actual animals. 

Each animal is represented by a different pip but you will cover one type of animal up with leaves every game. Since the pip serves as a score multiplier, covering up the six will cost you more potential points than the one.

Each turn, you roll five white dice and one black die. You lock as many as you feel like and get one reroll with the rest. You choose one group (you know, one set of pips) to score, marking down each die as one of those animals.. If the black die matches the group, you score it. If the black die matches the leaves, you score leaves, which are negative points.

After ten rounds, you figure out your score. Multiply the number of each animal by the die number that represents them. Those are your happy, positive thoughts points. You do the same with leaves but they are negative points.

There are special multiplayer rules as well. You add a red die to the components and each player can use it to pounce twice a game and to play twice again. Basically, pouncing can negate another player's set if you match the number on the roll die and play can let you get in on another player's set.

Okay. Time to be brutally honest. Backyard Buddies is a mediocre game. The decisions just aren't  interesting.

I will give it credit that the mechanics do work and there is some actual interaction in the multiplayer game. However, it's a longshot to pull off either a play or pounce. And the threat of leaves is one that you can usually keep under control.

A simple dice game can be engaging but only if there is some real tension. Backyard Buddies is amusing, mostly thanks to its theme, but there isn't any real tension in it.

For the moment though, it is going to stay in my binder. Mostly because I do like the theme there are also times when a quick game that takes only a couple minutes can be decompressing.

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