Friday, September 30, 2022

Maybe Ugly Gryphon Inn tries too hard

Learning Fishing Lessons has made me decide to revisit the other other games in Scott Almes’ Simply Solo series.

Food Chain Island is a game I can play over and over, one I’d recommend to anyone. Unsurmountable has more clever choices than is remembered and I like it even more than before.

Ugly Gryphon Inn… Well… 

I may have a worse impression of it than my original one. I do think it is a good game but not as good as Food Chain Island or Unsurmountable (or Fishing Lessons)

The two factors that mess with the  Ugly Gryphon Inn experience are randomness and fidliness. 

In Ugly Gryphon Inn, you are juggling five symbols and their interactions with all of the cards. That’s actually the core mechanic of the game. However, the third action of each round is randomly adding a new card to the inn, which adds two to three more symbols. Which can distrust all your plans lol

Honestly, if this was the worst problem with Ugly Gryphon Inn, it wouldn’t be a big deal at all. After you get to know the cards, you can make calculated risks. At that point, it’s really just push-your-luck and can be viewed as a feature. (Still, in the other three games, you can plan at least couple moves ahead which I do like)

My real actual issue is the constant bookkeeping. After every time you add a card to the inn and every time you add a card to the bar, you check every card for interactions. These interactions are the core of the game but doing it twice every turn feels like a grind.  And, at least at my level of deck mastery, it’s easy to make mistakes, particularly when you’re doing it over and over.

Now, I do think Ugly Gryphon Inn is a clever game with really good theming. And I think repeat play will help ease some of my issues. Ugly Gryphon Inn reminds me a bit of TAJ from the Pack O Game series. Not bad but fiddly for its length and depth. And at some point, quite possibly before the end of the year, I do want to make copies of all current expansions.

Still, Ugly Gryphon Inn is proving to be a once in a while game, while Food Chain Island and Unsurmountable (and possibly Fishing Lessons) are anytime games.

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