Header AD

Carrot & Stick Kickstarter Preview

Quick Look: Carrot & Stick

Designers: Matthew King & Petya Kapralova
Artists: Matthew King & Petya Kapralova
Publisher: Mindpipe
Year Published: 2018
No. of Players: 3-6
Ages: 14+
Playing Time: 30-90 min.

From the publisher:

You can be nice to play this game... but you certainly don't have to!

Draw the Cards, Tell the Story, Solve the Problem.  Use your hand of 10 weird and wonderful word and picture cards to solve the peep's problem!

This is an easy to learn, versatile and creative card game of bribery, threats and weirdness. Lead your island to dominate other island with adorable assistance or devastatingly creative cruelty. Will they get the Carrot, or the Stick?

Find more info on BoardGameGeek.com

WARNING: This is a preview of Carrot & Stick. All components and rules are prototype and subject to change.  Carrot & Stick is launching on Kickstarter on October 9, 2018.

Review: Carrot & Stick

Overview and Theme:
Carrot & Stick is a storytelling game with a very creative history. Starting with a political satire game following Brexit in 2016, the folks behind the Carrot & Stick world opened up to incorporate global political satire but then found themselves adding more elements from all facets of life, making a diverse, quirky, wide-ranging set of cards to encompass more stories and more ideas. In fact, they created even more Peeps and Locations than they can squeeze into the final version, and let fans vote for their favorites and even suggest new Peeps.

When Carrot & Stick comes to Kickstarter in October 2018, it will even have two possible variants you can choose from--the Nice deck or the Naughty one! Some planned Kickstarter rewards will include exclusive designs, custom artwork, and ways to influence the final product.

Woven throughout the process and the rules are creativity, freedom, and flexibility. Play until all the Peep cards are gone...or until you've eaten all the pizza. House rules rule--play the game as you like it most!

Components and Setup:
Carrot & Stick is a card game, with decks of Peeps (characters), Locations, Picture, and Word Cards.  There's also a Halo card to award to the nicest answer and a Pitchfork card for the cruelest one!

Setup is quick and easy, if your players can keep themselves from flipping through the decks just to see all the adorable artwork! Shuffle each deck separately, then deal each player a Peep and a Location to put on the table in front of them to start their World. Players are encouraged to introduce their character and their World, too. The more moments you can spend diving into the wacky world you are spinning with your stories, the richer the experience will be.

Each player will also get a hand of 10 Picture and Word Cards, and you're ready to begin!

Our deck was a prototype printing from the Game Crafter, so it contains only about 60% of the cards that are expected to be in the final version--and again, some of the actual cards may change as Matthew and Petya take feedback from fans.

Game Play and Mechanics:
Storytelling and engagement are the key here. Carrot & Stick requires players to be open to being goofy, occasionally naughty, out-of-the-box, and inspired by the unusual artwork.

Carrot & Stick is a judge-and-players game--each round, there will be a new judge who flips over one Peep, one Location, and one Picture/Word Card, and sets the scene. Who is coming to choose a new home, and what problems are they facing?

Now each of the other players chooses up to three Picture/Word Cards from their hand to tell a story about what they will offer that character to come to their own World.  But you don't have to be nice...you can use your cards to threaten that character into joining you, instead!

The judge listens to (and at our table, reacts in character to) all the possibilities, and then chooses the one that swayed them the most. The person telling the most compelling story takes that Peep and Location into their World, and another round begins with a new judge.

In addition, the judge can hand out the Halo card to the person who told the nicest story (and increase their hand size by 1) and/or the Pitchfork to the person with the meanest story (and reduce their hand size by 1).  Most of the times that we played, it was just our family of four, and so we didn't use the Halo and Pitchfork much, just for extreme cases of Naughty or Nice!

That's it--the basics of the game are very simple. The real fun comes from engaging in your stories, building upon your Worlds and using them to entice (or threaten) new Peeps to settle there. Some haggling, a little arguing, creative thinking, and out-of-the-box uses of objects or ideas will help make your Carrot & Stick experience especially rich.

The Good:
The artwork of Carrot & Stick is playfully odd and inspires great stories and imagination. My daughter and I were especially delighted that Matthew and Petya turned US into cards too--it seems like this may be a Kickstarter perk that you could look forward to!

Carrot & Stick is a great vehicle for storytelling and can be as competitive and cruel or as simple and sweet as your group wants it to be.  As I said before, we enjoyed playing it as a family, but my 16-year-old son also said he would love to take it to game night with his friends too, and I imagine the stories they tell might be a little different!

The Bad:
We all had suggestions for Peeps that we'd like to see added, or Peeps that we really weren't enthusiastic about--but fortunately that's the kind of feedback that the creators are very open to! My son said he'd love to see more characters with a profession attached (like Dr. Kali), while my daughter hopes for more characters from mythologies of all cultures (maybe Thoth from Egypt).

The only other complaint I heard was that everyone wanted more! Even knowing that the final game will have almost double this number of cards, everyone agreed that if the game was even bigger with a couple hundred Picture and Word Cards, that we could keep playing for hours.

Players Who Like:
If you like storytelling and judging games like Dixit, Snake Oil, and Apples to Apples, you'll enjoy Carrot & Stick!

Final Thoughts:
Carrot & Stick is a zany, colorful, imaginative storytelling card game which inspires ever-more complicated and intertwined stories and brings a feeling of community to the table. It was a hit with our family and we hope to see more, more, more from Carrot & Stick on Kickstarter and in the future!

Check out Carrot & Stick on:


On KICKSTARTER now! Campaign ends November 13, 2018!

About the Author:

My name is Alexa: I'm a life-long game player and homeschooling mom to two awesome kids. I've loved board games since my early days playing Scrabble and Gin Rummy with my grandmother, and life only got more interesting when I married a Battletech enthusiast and fellow game lover. We've played games with our kids since they were small, and I helped start a thriving homeschool co-op where we have weekly sessions of board games with kids.  In a family with kids raised on Catan and Pandemic, life is sure to be fun! You may run into me on Twitter, BoardGameGeek, and other social media as MamaGames. Be sure to say hi!
Carrot & Stick Kickstarter Preview Carrot & Stick Kickstarter Preview Reviewed by MamaGames - Alexa C. on October 09, 2018 Rating: 5

No comments