Header AD

Tasty Humans Kickstarter Preview



Quick Look: Tasty Humans

Designer: Ryan Langewisch
Artists: Petr Semenikhin
Publisher: Pangea Games
Year Published: 2019
No. of Players: 1-4
Ages: 10+ 
Playing Time: 30-60 minutes

Find more info on BoardGameGeek.com

WARNING: This is a preview of Tasty Humans. All components and rules are prototype and subject to change.


The local peasantry has had enough of monsters eating them. It’s time to fight back! Armed with pitchforks, they go on the attack, aided by captains, archers, wizards, and even clerics. As they march closer to the monsters’ domain, they hear the brutes' vile sounds: dragons roaring, griffins squawking, and trolls belching.

Unperturbed, this rag-tag band of humans continue, entering the realm of the monsters. The heroes round a corner, and there, standing a hundred meters away, are the monsters. With primal war cries, the peasants and their better-equipped comrades charge the beasts. It’s over in moments, the monsters sprawled out on the ground, stomachs bulging with with the contents of their mid-morning snack.

The humans, despite their best efforts (feeble as they were), are destined to be forever gobbled up by dragons, trolls, griffins, and other monsters that roam the land.

Review:
Tasty Humans is a 2-4 player game in which players are monsters, trying to eat the most delicious humans that come their way. It’s got an interesting Tetris feel to it, in that you’re “dropping” human parts (heads, hands, torsos, feet) from the top of your player board (i.e. the monster’s stomach), trying to line up the pieces in certain ways so as to score points. I’ve always been a fan of Tetris so I like this concept, but what makes the Tetris aspect even better is that the pieces/shapes break apart to fill in all the spaces evenly. This makes your strategy a bit more precarious, as one part of the piece will rest on one column, but the other parts will continue down until they reach the next tile in their column. Because you score points according to tile placement in your monster’s stomach (i..e the grid area), planning ahead is vital—and a bit tricky.

There is also a solo variant as well, and as long-time readers may have deduced, I love a good solo variant. I am pleased to announce that the solo variant in Tasty Humans is pretty dang good. It’s all about reaching  pre-determined score (or seeing how high you can get), but the strategy is a wee bit different, in that you can *kind of* control what your opponent AI gets. It’s a great way to learn the game, and an even better way to spend a night without any plans.

I’ll discuss my thoughts on the various aspects of the game—from setup to art and components—so please, follow along as I go into greater detail about Tasty Humans!

Setup:

2-player setup.

Setup is as easy as eating a human a fraction of your size (that’s supposed to mean it’s easy, btw). Simply choose a player board (with unique scoring conditions), lay out the adventure cards in a 3x3 grid (as per the rule book), create 3-4 stacks (depending on player count) of leader tiles on the leader board, and you’re ready to go.

I’m fine with games having complicated setup—if it works for the game. I prefer it even more, of course, when setup doesn’t take too long, and I can jump into the game quickly after bringing it out. Tasty Humans has a simple setup process which only required my use of the rule book for assistance on my first play. Bit thumbs up to that!

Gameplay:


The gameplay itself is also pretty straightforward, although you will have turns where you need to take your time to think things through. I like that about Tasty Humans—easy rules, yet thoughtful decisions. 

Essentially, players (on their turn) choose an adventure card and drop the tiles into their monster’s stomach as per the shape shown on the card selected. This shape can be rotated (as is the case in Tetris), and each tile in the shape (being separate from one another) drops down to land on top of the next tile in the columns in which they were dropped. Some cards deal damage to your monster, which is dropped in as a tile. Other cards can heal damage, swap positions of tiles, to otherwise do nothing other than help fill up your tummy. Once one player has filled ever space in their monster’s stomach (according to player count), the end game is triggered, and the game ends after that round is finished. Score points from leader tiles and unique monster scoring conditions, and the player with the highest score wins. 

It’s these various card abilities that add another stage of strategy to the game, as collecting the card that would best fill your stomach could give you one (or more!) wounds. Or, to avoid getting wounds, you go with something a little less useful. Likewise, the swapping of tiles (wizard card) and healing of damage (cleric card) can also be used to your advantage. Removing damage, however, will cause all tiles on top of that damage tile to drop, thus changing your stomach’s layout. Because score is calculated on tile placement in the stomach, that can be really good, or disastrous. Lots to think about, and I love the simple-yet-thoughtful strategy involved.

The swordsman deals a damage to a monster if it eats a card orthogonally adjacent to it. The archer deals a damage to a monster if it eats a card exactly two spots away (orthogonally). 

At the end of each round, players take turns choosing one leader tile, and then dropping their leader tile selected from the previous round into their monster’s stomach. A lot of these tiles grant points depending on where certain tiles are in relation to the leader tiles, so you’ll want to make sure your placement is precise. Planning ahead is key, but because you don’t drop your new leader tile until the end of the next round, your stomach could very well be filled in the area you were planning on dropping it by the time you actually get a chance to put it in your stomach. While planning can be difficult, it is nonetheless key to victory, and I’m very happy with this mechanic.

The leader tiles, which grant points according to how your tiles are laid out in your stomach.

My overall thoughts on the gameplay is that it’s well crafted, and is easy enough for beginners yet meaty enough for fans of deeper strategy. While there’s not a lot of player interaction (other than taking a certain leader tile before your opponent can do the same), I didn’t find that to be a problem. If you prefer games with player interaction, then know that Tasty Humans doesn’t count that as one of its strong points. However, the gameplay is quick, and doesn’t feel like it drags on between turns or otherwise. While I do enjoy games with a good amount of player interaction, I was just fine with Tasty Humans not having any. It works for me, and it’s one my wife has even requested more plays of, so that’s always a bonus.

In regards to the solo variant, there’s not a lot to say other than it’s well done. The AI player doesn’t fill its stomach, but does get points based on the amount of card types it has (i.e. swordsmen, wizards, clerics, archers—but not peasants), along with a point for each space/tile shown on each of its cards. This makes it difficult for the human player (who I hear is very tasty), since the AI doesn’t have to worry about tile placement. However, as the human player, the cards you select from the adventure grid determine which cards the AI player gets, so you can force its proverbial hand by making strategic decisions. For me, this is one solo game I won’t hesitate to bring out when I’m looking for a quick game to play some quiet evening.

Theme and Mechanics:

The shapes can be rotated to suit your needs.

The fantasy theme is fun. I like playing the part of the monster, eating humans for sport. I also love all-things dragons, so I definitely appreciate that two of the four monster/player boards are dragons.

The Tetris mechanic isn’t new to most (if not all) of us, but it’s not too common in board games. While, yes, Patchwork does use Tetris-like shapes, you’re not dropping them in from the top and watching them fall, as you do here. Combined with the leader tiles interspersed in your monster’s stomach, this Tetris mechanic (for lack of a better term) brings a solid level of strategy to the game.

Also, did I mention there were dragons? I like dragons.

Artwork and Components:


The art is appropriate—fun and cartoony. It’s perfect for the theme, and helps sell the game’s aesthetic.

As my copy of Tasty Humans is a pre-Kickstarter prototype, I can’t speak much on the components. However, I will say that all the boards, cards, and everything came in shrink, and the tiles needed to be punched out of their cardboard, which I must say is one of the first times—if not the first time—I’ve seen that in a prototype. If Brandon Rollins at Pangea Games takes this much effort in his prototypes, you can expect good things from the final product.

The Good:
There are a lot of good things about Tasty Humans. I won’t go into great detail about them, but here they are:
  • Dragons
  • Fun theme
  • Easy to learn/teach
  • Strategic (i.e. the goal tiles providing unique strategies per player)
  • Tetris (especially having tiles fall to fill in gaps)
  • Solid solo variant (with additional challenges!)
  • Dragons

The Other:
A few things stood out as not necessarily “bad,” but perhaps not optimal. There were some “frustrations” (so to speak), but those all stemmed from poor choices made on previous turns (my bad). Those I don’t count, because it’s actually part of what makes the game good (make sense? Didn’t think so). But, here are some things that stood out as not being optimal:
  • No real player interaction.
  • Because each “shape” is made up of 2-4 individual tiles, dropping them down—and keeping them in their proper spot within the shape—can be a bit tricky at times. (My wife, however, doesn’t agree with this assessment.)
  • Twin-Headed Dragon scoring condition may be a little too strong (possibly?).
Final Thoughts:


Dragons (and other monsters) eating people? Yes, please! The Tetris factor is great, especially the way the scoring tiles are intermixed with the grid. I like all types of games, and this is the first one of this type I have in my library. Sure, I have Patchwork, which includes a Tetris-like feel, but this.. this is even more like Tetris. 

I’m a fan of Tasty Humans (the game, not the entrée). I like the theme, I like the mechanics, and I like the strategy. All the combined makes a really good game. I say it’s like Tetris, but there’s way more to it than that. Tetris is light fare compared to Tasty Humans, and for that, I’m going to enjoy bringing this out for a long time to come.

Players Who Like:

Burninating the peasants!

Fans of Tetris (sorry, can’t stop bringing it up) should really give Tasty Humans a look. Also, if you like Patchwork, Bärenpark, or any of those types of games, give this a look. Also good if you want to avoid “take-that” mechanics, and if you’re looking for a good solo game. Lastly (but certainly not least), consider Tasty Humans for an easy game to learn that comes with some meaty strategy.

Check out Tasty Humans on:

               

Live on KICKSTARTER! Campaign Ends July 23, 2019

About the Author:



Benjamin Kocher hails from Canada but now lives in Kentucky with his wife and kids. He's a certified copyeditor through UC San Diego's Copyediting Extension program. He's a freelance writer and editor, and covers everything from board game rule books to novels. An avid writer of science fiction and fantasy, it comes as no surprise that his favorite board games are those with rich, engaging themes. When he’s not writing or playing games, Benjamin loves to play ultimate Frisbee, watch and play rugby, and read the most epic fantasy books available. Follow him on Twitter @BenjaminKocher and Instagram @Benjamin_Kocher, and read his board game-inspired fiction at BenjaminKocher.com.

Check out Benjamin's reviews here.
Tasty Humans Kickstarter Preview Tasty Humans Kickstarter Preview Reviewed by Benjamin Kocher on June 03, 2019 Rating: 5

No comments

Sponsor

Ultimate Rush