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Fish Off Kickstarter Review from Thomas

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Quick Look: Fish Off


Designer: Elliot Courtney
Publisher: Loaded Dice Games
Year Published: Coming to Kickstarter (Link at the bottom of this review)

No. of Players: 2-4
Ages: 8+
Playing Time: 20 minutes.
Find more info HERE.
From the Publisher:

Welcome to Fish Off! A dice and tile game where catching and stealing fish is part of the fun and highly encouraged! Compete against your friends and settle disputes through a good old fashioned Tug of War! The Player who earns the most points over 3 Matches is the Fish Off Champion!

Want more of a challenge? Flip the board over to the Strong Currents side and add Fish Set Bonuses to your score to really show off your fishing skills!

Have you got what is takes to become the next Fish Off Champion?

Disclaimer: The publisher provided the prototype copy of Fish Off!The opinions expressed in the review are completely my own.

Note:  This review is based on an early demo version of the game and may not accurately reflect the final version of the game.

 

Review:

Overview:

This was a quick fun little game. It takes a good deal of luck and skill to win this game, but so does fishing. The first few rounds casting and catching fish was relatively easy and straightforward, but as the game progressed and there were fewer fish in the water, Tug of Wars and the use of Seagulls became more strategic. The interaction was great, and just like fishing, things didn’t always go your way. Landing a whole stack of fish, though, was exciting. This will be a great game for the younger crowd as well as a starter for family game nights.

 

Rules & Setup:

The rules are simple and easy to follow. Everyone picks a point where they are going to cast and then everyone rolls a die to see how far they cast. If two people cast onto the same location, or someone plays a Seagull, a Tug of War is started and players roll dice with the higher die pulling the fish toward that player. The rule book also includes advanced setup instructions for players who want a little bit more of a challenge. Finally, the rule book includes a description of the special tiles and their effect(s).

The set up is fairly quick and only takes a few minutes. Rules explanation takes about the same amount of time. The game board is placed in the center and players take the Die, Hook, and Seagulls associated with the color on their side of the board. Fish tokens are shuffled, depending on the number of players, and placed onto the board, in a 3×5 grid for 2 players and a 5×5 grid for 3-4 players. Play begins and is simultaneous.

 

Theme and Mechanics:
In Fish Off you are trying to be the best angler in the contest. You have to cast your line in to see what you can catch. Some catches are easier than others. With a little bit of skill and luck, you can your fishing acumen.

The mechanic of the game is action area selection and then a random element for action resolution. The advanced game also includes a set collection mechanic.

 

Gameplay:

The game is played over 3 Matches consisting of a variable number of rounds. At the start of each round players simultaneously pick the column in which they are going to cast their line. All players then roll a die to determine how far their line is cast. If a cast lands in an empty space, the line is pulled back toward the player until it encounters a fish. All locations where the hooks have landed are turned over to reveal the fish to be caught. Players may use their Seagull tokens to attempt to just claim a revealed fish, but Seagulls are a limited resource.

Tiles where 2 or more hooks have landed, and tiles where Seagulls have been placed, begin a Tug of War. All involved players roll their die and the person with the higher die result moves the fish tile one space closer to them. If they succeed on pulling the fish off their side of the board, they win the fish. All players who rolled the same number at any point, though, their line snaps and they are out of the Tug of War, if no one is left on the fish tile, the tile stays where it is at and becomes a fish stack.

Rounds continue until everyone has caught 5 fish. If a player catches more than 5 fish in a round, they must discard fish down to 5. Once everyone has caught 5 fish, the Match is over. Players total their fish points and get ready for the next round.

What is done well:

I feel like the designer has done well at capturing the feeling of fishing. You know where you want to cast, but it doesn’t always work out. With skill, though, you can reach the goals you want for where your line can go. Of course you want to catch the big ones, but sometimes you catch what you catch.

The game is easy enough to understand for younger gamers, but includes enough elements to allow seasoned gamers some moments of excitement and pleasure.

What some may find issue with:
Players who are particular about the color of their pieces may not like the board setup. Player colors for each position are included on the game board, so your color depends on where you sit. This could cause issues if a player always sits in the same position. It is better to change up where people sit between Matches in order to not have players always pitted against each other.
 
Final Thoughts:

I’m not an avid fisher, but I do enjoy the thrill of the catch. This game included enough strategic elements to realize it takes some skill to achieve your goals, but also includes enough chaos to not always be the same outcome. To a certain degree, knowing your opponents and trying to guess where they are going to cast their line can help you to either avoid them, or go for the strategic Tug of War. All in all, if you enjoy fishing as a pastime, you are likely to enjoy this game.

Players Who Like: Simultaneous play, group action selection with random outcome, and fishing in general
After reading Thomas Shepherd’s review, if this sounds like a game for you at the time of this posting Fish Off will be live on KICKSTARTER  starting Mid May 2024. Check it out and click to be notified upon launch so you can back it on day 1 HERE.
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Check out Fish Off and Loaded Dice Games on:


Thomas Shepherd- Reviewer

I grew up loving to solve puzzles, play games, and have fun.  In my younger years I had fun playing pencil games, enjoyed the creativity of playing Dungeons and Dragons with my friends, and generally hanging out with others. My favorite thing to do was to make puzzles of all kinds, mazes, word games, picture games, etc.

Sadly my career took me in a different direction, solving computer problems rather than gaming problems.

Gaming came back into my life, though, in a big way about 15 years ago, and I have held onto it since. I still enjoy designing games and have 9 published titles, which I did through my own game publishing company, Toresh Games, prior to the Covid pandemic. Sadly I was not able to sustain the company through the pandemic.

I highly encourage people to play games, make friends, and have fun. As a game enthusiast, I would love to see a return to games as the best social media platform for the masses.

All of Thomas Shepherd’s reviews can be found HERE.

 

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