Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Morels- The Perfect Meal for Thanksgiving

I have a soft spot for mushrooms. The first meal my wife-to-be ever cooked for me was a pair of roasted portabella mushrooms served with vegetables. I have always Hated the taste of mushrooms but she had worked so hard and made such a lovely meal. I wish I could say I ate the whole thing but instead I was a boor. But she had her moment when I introduced her to Retsina so what was good for the gander was good for the goose. Anyway, the Idea of a mushroom meal is now suffused with nostalgia, though the reality remains another story.

Recently I played the game Morels, which is all about collecting and cooking mushrooms. The game is designed for two players and is nice and affordable at $25. One's first impression is that this is one very cute game. The package contains a few decks of cards, some counters, and the rules. The artwork on the cards depicts different types of mushrooms growing in the wild and it's very appealing. It's a pretty game.

In terms of play the game is straightforward. Players take turns collecting mushroom cards and then turning it sets of the same type of mushroom for victory points. The more of the same card you can collect, the more points you can score. Mushrooms are presented in a row and you can choose one of the first two in the row for free and pay resources to obtain one of the rest. Each turn some new mushrooms become available and some of the old mushrooms may disappear.

Cute Enough for You?
The strategy of the game comes from several factors. For one, there is a limited number of cards that you can hold in your hand. Thus, you have to do some planning to make sure you don't clutter your hand with useless mushrooms. More valuable mushrooms are also more rare and so you can either collect low value cards easily or hold out for higher scoring ones. Secondly, you watch as mushrooms appear and try and time when you pick them and when you turn them in. Finally, mushrooms can be traded in for resources which allow you to get exactly the card you want from the row of choices.

In summary this is a game about collecting and trading in sets of cards. The mushroom theme is cute and the rules are simple but do allow a bit of strategy. The game is certainly kid and family friendly. It seems designed for a less intense half hour play between couples or with some relative after Thanksgiving dinner. Non-fanatic gamers can pick it up easily. For the price it's a nice light game.

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