You know the saying “It’s easy to make a hard game, but hard to make an easy one”? Well, if that’s true, then Goblin’s Breakfast must have been a difficult game to create, as learning to play takes minutes. Similar to games like Uno or Love Letter, Goblin’s Breakfast is built on a simple concept that hides a cleverly strategic design. The gameplay itself is neither difficult nor taxing, yet card variety and frequency help ensure the game flows and is both interesting and enjoyable.
The premise behind the game is that you are goblins seated at a breakfast table. Food and weapons are routinely thrown into the goblin warren, and you must fight to consume as much as you can before the game ends. Goblin’s Breakfast begins with a 60-card deck placed in the centre of the table. Before the game begins, a number of cards are dealt face-up, equal to one more than the number of players. These cards display food, weapons, or specials, and indicate what has currently been “thrown into the warren”.
On their turn, players can perform one of four actions: draw a card from the table supply, consume an item of food they are holding, steal from another player, or draw and execute a special. Food and weapon cards have two important indicators that are essential to gameplay. The first is a number indicating the strength of the card, and the second is an indicator to show how many hands it takes to carry. Players are only able to carry two hand’s worth of items at any time, and as you would imagine, the items with a higher value require more hands to carry. Any card a player draws is placed face up on the table in front of them, just as if they’d picked something up at a breakfast table.
To consume an item, you simply turn the card face down and place it on a pile beside you (your “stomach”). As victory is determined by the person who consumes the most food, piles must be formed in such a way that allows the other players to see how many items have been consumed. While they can’t see the numeric value of the food, other players can factor this in when determining who to steal food from in subsequent rounds. When stealing from another goblin, a player simply needs to have a higher value weapon card in their hand than the person they’re stealing from. This mechanic changes the nature of the game from a simple race to pick up the best items to something more competitive, where you’re also trying to hinder your opposition.
When we first started playing Goblin’s Breakfast we rarely used weapons, instead preferring to use our valuable turns to collect or consume food. This made for a rather bland game, and it wasn’t long before we were collecting weapons and trying to steal food instead of collecting it from the table. Some food cards came with special benefits, such as granting the player an extra tur, or the ability for the food to be thrown at another player, making them drop all their cards. Add in a variety of special cards, like the “Gut Punch” – which makes a player throw up the last item they ate – and the game suddenly became much more interesting.
Goblin’s Breakfast is a game that is simple to play, but well designed. The card variety is well thought out, although we did feel there were a few too many weapon cards. I played with my kids and found it perfect for the those aged 5 years and older. A great family game that is well worth checking out.
Goblin’s Breakfast is currently in development and estimated for release in 2015. You can provide the developers, Midnight Campaign, support by backing their Kickstarter project link and even download a print and play demo to try yourself.