CuBirds is designed by Stefan Alexander, published by Catch Up Games and distributed by Blackrock. The Cu prefix in the title stands for Cube: the birds on all the cards are cuboid representations. However, Cu could just as easily have been short for Cute. It may be quirky but the artwork on the cards by Kristiaan der Netherlanden is captivating. It's also unique on every card(!)
The game itself is fairly simple. The 110 cards comprise representations of birds from eight species. Some birds are rarer than others (the number of copies of each bird is displayed in the bottom left corner of a bird's card). Four rows of birds are laid out so that there are three cards from three different species in each row. Players have a starting hand of eight cards.
On a player's turn, they play cards to either end of any row. They have to place down all the birds they have of the species they are playing. If there are birds of that same species elsewhere in that row, the player takes into his hand all the cards in between: in effect, joining up the birds of the same species. Players are seeking to collect in their hands flocks (sets) of birds for which they can score. The number needed to form a scoring flock varies according to the rarity of the species, and the cards show an upper and a lower figure. If a player collects a large flock and plays it to the table, he retains two of the cards and discards the rest. If he lays down a small flock (the lower figure), he retains just one card in the tableau in front of him.
To win, a player needs to have seven different species represented in his tableau of completed flocks or two species each with three cards in the tableau. Players may want to try to hold onto cards until they have a large flock but this involves a push-your-luck gamble because the round ends as soon as a player has no cards left in their hand. At this point, every other player has to discard their hand!
CuBirds is a great little card game that's easy to learn and quick to play. It takes from two to five players and you can expect to complete a game in just 20 minutes, making it an excellent filler and a game that can be equally appreciated and enjoyed by seasoned games players and non-gamers alike.