Updated: Aug 22
FunkiFruit is a fast fun set collection, hand optimisation card game from Clever Unicorn where you'll be trying to accumulate the selection of fruit that will yield the highest end-game score. The game is designed by Steven McLoughlin and Patrick Wall.
Players draw cards but they must never end their turn with more than 10 cards. That means that for most of the game, players will be managing their 10 card hands. As in a conventional rummy card game, winning is mainly about working out which cards to keep and which to discard. And as in other food-themed set collection games like Sushi Go (Gamewright), certain card combos and multiple copies of the same card are worth far more than individual cards. For example, a single Pear will score you just 2 points but you score 22 points for a pair of Pears. Do you push your luck and hold on to your Pear in the hope of drawing a second one before the game ends or do you discard it in favour of, say, an Avocado that scores a simple 8 points on its own?
We've shown FunkiFruit here on Board's Eye View with only concealed cards in hand and face up cards on the table in a tableau. That's really only to show the balance of open information available to players. In practice, you'll hold all the cards so that opponents cannot see them but 50% of the cards players draw are initially taken face up. This introduces a challenging memory element to play...
In addition to the pick up and discard actions on your turn, you have the option to play any of the action cards you've drawn. Some action cards give you the chance to make extra draws, including from either of the two discard piles; others allow you to steal cards from other players. This is where it can help to have a good memory of what others have drawn. The action cards can introduce an element of controlled chaos into your set collection plans and they generate a certain amount of 'take that' interaction between the players.
Four Swarm cards are seeded in to draw deck, and the game ends when the 4th Swarm card is drawn. The Swarms represent insect-themed event cards that affect all the players. The game comes with more Swarm cards than you use in each game, so these give some further variety between plays.
FunkiFruit takes 2–5 players, tho' we were surprised our preview copy didn't incorporate a solo option because this is a game that could easily be adapted for solo play. The age-range guide in the rules is 14+ but we could happily recommend this as a family game that can be played with much younger children. You can expect a game to take around 20 minutes and, because the deck acts as a timer, a five-player game doesn't take much longer than a game with two or three players.
Even making use of your 'fruit basket' to hold two cards outside your hand, you are going to have 8-10 cards in hand for most of the game: rather more during those turns when an action card gives you additional draws. We liked the cartoon artwork by Giovanni Spadaro and the cards are attractive but you can't readily take in all the information on each card while holding cards fanned in your hand, so this is a game where you will benefit from using card racks. That said tho', we'd like to see cards also show the number of copies in the deck. This information is printed on player aid cards but it would be a help if it were also shown discreetly on the fruit cards themselves.
FunkiFruit launched on Kickstarter on 21 August. Click here to check out the campaign and make it one of your five-a-day.