This colourful game from Blue Orange catches people's attention from the moment they spot it. As you might have guessed, it's all about a land of sentient sweets, and players will be trying to gather as many as they can by luring Gummiz with combinations of apples, lemons and strawberries. Perhaps Marco Teubner's game about sweets carries a subliminal positive message about the nutritional value of fruit :-)
Regardless of any nutritional concerns, Gummiland sets out to give players young and old a fun time of Gummi catching. It might seem at first like a variant on matching pairs but actually it is more like an introduction to deck-building. Players start with six basic Gummiz tiles in their Gummiboxes, and on their turn they draw two. The mechanism for this is to poke them out with the Gummiz Tickler (cardboard stick), which works remarkably well but can be ignored if any mature players consider it to be beneath them.
These Gummiz will have fruity rewards that will need to be matched to tiles in the four central piles. If the fruits available match the fruit desired by one of the Gummiz, you can take it and add the new tile to your Gummibox, along with the spent tiles. Unlike a deck builder, you can choose what order to put the tiles back in, giving an extra tactical element to the game. Not that it's very deep: the minimum age is suggested as 6, and a 6-year old really can compete with an adult at this, and everyone should be able to enjoy it and find themselves making genuine decisions.
The game is easily expandable, and actually contains three mini-expansions in the box. This means the learning game is very straightforward and depth can be added gradually by bringing in the new tiles with more advanced special abilities, such as drawing tiles, copying tiles, and even a 'take that' element of making an opponent discard a tile. I brought our Board's Eye View review copy to a local games day and Gummiland was played repeatedly both by small children and large teenagers, and all enjoyed it enough to want to get their own copy. The imagery from Gorobei is loud and enticing, promising fun and excitement, and the game does a grand job of living up to these expectations.
(Review by Matt Young)