For years we’ve been telling you about all the amazing games published by Grey Fox Games. They have quickly become known as a company that offers engaging, high-quality strategy games like Decpetion: Murder in Hong Kong, Expedition: Famous Explorers and 7 Ronin. And if you haven’t had the opportunity to play Champions of Midgard, you should make the time to experience it at least a couple times.
While touring their offices this past spring, they mentioned a whole new line of games in the works that were less focused on strategy and leaning more towards the family-friendly side. Games that would appeal to all ages, yet not bore the heck out of the parents. We’re excited to be able to show you the first three titles under their new brand, Social Sloth Games!
Creatures and Cupcakes
Social Sloth Games’ first branded title is by superstar co-designer, Daryl Andrews. You may recognize his name from some of his other very popular games such as Sagrada, Bosk or Outpost: Amazon. Created for ages 6+, the cartoon art and simple game play makes this perfect for family game night or when the kiddos just want to interact offline.
The premise of Creatures and Cupcakes is that the yearly creature competition has begun and you are trying to be the first to tame two magical monsters to present to the Cupcake King and Queen. The first player to gain the loyalty of two of these creatures by taming them with cupcakes will win the competition!
This is a good way to introduce children to the concept of push-your-luck without relying on the classic game of Yahtzee. A number of colored cupcakes are placed into a bag, from which a player will draw one on their turn. After drawing, they may elect to draw another or stop. If drawing another from the bag, they are hoping to select one of a different color. Pulling a cupcake from the bag that matches one they already drew will result in their turn being over without being able to feed any of the creatures.
If you successfully stop drawing without matching any colors, you may feed a matching colored cupcake to the corresponding creature. This causes it to move one space closer to the middle of the board where the King and Queen are. If you draw a power cupcake (wild), you not only may feed it to any creature, you also immediately draw a Creature Power card from the deck and read it to yourself. Some might ask you to perform the action immediately, others allow you to save it for use at a later time.
If you were unfortunate to draw a duplicate color, you do not feed any creatures but do gain a matching colored elixir to use on a later turn. This elixir will protect you in case you draw a duplicate of that same color at a later time. Spend the elixir and return the cupcake to the bag and decide again whether to try your luck at another cupcake! In either case, at the end of your turn all cupcakes are returned to the bag and play is passed to the next player in clockwise order.
A game of Creatures and Cupcakes ends immediately once any player has managed to lead two of their four creatures down the path and to the center of the board. That person is declared the champion of the competition! Not only family-friendly, but very friendly to your wallet! Creatures and Cupcakes can be picked up for under $20 on Amazon or at your local game store!
I have to admit, when I first saw the name of this game, Feelinks, I thought it was going to be about golf. I was very wrong. The name is a mashup of the words “feelings” and “links”. As in linking (matching) your feelings with that of another player.
Originally published in 2015, Social Sloth Games has added it to their lineup due to their impressions of playing the game and the conversations it spurred among players. This isn’t your typical game of trying to outscore your opponents by guessing a word, stacking bricks higher or moving and capturing pawns. This is one about trying to determine the emotional reaction a person will have when presented with a specific situation.
The game includes three decks of Situation cards that are divided up to cater to a specific audience. One for when you’re playing with family, one for using with friends and the other for when younger players are the only participants. One deck is chosen and shuffled, while the remaining cards are returned to the box. Each person (Feelinks supports up to six players) receives a hand of nine Vote cards while the board is set in the middle of the play area. Three types of Emotion cards are separated and shuffled into small decks. Eight of them are dealt out to the designated spaces around the board, making sure the symbols match up. Partner cards are selected, depending upon the number of players, are shuffled and set next to the board face-down.
The first player, the Master of Emotions, will draw the top card from the Situation deck and choose one of the events to read out loud. All players will then play one of their vote cards from their hand face-down in front of them. The number on the vote card corresponds to the Emotion cards surrounding the board and should be an indication of how they believe they would react to the situation.
Once everyone has submitted their vote, the Master of Emotions will deal out the Partner cards, one to each player. These are turned face-up so everyone can see who is teamed up with whom. Players will now place a second vote from their hand in front of their teammate as a guess as to how they originally responded to the situation. If you think they responded in the same way you did, play the “ee” card instead of a numbered one.
If you and your partner(s) correctly guessed each other’s reaction, you will each receive three points. If only one of you matched, you both earn one point. Unfortunately, if neither of you matched, nothing is earned. A game of Feelinks is played either until all players have had an equal number of turns being the Master of Emotions (usually two rounds around the table) or until one player reaches the last square on the Emotion track! The highest overall total wins!
A very unique game that encourages conversation about emotions and reactions. We love the use of custom situations depending upon the people you’re playing with and can certainly see this game being used in a homeschool environment. You’ll find your copy of Social Sloth Games’ Feelinks on Amazon or at a local game store!
Social Sloth Games’ most recent release, Gem Hens, made its debut at Gen Con 2019. This one speaks to those of us that live in farm country as it is themed with a chicken coop! But these chickens aren’t laying cage-free organic eggs – they’re churning out exquisite jewel-encrusted examples similar to those created by Fabergé!
In order for your hens to be able to produce these unique eggs, they have to have special feed. As a result, you’re providing them with a special mix of gems and their grain. Each day the chickens will race into the yard to be the first to consume the gems and add them to their egg creation!
All players receive an egg board, a player action board, dice in their chosen color and a matching chicken pawn. A Yard board is set in the middle of the play area and each player puts their chicken pawn into the coop on the top or right side of the yard. The farmer pawn is put on the yard board in the space matching the number of players (and on round 1). All of the colorful gems are put into the included draw bag, with the rest of the items (farmer dice, pecking order tokens, timer) being set next to the yard board.
Social Sloth Games’ Gem Hens is played over three rounds, each of which move pretty quickly. Each round is broken up into a number of phases which are performed in order. First, the farmer throws grain into the yard by rolling the number of dice shown on the farmer’s current space (any player may roll for the farmer). Those dice are placed in the corresponding rows on the yard board. More farmer dice are rolled, this time being set in the columns on the board. At the intersection of all four dice, place a random gem from the bag onto the space in the yard.
Now the chickens (players) get to roll. At the same time, all players roll their chicken dice while the timer runs. You may either lock the result of a die by placing it on your action board or continue rerolling it as long as the timer hasn’t expired. Once you are happy with your results, or the timer runs out, all dice are locked onto the board. It is time to determine the pecking (turn) order.
All players take any dice from their board with a “6” result and roll them once again. The player with the highest total becomes first player, second-highest is second player, and so on. These newly-rolled dice are placed back onto the action board without changing their value. In pecking order, players will now perform the actions listed on their board corresponding to the dice they rolled. These may be performed in any order.
If a die has a value of 1, 2 or 3, that player may move their chicken pawn that many spaces in a straight line. If it reaches the end of the board or runs into another chicken, movement stops. If after running into a chicken you wish to shove it, you may by submitting another movement dice and moving both your chicken and the other one until the number on the die is reached or the other chicken runs into the edge of the board or yet another chicken! If any chicken ends its movement on a space with a gem, it immediately consumes it (or all of them, if more than one on the spot). Place those gems onto your egg!
If the die was a 4 or 5, this allows your chicken to scratch up additional gems from the dirt in the yard. Place the die on any open space on a row or column and add a gem for each other die it intersects with. If there is a chicken already in the space where the new gem would be place, it also eats it immediately. Lastly, if you rerolled a 6, treat this die as wild and take any of the other actions! Once all players have spent all of their dice, they are collected by the owning player. Farmer dice are also set aside to be rerolled and all chickens return to the coop! After three rounds, scoring commences!
Eggs are scored for their completeness and rarity of the gems presented. Each section of the egg may only house identical gems. Any gems that are replaced or do not fit during the game are set aside and score negative points. Pink gems are considered imperfect, and while they may help complete any section, you will take a small penalty for using them. If they are set aside, they are worth a point extra! The person with the highest overall score wins Gem Hens!
Advanced rules add in Power Cluck cards that give each player a unique power to use during the game. These are drafted during each round and are discarded at the end of the round. These will allow rule-breaking abilities like moving over blocked spaces, claiming a space that hinder other players’ movements or even eating gems from an adjacent space. With a total of 14 different Power Cluck cards, no two rounds will be the same! Another optional rule which we decided not to employ was Chicken Fighting. This makes board positioning more important, but also may not be as fun for younger players if they are constantly attacked. Also available on Amazon, you should be able to find Gem Hens in local game stores very soon (if not already).
If these first three games are any indication of the direction intended for Social Sloth Games, then we have a lot of good stuff to look forward to! See what other titles they are offering on their website and follow their new social media channels (Facebook, Twitter) to find out when their next ones will be released!
Which of these three games appeals to you the most?