I think every person my age grew up with some kind of knick-knack, curio or printer’s drawer adoring the wall filled with all kinds of random pieces of memorabilia. My mom could recite a story for each and every trinket she had on display in her printer’s drawer and piece of silver or glassware in her China hutch.
After we were married, Scott and I inherited a couple shelves from my in-laws and you can still find them on display in the guest room looking exactly as we got them. I’ve added a smaller unit to my own bedroom and it’s filled with vintage Wade Whimsey figurines. While squished pennies are my current preference for souvenirs, I regularly have to talk myself out of purchasing adorable little knick-knacks. Maybe that’s what drew me to The Whatnot Cabinet from Pencil First Games… or maybe it’s just because I like games and their products have never let me down.
As the name implies, The Whatnot Cabinet is a game about collecting various “whatnots” and placing them in your own personal cabinet to display. Give each player a cabinet as well as the matching colored pawn. Place the journey board in the center of the table within reach of all players (supports 1-4). Shuffle the curiosity cards then randomly place five above the journey board and return all others to the box. You’ll shuffle and select one wonder card in this same fashion, placing it next to the curiosity cards while discarding the rest. This type of randomized setup ensures that each game revolves around different goals. Create a general pile with the point tokens and place all the curio tiles in the cloth bag. Beginning with the first player and rotating clockwise, players place their pawn on the leftmost available space in the landscape section of the journey board.
The objective of The Whatnot Cabinet is to earn points by selecting items over the course of six rounds. On any given turn, a player will add exactly two new curio tiles to their personal board. At the beginning of each round, four curio tiles are drawn and placed in “the outdoors”, an open area on the table below the journey board. Then players will take turns selecting an action. The order of play is clockwise for the first round, but subsequent rounds will coincide with each players lineup on the landscape section for that round.
On your turn, you may place your pawn on any unoccupied action space on the journey board. Then you will perform the actions in the order they are listed in that column. All actions are required to be performed so if you don’t want to do something then you’ll need to select a different column. There are five action columns available so every player will have at least two different options.
When you select or acquire a curio tile as part of your action, you must immediately place it into your cabinet. Where you decide to place it will impact your scoring. You can earn anywhere between one and four points depending on how many of the same or different you have in a row (item type) or column (item color). To keep things interesting, there are special action tiles with various alternative actions. As an example, they may instruct players to draw additional tiles from the bag or possibly sweep away existing outdoor tiles and replace them. After you’ve completed your entire action, you’ll claim any available awards.
If you’ve placed four of the same COLOR object in a column, you’ll take a four point token and set it on the top of that completed column. Two points are earned for four different colored objects in a column. Rows are scored separately with three points being earned for completing a row with three of the same object TYPE. A row with three different object types is worth one point. You’ll earn a blank marker if you don’t meet one of the above mentioned scoring parameters.
The first player to meet the conditions on each of the curiosity cards earns that card which will be bonus points at the end of the game. After all players have completed their actions and claimed any rewards, all the pawns are returned to the landscape section on the journey board, corresponding with their action column location. After six rounds of this process, add end of game points (wonder card, special action tiles, pawn placement and tiles with crowns) then determine the winner.
Players vying for the same tiles and goals causes some chaos in The Whatnot Cabinet, but generally it’s a more relaxing game like Herbaceous or Sunset Over Water. While labeled ages 8+, younger players can enjoy this set collection game with some instruction from an adult. Add a copy of The Whatnot Cabinet to your game shelf by ordering a copy on Amazon, direct from Pencil First Games or at your local game store. As always, Pencil First Games has a collection of interesting news on their social channels (Facebook, Twitter) so be sure to follow them!
What types of items do you collect and add to knick-knack cabinets?