14 May 2021
A great addition to your five a day
For a relatively new studio, Deep Print Games are making quite a splash in the industry. Following on from last year’s fantastic Kiesling and Kramer title Renature, the studio – comprised of former employees from Eggertspiele and Plan B Games – have now released Juicy Fruits and secured the talents of Christian Stohr in the process, a designer whose name just so happens to grace the cover of 2020 Spiel des Jahres winner Pictures.
In Juicy Fruits players will be farming fruit on their own island paradise. By supplying ships and investing in new businesses, players will gather the points needed to win the game.
Whilst looking like a familiarly static tile-laying game at first glance, Juicy Fruits soon peels away any preconceptions, revealing a more dynamic take on the genre. The game employs a unique ‘sliding’ mechanic whereby players push their collector tokens orthogonally around the board, hoovering up chunky wooden fruit in the process. As simple as that might sound, in reality it’s a surprisingly brain-bending puzzle.
Each of the starting collector tokens produces a different fruit, with each yielding an amount equal to how far it moves. Deciding which fruit is needed is the easy part, but with each movement comes a host of peripheral considerations: am I now blocking another collector? Have I just closed up that gap I needed for a big-scoring business tile? When and how will I complete that ship’s order? Why do I have so many bananas?
These micro dilemmas are largely provoked by the tiny scale of each player’s island. At the game’s start you’ll only have access to a three-by-three grid of farming opportunities, with the rest being blocked by the eager ships waiting on shore. Gradually, these spaces will open up as orders are fulfilled, giving some extra room for your planning, only to then have other clumps of land blocked off by the additional collector and business tiles purchased from the main board.
Keeping in line with the example set by Renature, the component quality in Juicy Fruits is excellent and eco-friendly. The oversized chunky wooden fruit and pair of large linen bags feel great in the hand, and aside from the cellophane sealing the box there’s not an ounce of plastic in sight. With that said, it may still be worth recycling a few baggies from your stash when it comes to organising the various components.
Where some games can feel bloated with promises of extravagant play variants, solo rules, and deluxe components, Juicy Fruits simply feels generous. Big, bright, colourful fruit meeples were hardly a necessity, but their visual presence and tactility just fit. The ‘Juice Factory’ variant offered on the back of the scoreboard, gently introduces an extra phase for players to pursue some bonus points, but it importantly doesn’t clog up the game’s flow, whilst the solo mode - again making use of reversible boards - has each player’s island doubling up as a unique automated opponent.
The core game alone is a solid experience with plenty of setup variability, but these few additions give the sense of a designer simply wanting to expand players’ enjoyment, with no need for crowd-pleasing convolution. Whether you’re up for a slick solo puzzle or looking for a colourful brain-burner to brighten up family game night, Juicy Fruits does more than tick all the boxes.
PLAY IT? YES
Like the tangiest of oranges, Juicy Fruits is sweet, sharp, and surprisingly refreshing. With a bright, chirpy theme and crunchy yet elegant gameplay, Deep Print Games’ latest box is a fine addition to their impressive growing catalogue.
There are some trickier aspects to Juicy Fruits’ farming puzzle, but both games make clever use of sliding tiles and spatial strategy.
Designer: Christian Stohr
Publisher: PSC Games
What’s in the box?
- 4 Island boards
- 1 Business board
- 1 Score board
- 100 Wooden fruits
- 24 Business tokens
- 6 Large venue tokens
- 20 Collector tokens
- 4 Postcards
- 50 Ship tokens
- 13 Ice cream markers
- 4 Milkshake markers
- 12 Player discs
- 1 License marker
- 2 Linen bags
This article originally appeared in issue 55 of Tabletop Gaming. Pick up the latest issue of the UK's fastest-growing gaming magazine in print or digital here or subscribe to make sure you never miss another issue.
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