12 May 2022
A curious but surprisingly deep entry to the series
Mushrooms love company, as the saying goes, and that’s your goal in this Hanabi-esque set-making game. Kinoko feels like a somewhat more mature box for Helvetiq. It’s not got the almost-educational feel Karimba or the universalness of building tunnels in Bandido, instead it has something a lot more dinner-party about it.
Players are attempting to make a set of three of their colour (known only to them), whether that’s in their hand (which they can’t see, holding them outwards), in the other player’s hand (which they can see), or in one of the two sets of face down cards on the table (which neither player can see). It doesn’t matter where that set ends up, but players are attempting to move and manipulate cards between these sets using the limited information they have. Each turn players roll three dice, and take an action – usually swapping a card of the same number (helpfully written on the back for those in your hand), but sometimes having a peek at a card, or swapping an entire set of cards with those in your hand. When you think you know where a set of cards are, you declare it at the end of the round and everything is revealed. Points go to those who make sets, points are removed for holding any of the ‘forbidden’ colour cards. And then you go again.
It’s like a competitive version Hanabi, but as such doesn’t have the same intention of communication – it should have a bluffing element, but really, no one knows enough to bluff anything until it’s too late. This aside, it’s a jolly and sometimes brain-teasing game that can feel a bit like doing a sudoku, but only in your head and with only limited information. A curious but surprisingly deep entry to the series.
PLAY IT? YES
Christopher John Eggett
Designer: Tim Rogasch
Time: 20 minutes
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