1-4 Players (5 & 6 with Kickstarter add-ons)
NB This review is based on a print-on-demand copy and does not include the unlocked stretch goals or add-ons. Also, the components are not produced to the final production quality post-Kickstarter.
Who? What? Where?
David Revoy has created a magical open source world inhabited by witches, dragons and fantastical magic.
You do not know of it?
Well lets sort that out right now!
Visit Pepper & Carrot Web-comic. Go on do it now. We will wait for you to get back………………
Aha there you are and I can tell by your smile you enjoyed it. Then let us carry on.
Loyalist Games have taken the magical and gorgeous world created by David Revoy and turned it into a game. To be honest a very clever game at that. Pepper & Carrot – The Game, is based on The Potion Contest and is at first glance a simple pattern matching game. But read on and you will be enchanted by this little gem.
Currently live on Kickstarter. Already funded and pushing through the stretch goals. At the time of writing it has only 8 days left to run. This is one game that is worth a look if you like to think while you are playing games.
What’s in the Box?
Before you even open the box you will be in love with the artwork which is extremely faithful to the original work by Revoy. There is a gentle and fun brightness to the box art. When you open the box you are greeted by the Rulebook, Punch boards, Order cards, Player boards and Recipe board. On every one of these things the art continues in the same beautiful style. There is a clever use of original and new artwork throughout.
For the Apprentice pledge level you will get
Main Order Cards
Personal Order Cards
(Also available at higher pledge levels/ add-ons are extra player boards, artwork, bonus game boards and an absolutely adorable limited edition numbered handmade Carrot Plushie!)
How do I play it?
The gameplay in Pepper and Carrot is deceptively simple.
All players have their player boards randomly set up with the Ingredient Tiles. The main recipe board is then set up with the Recipe Tiles in a random order. This sets out the three recipes that you and your fellow witches are working towards.
Then you need to deal out the first three main order cards. Everyone can then perform the first action. This will be one of three actions (more have been unlocked on the Kickstarter)
Trade: Swap two adjacent tiles. Without rotating either of them.
Push: Slide and entire row or column one space along with the tile that leaves the board moving to the other end. Again without rotating it.
Once everyone has completed the first action that card is discarded and the cards move along one space allowing another card to be revealed. This allows players to see the next two upcoming actions and hopefully plan accordingly.
If however you do not want to take the action from the Main Order card you do have two alternatives. One is you can Pass, an action which will occasionally prove preferable or necessary. The other option available is to use one of your Personal Order Cards. These allow you to decide to take a different action from the current Main Order. This can be a very good option at times but it does come at a cost. You only get to use each Personal Order card once per game. Making them very valuable actions that you wont use lightly.
HUH! Is that it?
OK so I have my ingredients in the right order do I win? Well not necessarily. First off you need to make sure the paths that connect the ingredients all connect up correctly and then you need to make sure they do not connect to any extra ingredients (because we all know too many mushrooms makes the spells turn bad). If after checking you find your recipe is complete. Only then do you get to take the coveted Recipe Token. Trust me this is a lot harder than it sounds as the tiles have been cleverly designed to make it trickier then just 1,2,3 go. Complete all three recipes first to win the game. See I told you it was easy, right?
How good is it then?
I will be perfectly honest with you here. The artwork is beautiful. It is bright but not garish. Beautifully drawn and coloured images abound on the Player Boards, Main Boards and Backs of the Order Cards. The gameplay is scalable in its difficulty to allow for different ages and experience to play on an even footing and the Stretch Goals being reached will allow you to mess with the other players plans. Overall this is a very clever implementation of the pattern making style of game using a great and suitable theme that has a ton of replay-ability.
However no game is perfect and Pepper & Carrot is no exception. In my opinion the ingredient tiles and recipe tiles icons feel like they just miss the theme in their art style. That is not to say they are bad far from it. They are just not 100% right. Also the icons on the Order Cards while being accurate and functional could possibly have had a little more graphical work on them. They are clear though and that is the most important part of their function. The amount of player interaction, or should I say lack of. Will be a huge turn off for some. Personally I do not want a lot of player meddling. Especially on such a thinking strategic puzzle. Others will not be so keen.
Deceptively deep strategy.
Great variability over the difficulty.
Almost limitless replay-ability.
Scales well from 1 player up.
Good for all ages.
Different abilities can play simultaneously as difficulty can be scaled independently.
Tile and card iconography a bit simplistic.
Little to none player interaction.
This requires oodles of concentration.
Component Quality 3.5/5
This was a print on demand review copy I fully expect the
actual release quality to be much higher.
Player Interaction 1/5
Stretch Goals will remedy some of this but this is not a take
that style of game.
Overall 80% Definitely worth backing
Pepper and Carrot is a game I will happily have on my shelf as it will play well with all ages. It has already got the thumbs up from my 9yr old son and other family members. Not really a games meet-up type of game but will get lots of play at home.