A review by
- 2-7 Players
- 60-90 Minutes
- 12+ Age
Asking for Trobils was originally released in 2015 by Kraken Games following a successful Kickstarter funding campaign. It was quite well received in the game community. With some notable reviewers speaking well of it. Now we fast forward to 2017 and Breaking Games in association with Kraken Games is releasing a second edition. So what has changed and how well does it play two years on (a veritable lifetime in board-gaming)?
When you first hold the game box the first thing that will strike you is ORANGE! Lots and lots of orange. The artwork has definitely been tangoed (google tango ads if you don’t understand that reference). There is Orange writing, orange monsters, orange spaceships, orange…well you get the idea. Open the box and the contents are (apart from orange there is lots of that).
- Circular Game Board,
- 32 Riff-Raff Cards,
- 20 Trobil Cards,
- 8 City Cards,
- 12 Riff-Raff Standees,
- 48 Connection Cards,
- 7 Ship Cards,
- 22 Mega Traps tokens,
- 46 Space Slugs tokens,
- 46 Space Carrot tokens,
- 46 Trap tokens,
- 44 Credit tokens (1 & 5 value),
- 10 Resource tokens,
- 28 Ship Miniatures,
- 40 Acrylic Ore,
- 40 Acrylic Crystals.
Quick note for those with the original first edition. Here is a quick rundown of the changes in the second edition.
- Art→ Some tweaking and refining.
- Components→ Wood cubes and discs now full art punchouts.
- MSRP→ reduced.
- Riff-Raff cards→ More Orangified, some wording tweaks and some re-balancing to reduce overpowered cards.
- Ships→ NO change.
The titular Trobils are a space vermin (think weird orange space rats with lots of eyes and teeth). No one knows where they have come from. They have started to appear on the planet Paradise. You and your competing Trobil Hunters have been tasked with eradicating the infestation. You will need to use all your talents to acquire space carrots, space slugs, traps, mega traps, ore and crystals to ensnare the Trobils. If you cast them into the sun (the only known way to destroy these pests) you will be rewarded. Ship upgrades and mercenaries will help and hinder you and your competitors. Who will prove the most successful once the infestation is cleared?
Each player starts with 1 or 2 ships (depending on player count), a few credits and a ship card. On your turn you can place a ship on any of the locations on the board to take the relevant action. This will range from collecting Carrots, Gems or Ore. Just for visiting the location, to spending some resources or money to get better resources or even ships. You will need to do this to allow yourself to have the amount of resources required to visit Paradise and capture one of the Trobils. Each Trobil card shows the amount and type of resource required to capture it. You can only capture one Trobil at a time so repeated visits will be needed. If you visit the sun in the centre of the board you can cast the captured Trobils into the sun gaining a number of credits based on how difficult they were to catch. At the end of the game all Trobils count towards your final points tally regardless of if you have cast them into the sun or not.
As the game progresses you will capture Trobils and eventually reveal City Cards. These signify the clearing of the planet of its infestation and blocks Trobils from re-entering in those spaces. Once all spaces are blocked the game ends and you calculate the points to find the winning Trobil Hunter.
All very simple and straightforward so far. Now we move onto a few actions that makes Asking for Trobils stand out.
The first of these is You can upgrade your ships. These upgrades apply to all of your ships only and is cleverly implemented. When you visit the Space Station you can for 2 credits purchase a Connection (upgrade) you place this upgrade adjacent to any side of your ship card. You ship card is six sided and has an icon matching 6 of the game locations. From that point on every time one of your ships visits that location you receive the extra resource depicted on your connection upgrade. Want to get more than one bonus per visit? No problem simply attach extra connection upgrades at an increased cost and you are good to go.
Next we look at the Riff-Raff cards. Think of these as hired guns or mercenaries when you visit the “Broken Planet” space you can receive 2 credits and a Riff-Raff card which is used immediately. They can earn you resources or credits or even protect you from other players Riff-Raff. Some of them are instant reward others will have a standee placed on the board and provide some form of benefit over time.
The final quirk in Asking for Trobils, and for me the most interesting. Is the “bumping” mechanic. Normally when you play worker placement games, once a space has been used. That is the space blocked for the rest of the round. Here things are a little different. Even if the space you want to use is occupied you can still use it. But, it comes at a cost. When you place your spaceship on the occupied space you need to hand the opponents ship back to them. This in effect gives them a free extra turn. The question you are left with, is the use of the space worth enough to you to allow an opponent an extra turn? In fact in a 7 player game this can cause a cascade effect. With several players getting an extra turn one after the other. Making for some interesting decision choices.
Here we have a game that is greater than the sum of its parts. One the one hand it is a simple light family weight gateway worker placement game. While on the other hand there are some clever game mechanics in play that encourage deeper thinking. Without going to heavy. The Art work is appealing to probably most people (except those that hate orange). Iconography make the game simple to learn and also teach. My 9yr old son really enjoyed playing as did my wife and a couple of people from gaming circles. No it is not heavy but it is gentle and warm. Recommended for the shelf and at the lower 2nd edition price point will not burn a hole in your pocket. At time of writing $45 (approx £35) on Breaking Games website.
Footnote:- The review copy we received came with a punchboard error. Even though it was “just a review copy” Breaking Games were horrified and did their best to rectify this issue as quickly as possible. If only all publishers were this quick and efficient.
- Easy to learn.
- Easy to teach.
- Some interesting mechanics.
- Suitable for wide age range.
- Family friendly.
- Fun artwork.
- Not too heavy.
- Possibly too light for some.
- Artwork a little too childlike for some.
I was provided a copy of “asking for Trobils” for review through the Board Game Exposure group. This game has now been forwarded on to another member for review. this does not affect my review or my final thoughts on the game.