A cute little game by Gamewright that captured my attention is Gubs.
In Gubs, each of the players are attempting to play and protect (or steal and protect) the most Gubs (weird snail-type creatures, but without the shell). To do this, each turn the active player has the option of drawing a card (this is not required, but you cannot skip the draw step two turns in a row). Next, he may play any number of cards from his hand - allowing him to protect Gubs, steal Gubs, trap Gubs, etc. Finally, he must discard down to eight cards and then play passes to the left. Whenever an Event card is drawn, however, it immediately resolves (most of these are nasty and greatly affect the game). Included in the Event cards are the letters "G", "U", and "B". Once all three letters have been drawn, the game is immediately over, and whoever has the most free or protected Gubs is the winner.
The first thing that I like about Gubs is the fact that it is kid friendly. Specifically, it must be played with someone that can read, so it is more "tween" friendly. I believe that Gubs can easily be compared to games like Old Maid, Uno, War, Phase 10, and others of that complexity. Of these, I would much rather play Gubs because, even with it's flaws, it is a much more entertaining game than any of the ones I just mentioned. Plus, there is at least some strategy involved in winning Gubs as opposed to a game like War.
The next thing that I like about Gubs is the artwork. Gamewright did a great job in making Gubs feel like you are in an entirely different (very small) world. Suddenly mushrooms and toads can be viewed as useful protection, but wasps seem to be mortal threats! This is probably the greatest asset to the game - the wonderful imaginative world that serves as a backdrop for Gubs. (And, the tin that Gubs comes in is also a nice touch.)
The third pro that I will briefly mention about Gubs is that no player even feels like they can't come back. I have played dozens of games in which I knew that I had no chance of victory less than halfway through the game. Gubs is not like that. Because of some of the cards in the deck (such as the "Super Lure" which allows you to steal all of one player's free and protected Gubs), the last place person can in one turn become the leader. With this, there is a definite con...
Gubs' biggest con (to me) is that it is primarily Luck based. The subtitle for the game is "A game of wit and luck." Therefore, the amount of luck in the game should not come as a surprise to anyone. Though I would say that the game is much heavier on the luck aspect than the wit. With that said, this will not be a con to many people that play games just to pass the time and enjoy company. For me, however, I much prefer playing games in which I feel like whether I win or lose is at least greatly affected by how I play. (Though, I must admit that I do enjoy their being something random in most games.)
Because of the amount of luck in Gubs, it led to my second con - I became disinterested in the game. Since I felt like my actions did not matter (with the exception of keeping back a few defensive cards to counter a couple of the particularly nasty events and traps), my enjoyment and participation in the game quickly waned.
Overall, I give Gubs a 7.0/10. If I were to play this strictly with my typical group of gaming friends, this score would be even lower. However, factoring in the fact that Gubs can be engaging to a much younger audience (and, in fact, this is what all Gamewright games I have played strive for), I decided that 7.0 was appropriate. If you have children that can read (and would rather pull your hair out than play another game of Uno), then I would recommend checking Gubs out. If you're primarily a strategy gamer that plays games with an older audience, I would suggest that you pass.
If Gubs sounds interesting, you might also check out Hey, That's My Fish!, Dixit, and Rory's Story Cubes.
I would like to thank Gamewright for providing me with a review copy of Gubs.