duck! duck! GO! Review

One of the games that was generously sent to me after the tornado was Duck! Duck! GO!.

In Duck! Duck! Go! each player takes on the roll of a rubber duckie that is racing around the bathtub. His goal - hit all three buoys and then cross the finish line (go down the drain). But you must be careful, because the blasted bird dog is hunting you down, and if he catches you, you will be sent to a life preserver! What this actually means is that each turn all of the players pick a card from the three in their hand and reveal it at the same time. The players then move in order from lowest to highest on the card (thus allowing the lower numbered cards to get in the way of the players with higher numbered cards). If you cross a buoy, then you get the marker to represent that, and you also get a special bonus power that can be used once per game.  If you run into another player or a wall, your ducky turns completely around and faces the other direction. After everyone has moved, the player in last place gets to move for the bird dog (trying to catch his opponents and send them back to life preservers). Play continues like this until one person has collected all of the buoys and crossed the finish line.

The first thing that I like about Duck! Duck! Go! is the rubber duckies that are included in the game. My understanding is that there are over 100 different duckies that you may get and that each set is (probably) different. I think that this is a brilliant marketing strategy, and is also just a really cool feature of the game. Most of the people I played with (granted, they were women) loved the rubber duckies, and they didn't even necessarily care if there was a game associated with it. And I must admit, I thought that the duckies that were in our game were pretty cool!

The next thing that I thought was neat was that the life preservers served both as starting locations and as "teleporters."  This could really help if you found yourself horribly out of position and facing the wrong direction, as it was a much faster way to re-orient yourself than the other alternatives (continuously running into walls).

The next thing to mention is that I think that the designers of Duck! Duck! Go! did a wonderful job of depicting what it would be like to have a rubber duckie race. Imagine filling a bathtub with water and then racing rubber duckies by using a squirt gun to move them around (which, the more I think about it, sounds very fun). Now, imagine that you're not allowed to move around the bathtub but must always shoot the duckie from the same angle - and how frustrating it will be when you hit a wall (and get stuck on the wall and spend five minutes trying to get off of the wall). They have captured both the difficulty of movement and the frustration that you would experience very well. Which leads to my biggest con for the game.

I never have the cards I need! As I just stated - they capture the frustration of trying to move your duckie very well. Each time that we played I found myself running into walls because of the cards that I had (and because I was very bad at the game), and getting more and more frustrated by my complete lack of ability to move. I would chase down a buoy and have everything set up to where I would successfully be able to capture it. Then, one of two things would happen - I would have read my card wrong (that happened a lot; I thought I was better at spatial reasoning than this) or another duckie would get in my way and throw the whole plan off! Whereas I think that this is what a lot of people will love about the game, it was incredibly frustrating to me!

Another thing that I thought was odd, though I'm not entirely sure that it should be a "con" was that running into another ducky only affected your ducky - not both.  If you ran into another ducky (or the wall) then you were completely spun around and facing the opposite direction - and their ducky remained intact.  I really felt like both ducks should be affected - but that would drastically change the strategy of the game (as you wouldn't want someone to run into you most of the time).

Overall, I give duck! duck! GO! a 6.5/10. I think that a lot of people will like it better than I do, and I am glad that I had the opportunity to play it - but rest assured, I will pass this game along to someone else to try to help after the tornado. I think that it will find a better home in someone else's hands.

If you like duck, duck, Go! then you might also be interested in Gubs, Micro Mutants: Evolution, and Carcassonne.

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