In the vast realm of Backyardia, the Bug Council convenes to discuss important things like picnics, how to ruin picnics and, of course, income tax reform. The different factions of bugs — ants, flies, bees, mosquitos and cockroaches — find themselves in an ever-shifting balance of power and only those who ally themselves with the most powerful will seize the day.
Bug Council of Backyardia is a trick-taking game that utilizes a mancala mechanism to dynamically shift which suits are powerful throughout the game, which is played over three rounds. Each round, players receive eleven cards to play ten tricks. During the tricks, the leader plays a suit and the rest of the players follow with a card of the same suit, if possible. Whoever plays the strongest card of the strongest suit wins the trick and collects it for scoring! Meanwhile, whoever plays the lowest on-suit card gets to visit the Bug Council; this player chooses a faction tile, collects its strength cubes, then distributes them in a clockwise fashion around the council, thus altering the strength of the suits.
At the end of ten tricks, players use their remaining card to claim their allegiance to the faction matching its suit. If you play your cards right and manipulate the council to your favor, you can get a nice allegiance bonus to add to the tricks you've won.
At the end of three rounds, whoever has the most points wins the game and will be forever remembered in the annals of Backyardia history!
Bug Council of Backyardia is an uneven playing experience with a promising design.
First Take Friday – Escape from the Aliens in Outer Space, Sanssouci (2nd Edition), FORK, Clockworker, Bug Council of Backyardia
In First Take Fridays we offer hot takes on games that are new to us. This week we have Escape from the Aliens in Outer Space, Sanssouci (2nd Edition), FORK...