Welcome to The Game Shelf!

After getting into the board game hobby at the end of 2014, we've decided to share our thoughts on the games we're collecting on our shelves. The collection has certainly expanded over the last few years and we've been making up for lost time!

Sometimes our opinions differ, so Amy will be posting reviews every Tuesday and Fi will post on Thursdays. We hope you enjoy reading some of our opinions on board games - especially those for two players.

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Tuesday 30 April 2019

There's No Folk like:- Inuit: The Snow Folk

Game: Inuit: The Snow Folk

Publisher: Board & Dice

Designer: Alexey Konnov, Alexey Paltsev, Anatoliy Shklyarov, Trehgrannik

Year: 2019

Inuit: The Snow Folk is a 2-4 player tableau building card game in which you play as the leader of a clan of Inuits. Your goal is to lead your clan to greatness by recruiting more clan members, worshiping spirits and hunting the great polar game needed to survive. Should things get dire you can always recruit members fro other clans, but know that this will cost you in the long run.

Each turn the active player will draw one card from the deck, adding it to the central market known as the great white. On top of this one card they may choose to perform the scout action, letting them draw more cards up to their current scouting limit. After choosing whether to scout or not they then choose one of the 6 main actions to perform. All of the actions function in the same way, allowing you to take 1 card of the relevant type from the great white, plus 1 additional card of the same kind for every Inuit that has been attached to that action.

Assigning Inuits makes your actions more powerful, they don't need to be from your clan but there are consequences if they are not!

There are 6 actions in total. The elder action lets you recruit more Inuits which then strengthen your actions. Ideally you want to recruit Inuits of your clan, or children which have a parent from your clan. Should you do so at the end of the game you will be rewarded points, taking Inuits from other clans is possible, but will cost you end game points instead. Counter to this is the warrior action which lets you turn Inuits into weapons. Weapons are stored face down so it doesn't matter which clan they come from, but are only valued at 1 point each so it's rarely an efficient action to choose. Whalers, Hunters, and Trappers are all used to collect Whales, Bears, and Seals respectively. While the actions are identical seals are the most common and worth only 2 points, while bears are far rarer but worth 4 points each. Finally Shamans let you collect rites, cards with one-off abilities, and spirits, which increase the value of certain cards at the end of the game.

The simplicity of Inuit's gameplay makes it easy to pick up for almost anyone, but choices can be anything but. The great white adds a lot of decision making to the game, do you want to scout for extra cards and risk setting your opponents up for a good turn? Is the reward of drawing that extra card you need worth it? Should you grab a child of a non-matching clan to improve your actions now and hope you can get rid of it by the end of the game, or is it better to wait patiently for your Inuits to turn up? But with the inclusion of the Warriors action hate-picking is certainly a thing and if someone wants to they can starve the other players of valuable clan members. The game can feel especially cruel if your clan members are all in the lower half of the deck! Should you find the base game too simple there are 2 mini expansions included. One encourages more player interaction with the ability to call truces or wars with the other players, along with adding more powerful legendary Inuits and great game cards which are worth more than the standard fare.. The other adds 3 new stages to the game, a morning, noon and evening phase. Each of these phases last a third of the deck and have a special rule card which often make the game faster to play.

The two mini expansions can be combined to create a noticeably more complex game.

Length is one of the areas where Inuit fell short for me. For a simple card game it sure is long, the base game outstays it welcome by the end of it. Doubly so if no-one is investing heavily in scouts, and since you aren't guaranteed to be the one to reap the rewards of that investment I wouldn't blame you. Beyond it being a little too lengthy the game is simply a bit basic, sure all the actions behaving the same way makes it easy to pick up, but there's little nuance to be discovered. Most turns it's fairly obvious what your best move is, so you take it. The real determining factor is how you have assigned your Inuits to be prepared for the future. Overall Inuit is a pleasant distraction, but not a game I feel I will be coming back to, it may be beautiful to look at, but it lacks the deph needed to keep me interested.


Inuit: The Snow Folk was a review copy provided by Asmodee UK. It is available at your friendly local game store for an RRP of £39.99 or can be picked up at http://www.365games.co.uk/.

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