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.

Get in touch by emailing thegameshelfblog@gmail.com

Saturday 11 May 2019

The Game Shelf Previews:- Forks

 Game: Forks

Publisher: Radical 8 Games

Designer: Mark Stockton-Pitt

Year: 2019

Forks is a card game that puts the world of high-stakes investment into the palm of your hand. You'll spend the game deciding between investing in companies to enhance their performance and embezzling them for all the money you can get. But take care not to get too greedy. If a company doesn't receive enough investment then it will collapse and anyone trying to embezzle from them will be met with an unpleasant surprise.

It's coming to Kickstarter in May 2019 from independent publisher Radical 8 Games and designed by Mark Stockton-Pitt who was part of the design team for Newspeak - another game we'll be reviewing in the coming weeks.


Forks is a simple card game to play. Each turn a player will draw 3 cards and choose 1 to add to their hand before passing the remaining two on to their opponent. Upon receiving these 2 cards they will decide 1 card to keep in their hand and the remaining card is played face up in the investment row. Cards have varying numeric value as well as a suit of one of 6 companies. A round will end once all cards have been drawn and played this way. At this point the 3 most successful companies, those with the highest sum of their cards played in the investment row, will pay out, while the remaining companies will go bankrupt.

You then will score points for each card in your hand. Each card scores a number of points equal to its value, but scores positive points if the company is one of the golden 3, and negative points if the company went bust. In this way you are left with a simple, but difficult choice, do you keep high value cards for the high reward at the end of the round, or do you invest them in order to ensure that the companies you want succeed.On top of this, each round will come with one of two special rules, allowing you to manipulate which cards you can play and invest.

Amy’s Final Thoughts

Forks is proof that there is still room in the market for great little card games. The rules are simple but the decisions are hard. Each turn you are only choosing 1 of 2/3 cards to keep, but the consequences of this will then dictate what your opponent can do, and which companies are going to succeed. Throwing away a card doesn't simply remove it from the game, it adjusts the game's balance, altering which cards are attractive, and which are ruinous to keep hold of.

All of this is combined with a meticulous balance, keeping high-numbered cards can be very rewarding, but since you are denying that high number from the investment row the company is more likely to bust and therefore the high number is more likely to ruin you! What seems like a sound investment in the early game can quickly turn to muck as the game continues. But if a company isn't being invested in it means *someone* has those cards, just make sure it isn't you! Each company has varying numbers in it, but those with higher numbers in them will lose any ties which come up, which in turn can make them riskier than they seem.

Forks doesn't have the world of depth to it, it's a simple, quick filler game that's the appropriate size for a filler game a single deck of cards. The art is a little on the simple side, but it does the job of keeping which card is for which suit clear (with colour, words and symbols to keep it colourblind friendly). If you are on the lookout for a small card game for your collection then check out Forks when it comes to Kickstarter on 14th May.

Fi’s Final Thoughts

Forks is a very unassuming game - a very small box, with basic cards and simple, but effective graphic design. I went in with no expectations and was pleased to find a card game that really has a great 'classic' feel to it.

Whilst I find the game quite difficult to figure out, I love the many tough decisions you're making as you try to manipulate the stock market. The two different manipulations you can make as the first player are really tricky to figure out how to optimise, but I like how they alone give you a different feel to your game. After a few plays I am nowhere near mastering Forks and I'm not 100% sure it can be mastered. Pushing your luck, figuring out your odds and watching your opponent(s) all play into how you choose to play each turn.

I'm extremely impressed by how the simple components and rules of Forks make a great two-player experience that I'll be slipping into a bag or a pocket for train journeys and holidays in the future. It may not look like much, but it's absolutely worth checking out when the Kickstarter goes live.

You Might Like...
  • Forks has simple gameplay and takes moments to teach.
  • Every choice is impactful, affecting not just yourself but everyone's fortune.
  • Forks is a game for social gamers who want to outwit each other. If you enjoy games like Skull or Cockroach Poker then you should check it out.
You Might Not Like...
  • There's little variation to the gameplay so things might get a bit stale.
  • It can be very hard to predict how the cards will fall in the early game and winning can sometimes feel a little out of your control.

The Verdict
Forks is a super little card game that gave us a very intense two-player experience. It's all about hand management and market  manipulation to try and control your destiny. It's thinky and interactive in a way that's really interactive, with just a simple couple of mechanisms that really work.

Forks was a prototype kindly provided to us by Mark Stockton-Pitt. It comes to Kickstarter on 14th May 2019.

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