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, 17 March 2020

A Relaxing Race:- Fast Sloths

Game: Fast Sloths

Publisher: Stronghold Games

Designer: Friedemann Friese

Year: 2019

Fast Sloths is a 2-5 player race game with a catch, you must win the race without having moved an inch by your own locomotion. Instead you must recruit the high-energy efforts of other animals to carry you to victory while you sloth about munching on leaves. There isn't a fixed race course, instead you are free to move about however you desire in order to collect 8 out of 9 leaves in your colour. You'll have to best recruit the varied abilities of the animals dotted around the resort if you want to be the 'fastest' sloth around!

Each turn you will draw a number of animal cards depending on how many leaves you have already collected (the more full you get the more slothful you feel about this whole 'race' thing). You then may play any number of one type of animal card from your hand. Exactly what the animals do vary wildly. The basic rules are that you can only move one animal of that type and they can move a number of spaces equal to the sum of the value of the cards you played. An animal may also pick up your sloth if they move within one hex of you and drop off your sloth either on their space or one of the surrounding hexes.


To use the eagle or the giraffe? The giraffe can pick you up and drop you from a distance, while the eagle is fast and can traverse any terrain. 

However life isn't so simple, not all the animals can traverse all the wildly different terrain on the map. Humans for example may be fast, but they stick to the paths. Orangutans only move through the hills and jungles, but their long arms let them lob you far further than they can walk to. You'll need to recruit dolphins or crocodiles if you want to cross rivers without using the bridges, but they move noticeably slower than the speedy, plains running rabbits! If you get truly stuck then recruiting a flying eagle might be your way out, but they require quite a few cards before they'll even consider helping you. Choosing how to place the animals at the start of the game lets you make a plan on how you'll move around the map, but the other sloths might use the animals you planned on utilising, messing up your cunning, lazy, plan!

This level of interaction is where Fast Sloths is at its best, unlike other race games all moveable pieces are moved by all players, so player interaction is at an all time high. Unfortunately at lower player count this interaction gets minimised and only really happens if you end up following the other players around or near the end of the game where all the animals have been moved about. At 2 players the game is more about creating an efficient route for yourself during setup and then best using that during the game.

A tree full of tasty leaves grows on the island, how best to get there? Perhaps the crocodile could help?

The art style is much to Fast Sloth's credit, with a bright colour-palette and chunky wooden tokens. The whole game has a 1970's cartoon feel which makes the game feel fun from the moment you open it up. Even the mechanics of the various animals is incredibly evocative (the humans run from resort to resort, the ants work in swarms etc). That's not even considering the base theme of the game which is sloths racing. Thematically it's just fun.

Fast Sloths is clearly a frantic racing game with a unique twist to its mechanics. The potential chaos of all these animals running around, passing sloths between them is not only fantastic in theory, but works well in practice too! Unfortunately the chaos reduces with player count, so I really can't recommend this as a two player game. It works, but becomes much more of a standard racing game, albeit with a slight twist. Since most of our gaming is two player I have to say that Fast Sloths won't be staying in our collection, but if you consistently play with 4 or even 5 people who want a hint of pick up and deliver added to their race game then Fast Sloths is a great choice!

6.5/10



Fast Sloths was a review copy provided by Asmodee UK. It is available at your friendly local game store for an RRP of £59.99 or can be picked up at http://www.365games.co.uk

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