Kenny G: Keepin’ It Saxy – Big G Creative – Review

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Did this game look ridiculous? Yes.  Did I REALLY want to play it? Yes

Kevin Billman

MeepleGamers

7/10

Publisher: Big G Creative


Designer: Prospero Hall


Artist: None listed


Game Type: Cooperative Game


Game Type: Hand Management


Initial Year of Release: 2019


Age Range: 12+


Expected Playtime: 30 minutes


Number of Players: 2-5

Kenny G: Keepin' It Saxy - Big G Creative - Review 1

Theme and What is it?


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9/10

Noted Saxophonist Kenny G is having a rough day.  Can you help him overcome whatever the day throws at him? No coffee? Broken reed? Double-booked? No Conditioner?!?!  Help him overcome obstacles throughout the week and keep his groove in Kenny G: Keepin’ it Saxy.

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Gameplay Mechanics


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6.5/10

Keepin it Saxy is a cooperative game for 2-5 (though can easily be played solo if you play multiple hands) designed by Prospero Hall and published by Big G Creative.  Play is straightforward. There are two sections to both Morning, Afternoon, and Evening. In each section you will face a number of events, determined by the player count.  Succeed at the event and you will earn a benefit. Any events you fail to complete before moving to the next section will force you to roll the groove dice. These are custom dice with faces of 0, 0, 1, 1, 2, 2 pips and for every pip that comes up, you lose a single Groove token.  Should you lose all the tokens, then Kenny G has lost his groove, and the game is lost.

The events are completed by playing cards down in the correct order for each event which, once completed create a short jazz lick to be read by the completing player.  To begin, each player is dealt four cards. Next, players draw events for the first section of the day. On a player’s turn they have three action points to spend by either playing a card to an event, playing a special ability card, trading a card with another player, or drawing two cards.  After each player has taken one turn, you move to the next space on the game board, rolling dice for any incomplete events, which stay in play until completed. If you make it through a full day and there are still Groove tokens left, then you win and the amount of remaining tokens determines your score.

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Initial Impressions


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Did this game look ridiculous? Yes.  Did I REALLY want to play it? Yes

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Game Build Quality


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8.5/10

The game comes with 1 Kenny G Mover, 1 Game Board, 16 Groove Tokens, 62 Sax Cards, 36 Event Cards, 3 Dice, and 1 First Player Marker.  The component quality is great. The tokens are thick and punched out clean. All the cards have a great look to them and have a good thickness.  You could forgive them had they turned out a cheap mass market game given the theme, but they clearly went above and beyond on the quality.

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Artistic Direction


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8/10

The colors are vibrant and the game really pops on the tabletop.  The graphic design also manages to somehow look like Kenny G sounds.  It’s inviting and flowing and it just fits.

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Age Range & Weight


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The box recommends ages 12+, but this game is super simple.  The gameplay is straightforward and the best choices are usually pretty obvious.  It’s also cooperative, so younger players can easily be helped along.

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Conclusions


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7/10

It would be easy to be dismissive of Kenny G: Keepin’ it Saxy: the theme is silly, and the gameplay is too simple.  I did enjoy the game, more than I had expected, but after a few plays I felt I had seen what it had to offer. However, that approach misses the mark because to put it simply, I am not the game’s target audience.  This is a game that will probably come to many homes as either a white elephant gift or simple curiosity. This is the kind of game that non hobby-gamers might pick up in passing. This is not a criticism. Maybe it serves as a jumping block to playing other kinds of games, maybe not, but Prospero Hall seem to know that that is the market space in which they are operating.  

From that perspective, I have to say that Keepin’ it Saxy is a success. Anybody who opens this box will be able to get up and running quickly and will have a few laughs as they work through the events. It would be easy to put on my snobby hobby gamer hat and look down at this game, but I just can’t. I see what they’re doing. I applaud what they’re doing. It’s no secret that mass market games have a history of being bad… but, if this becomes the standard for mass-market games, both in terms of component and design quality, it can only help the hobby in the long run.

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