Theme and What is it?
Yami Kawaii… This is a huge movement in Japan. It means for all intensive purposes, Sick-Cute. For your purposes, think Dark-Chibi.
Could Dark-Chibi (Yami Kawaii Stuffed Animals) lead to an interesting game dynamic? This is what Stuffed tries to accomplish. A dark dice chucker… What could go wrong?
8 dice each alike in dignity, in fair Philadelphia, is where we lay our scene. So, I ran into this dice chucker at PAX Unplugged, and was taken by surprise at the level of combo thought that the game makes out of rolling dice.
Boiled down, you roll the 8 dice, and use them to buy things, 3 of a kind to buy a gold, 4 of a kind to buy an advantage, or specific amount of different symbols and or gold to buy loyals, mercenaries, or specials.
That’s simple, truly. What gets interesting is how the cards interact once you have them. One care can allow you to do something else, which another card allows yet something else and so on. In the words of the creator, he was not even aware of all the combos that some of the people demo’ing the game found. This is not intended as a rebuke of Jesse, but rather as a smart design that leads to great replayability.
The cover of this game is sick. Like in a 1980’s surfer way. Stuffed animals in purgatory… you had me at purgatory…
There is something so visceral about the design choices this team made, that I know it had to mean something to them when I saw it. It made me want to open the box. And, open the box I did.
Game Build Quality
Heat transfer dice are all the rage for the popular kids in board game school. They look nice, roll nice, and allow for art to me made as a part of the dice.
The quality of Stuffed is great, and each piece of the game looks quite professional and well made. I was a fan before I knew I was a fan, and the game quality, surely helps me stay a fan.
I am a sucker for good art. I like humor in games as well. This game hits a homerun in the art direction, which oddly helps the humor aspect as well.
It is such a DARK idea, but the humor is exactly about how dark it is, with stuffed animals, the harbingers of smiles since time immemorial. Can you look at that stuffed giraffe and not smile, a little? If so, you may be a horrible human being, but who’s judging…? Jesse may very well be one of the next big names in board game artistry, with 17k instagram followers, someone else thinks so as well.
Jesse, your art is sick, in the most lovingly stuffed animal in purgatory way!
There is not something here that will make your dice hating friends love dice. We all have that one friend, who hates dice, no matter the implementation (you are reading this, and you know who you are, yes this is directed at you), and although this won’t make them love dice, it is a pretty cool game.
The concept of chucking, drafting, and drafting yet again, based on the original chuck, feels natural, and complete. Honestly, I am surprised by how much I like the feel of the turn system. It feels like you are accomplishing goals, with a well made plan, even though the dice may not cooperate at any given moment. I’d give the fun factor, two furry stuffed paws up.
Age Range & Weight
10+. I almost always add snark to the age range suggestion. As many games don’t seem to remember what it was like to be that age. Here my daughter loves this art, she is 6 at the time of writing, but the combo system is a bit complex.
I’d imagine that when she is 10, she would likely be quite proficient at beating me at combos. I think the age range is appropriate for this game, with little to no snark.
There are other dice chuckers that exist in the world, this much is true. A combination of stuffed animals in purgatory, is something new to me. I was an immediate fan when it was explained, and after having played it, there is nothing that has really changed that opinion.
I am a huge fanboy of this Jesse Labbe fellow, it also helps that when I spoke to him, he is just a really nice guy. This will make my perma-shelf, though I am not sure at which level as yet. I need a few more playthroughs to decide something so important, for now, it will be in game shelf limbo (that was a purgatory joke).