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Adam & Eva
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There's chaos in the Garden of Eden! The snake has done its work well. Eve is tempting Adam, Adam's tempting Eve... to pick lots and lots of apples! Who will get the most?
Time: 30 minutes
Ages: 10 and up
Weight: 291 grams
Language Requirements: This is an international edition or domestic edition of an imported item. Game components are language-independent. Manufacturer's rules are printed in multiple languages (including English).
- 4 trees
- 2 boards (with 4 rows numbered 1-8)
- 32 apples (numbered 1-8 in 4 colors)
- 32 playing cards:
- 28 cards numbered 3-9 in 4 colors
- 3 jokers
- 1 snake
- 1 start-the-game card
Average Rating: 2 in 1 review
Whenever I read negative reports on a new game that comes out, I always feel as if perhaps they may have been missing something; perhaps even though they didn’t like it, I will. I need to listen to these comments more often. This was the case when it came to Adam and Eva (Ravensburger, 2004 - Aaron Weissblum). The theme looked interesting, the game was certainly colorful, and it was a two-player game; something I thought my wife and I would enjoy.
Sadly, I just can’t find much good to say about the game. The theme is not only pasted on but is just incredibly off thematically. The mechanics are certainly not my style, as players play the card their opponents choose. This mechanic works tremendously well in San Marco, but in this game it falls flat. I’ve read that some folk enjoy the hidden intricacies of this game, but for me they simply remain hidden. I like colorful, fast games but not this one.
The game is supposedly about Adam and Eve tempting one another to pick fruit from different trees, collecting the most valuable apples. Each player is given a score board, showing eight rows of colored apples in numbered columns. At the bottom of each column is a numbered bonus (columns 1-3 have a +15 bonus, 4-6 have a +10 bonus, and 7-8 have a +5 bonus). Four tree tiles are placed in the middle of the table with a space between the two middle ones. Eight sets of small apple tiles (numbered 1-8 on one side) are placed face down, so that only their color (red, yellow, blue, and green) is showing. A deck of thirty-two cards is shuffled and six cards are dealt to each player with the remainder removed from the game temporarily. The deck is made up of four sets of seven cards - each in one of the four colors, numbered four through nine. There are also three wild cards, numbered two through four, and a snake card. Two apples of each color are drawn and placed on the same tree, so that each tree has two apples in one of the four colors. One player is given a start card, and the game is ready to commence.
In a round, the player who starts chooses one card from their hand and places it in the space between the trees. The other player then takes the card and plays it in on their side of the table in front of a tree with an apple of the matching color, OR they can allow the other player to place it in front of a tree with an apple of the matching color on their side. Wild cards can be placed in front of any tree. The snake card, used by either player, discards one of the cards their opponent has placed on the table. Play alternates between players until one player has six cards (or five if the snake has been played) on their side of the trees. When this happens, all remaining cards are given to the other player, who places them on their side where they see fit.
Each tree is then checked, to see who gets the apples on it. If there is any tree with cards on only one side, the player whose cards they are takes both apples, placing them on their board in the appropriate spot. Otherwise, the player who has the higher sum on their side takes the apple with the higher number, while the player with the lower sum takes the apples with the lower number. In case of a tie, the player whose highest card is lower than the opponent’s highest card takes the higher apple. Once all apples are claimed, eight more apples are placed on the trees; and all thirty-two cards are shuffled with six more dealt to each player. The next round begins until four rounds have been played.
After the fourth round, the players sum up their points, adding together the sum of all the apples they have collected. Players also score the bonuses in the columns if they have all four apples in that column. The player with the most points is the winner! (Ties are broken by the player with the most “1”s, or “2”s, etc.)
Some comments about the game...
1.) Components: The game is bright and colorful with four different apples colors and a nice scoring board to place apples that players have won on them. The apple tokens are quite small and sometimes hard to handle but do look good when placed in the trees. The cards are of medium quality with decent artwork and good design. Everything fits well in a custom plastic insert in a fairly small box. The game certainly looks good on the outside...
2.) Theme: I realize that in “German” games, the themes are often pasted onto the mechanics. I don’t mind that, as long as they make some kind of sense. But this one must be to some revisionist Bible, as I don’t recall Adam and Eve fighting over multi-colored apples. It makes no sense, and the fact that the serpent cancels an apple even less so. Now I could overlook all of this if the game play was excellent; but it wasn’t, so I could not ignore the fretful theme.
3.) Rules: The rulebook, which was in several languages, was fairly sparse in the six pages it took up. There were a few rules that were either unclear or not explained well. The scoring mechanism in ties for a tree, for example, made no sense to me; but it was only mentioned in passing. I didn’t have a problem teaching the game, but it just wasn’t very intuitive. A variant was included in the rules allowing players to have seven cards per round, playing only six of them. I would make this mandatory; it would add a smidgen of strategy to the game, and it needs all the help it can get.
4.) Divide: When I first read about the mechanic of choosing what to do with the card your opponent played, I was intrigued; as I loved the way this worked in games like San Marco. However, in practice, it simply wasn’t fun at all. Since only twelve cards from the deck are used in a round, you have no idea what cards your opponent has; so knowing what card to play when can get confusing. I’d rather play a game that lets me play a card I choose, thank you.
5.) Strategy: Of course, some are going to tell me that there are deep and varied strategies to the game. After several plays, I can sort of sense what they are; but I don’t feel like playing a game I’m not enjoying dozens of times just to see if there is some redeeming crumb of strategy in it. The game play comes across as vague.
6.) Fun Factor: If you like submitting to your opponent and allowing them to make your moves for you, then this is a lot of fun. If you, however, like me prefer to make your own choices in a game, then the fun factor is a bit flat.
Compared to games like Balloon Cup or Lost Cities, some will claim that the strategy is deeper and richer here. But frankly, if I have to search that hard to find it, then the game isn’t much fun. Give me those straight-forward Kosmos two-player games any day. Mr. Weissblum has produced some excellent games, but I don’t think this is one of them. There is probably an audience for this game - those who like to play with a lot of unknown factors and convoluted scoring. I’m just not in that audience.
“Real men play board games.”
Fans of good two-player games will appreciate this new solo effort by Aaron Weissblum. The game is original but still feels familiar, and employs an interesting card selection mechanism that players use to win apples for scoring. While the apples vary in value from one through eight, it is not always the highest value apple that is the juiciest.
Apples come in four colors, and each color gets its own tree. The game is played through four rounds, and in each round two apples from each color are available for picking. Apples are picked with cards, and each player begins with six from a deck of 32, numbered three through nine in each of the four apple colors. Three jokers plus the serpent (this is Adam and Eve, remember) round out the deck. Using a mechanic reminiscent of Pacal, on turn a player offers a card from their hand to the center of the table. The opposing player has the right to accept or reject the card. If they accept, they place the card on their side of the matching color tree (red cards go next to the red apple tree, for example). If they reject, the player who offered the card must place the card on their side of the same tree. Once all of the cards are played, the apples are distributed: the high-side total gets the higher-numbered apple on the tree, while the lower total takes the lower-numbered apple. If only one side of the tree has cards, that player gets both apples.
Each player also gets a board that shows all 32 apples in a grid; apples won are placed on the board for scoring purposes. Scoring is equal to the value of the apples, plus a bonus if all four apples of a given rank are collected. As you may expect, the bonuses for lower numbers are greater than for higher ones. Collecting all four 'three' apples, for example, will get you 12 points for the apples, plus a 15-point bonus. If in earlier rounds you have collected three of the 'three' apples, and the fourth 'three'' appears in a tree with the 'eight' in a later round, it likely will be in your interest to be the low man on that tree to secure the fourth 'three'. Of course, a wise opponent may play to ensure that you take the eight, effectively robbing you of 10 net points.
Interesting effects happen in the card play. In addition to the 'I offer, you choose' idea (San Marco, anyone?), each player will by design get exactly six cards to place on their side of the trees. This is forced by a rule that states whenever one player places their sixth card, all cards yet to be played are given to the other player who then places them on their side of the trees. By accepting offered cards and offering less tempting cards, you can lull your opponent into taking a few cards from your hand. Since they must place these, it can really mess up their strategy if they don't realize that this is happening. Or you can do the opposite in order to guarantee placement of a card in your hand to your own cause. The bonus targets give the game a bit of a Balloon Cup feel, since there are times you want to be low and times that you want to be high. Winning usually means getting one or two bonuses, or by getting three of most of the higher-numbered apples. This is a two-player game, so whenever each player each takes two of one rank apple, they net to zero.
The jokers and the serpent add some additional strategy. Jokers can be played on any tree, and they can be very useful especially when you are at risk of having no card against a specific tree. Remember, if only one player has cards, they get both apples. So if I want to take the low apple, I still need a card there and a joker may be just the thing to seal it. The serpent really changes things. When the serpent is offered, the opposing player can accept it, and then remove any previously-played card on their side of the trees. If they reject, you must remove a card you have previously played. In serpent rounds, each player ends with only five cards on their side, and as you'd expect, more double-apple awards are usually made. The deck is fully reshuffled between each round, so with only 12 of 32 cards in play it is difficult to judge the strength of each round. If I am initially offered the seven-red, and I have no red in my hand, I must assume that this may be the highest red available for this round and so best take it if I am aiming to win the high value red apple. Yet offensively, I am much more likely to offer the seven-red early if I also hold the red eight or nine.
The accept or reject decisions can be difficult, as each not only determines which cards you will play, but also determines who will get to six first and thus give the other the remaining cards. Balancing the value of the apples with the bonus opportunities is also interesting, especially when having to sacrifice points for the greater loss it gives your opponent. The rules offer a variant whereby each player gets seven cards instead of six, but the round still ends after just six cards each. This gives a bit more information about what cards are available in the round, and increases the chances for jokers and the serpent, but beyond this does not change the dynamics significantly. Adam and Eva plays quickly and has exactly the right weight of strategy for a competitive match that is still fun - good tempting fun!