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It's chaos in the kitchen and the cans of food are 'revolting'. Spoiled little peas think nothing of creaming the corn and stewed tomatoes relish dent-n-run tactics. Pull out the big guns with the Catsup Cannon! Chop, peel and squash your way to victory in this hilarious game of King of the Kabinet!
- 55 special playing cards
- 1 metal Hand of Fate
- EZ-Play multi-lingual rules
Average Rating: 5 in 3 reviews
So many things are different in this game that it's hard to describe why I like it so much. Playing your reserve cards with no idea what you have is kind of thrilling. The strategy is very intricate, because you don't know whether to sacrifice a flag or if you need to hang onto it hoping that you'll get more.
I won't go into all the details. I will simply say this, if you like trick-taking games you should try Tin Soldiers. I have yet to even try the game in teams (as is suggested in the rules), but I imagine this would add even more enjoyment to an already great game.
This game comes wonderfully packaged and allows gamers of all ages the ability to enjoy a simple entertaining game while imagining countless possibilities! The game play is challenging enough to keep adults interest while the characters are hilarious enough so as to keep the young ones thoroughly amused. Pass the Peas... SIR! Ready to Cream the Corn!
This game gets 5 stars on packaging and gadgets alone! It comes in a nice 'bandaid box' with good graphics. A 'fickle finger of fate' is included which is a nice metal finger shaped spinner to choose the first player. The rules state it may be used to indicate who's number one also! (Much more fun than rolling a die to choose whose first.) The card stock feels just a little flismy but the cards fit nicely in deck protector sleeves. The game itself is a nice trick taking game with a few variants thrown in like the catsup cannon!
Food fight! Try a basic trick-taking card game (follow suit, highest card in suit wins, trump conquers all) with lots of seasonings. There are four suits, each numbered zero to nine. You get a hand of nine cards, plus three cards (unseen by all) to hide in your "cabinet." On your turn, play either a card from your hand, a card from the cabinet, or a Catsup Cannon. The Catsup Cannon card eliminates a card of your choice from that trick. Irrespective of its number; each card shows from zero to four tin cans. When someone runs out of cards, the round is over, and everyone scores the number of tin cans found in their tricks. This is just a taste of what you'll find, so open a can and start cooking.
Several years ago while attending Alan Moon's Gathering of Friends, Al Newman taught me his prototype card game that he, at the time, called Toy Soldiers. I was blown away and thoroughly enjoyed the game. Al mentioned that he didn't really plan on pursuing getting the game published. The group that played it with him badgered him, pleading with him to seek a publisher. The game was that good and deserved to be in print.
Finally, that has occurred! R&R Games has released the game as Tin Soldiers, re-themed due to other copyright conflicts. The new theme involves food items engaged in a brutal 'food' fight. "When Good Food Goes Bad", as the tin can packaging declares. The artwork is quite good and clever and fits the theme nicely. In a clever marketing ploy, the game comes packaged in a small tin container, similar to a 'Band-Aid' container. Nice.
The game is essentially a trick-taking game, but with some clever twists and unique features. The deck contains four suits (tomatoes, peas, corn and beets), each with 10 cards valued 0-9. The cards also depict a number of tin cans, varying from 0-4, with the greater number being on the lower valued cards. In addition, there is 1 flag per suit, 5 'Catsup' cannons and one 'trump' card. Each player also has a pantry card wherein he keeps three cards in reserve.
I've only played the game with 4 players and in partnership, which is the method Al recommends. So, the rules and play I describe below are applicable to the partnership game.
The cards are mixed and each player is dealt three cards face-down, which are placed in their pantry. Players cannot look at these cards -- until, perhaps, later in the game. The remaining cards are dealt equally to each player. There will be one card remaining, which is set aside face-up and determines the 'trump' suit.
After players have received their cards, players then pass three cards to their partners. This 'passing of cards' is supposed to help give players a hint as to which cards their partner possesses. I must confess, however, that I'm usually not very adept at completely understanding the strategies to employ when doing this exchange. What I usually do is attempt to deplete my hands of one or more suits, passing my partner any cards that will accomplish this feat. In this manner, I will have a better opportunity to play a 'trump' card if I do not possess cards of the suit that is led. There are other tactics to employ in this passing of cards, but most of them escape me.
Play then proceeds as in a normal trick-taking game. One player leads a card and every other player must play a card of that suit, if possible. The only exception to this is that a player may play a 'catsup' cannon if he desires. I'll explain this card a bit later. Assuming all players play a card that matches the lead suit, the player who played the highest valued card will win the trick and take all of the cards -- usually. Again, I'll explain the exception later.
If a player cannot follow the lead suit, he is free to play any card he desires. If he plays a suit that is not the lead suit or the trump suit, he cannot win that trick. However, if one or more cards that match the trump suit are played, the highest valued 'trump suit' card will win the trick. Again, this is normal trick-taking stuff.
Now, for the twists and special cards:
- Catsup Cannons: A player may play one of the catsup cannons instead of following the lead suit. When he does this, he may remove one previously played card in that trick. Blows 'em away! The cannon and destroyed card are discarded. This can be extremely powerful and can dramatically alter the outcome of the trick.
- 'Trump' card: A player may play the one 'trump' card and take the one card that was set aside at the beginning of the turn (which determined the trump suit) into his hand. That card is replaced with the 'trump' card, which is turned the appropriate way to indicate the trump color.
- Spy: The '3' card in each suit is a spy. When a player wins a trick that contains a spy card, he may peek at the top card of his or an opponent's reserve pile (those cards in his pantry).
- Flags: These cards have no rank, but have a value that increases with each flag card taken during the entire hand, as follows:
- 1 Flag = 1 Point
- 2 Flags = 5 Points
- 3 Flags = 10 Points
- 4 Flags = 20 Points
- Generals: These are the '0' cards in each hand. Alone, they are not very powerful, losing to all other cards except a Flag. The only exception is if the Sergeant (the '9' value) of the same suit is played during a trick, then the General becomes the most powerful card in that suit and will win the trick -- unless a card of the trump suit was also played.
- Reserves: Instead of playing a card from your hand, you may instead take the top card in your pantry and play it to the trick. Unless you had previously glimpsed the card via the power of Spy card, you have no idea of the value of the card you will be playing. A bit of uncertainty, but it sure adds some tense moments to the game!
If a player wins a trick by using a reserve card, the pantry card is rotated one step higher. This will result in additional points at the end of the round. Winning 1 trick from the play of a pantry cards yields 5 points; winning 2 tricks yields 15 points, while winning 3 tricks yields a bounty of 30 points!
However, there is a significant scoring bonus for cards that remain in your reserve after a hand is complete. So, using them does entail some risk and the likely loss of points if you fail to win the trick with the card.
A round of play is complete when one person no longer has cards to play. At this point, each team gathers the cards they won in tricks as well as any cards remaining in their hands and tallies their points. Points are scored as follows:
- The total value of 'tin cans' depicted on the cards;
- The value of the flag cards collected, as listed above;
- The value showing on their pantry card (0, 5, 15, or 30);
- The value of the tin cans depicted on the cards remaining in their reserve -- doubled! This really makes you think twice about using the cards in your reserve.
The rules recommend playing a pre-set number of hands or to 100 points. Playing to 100 points should take 2-3 hands and usually only takes about 20-30 minutes.
As is evident, the game goes way beyond the norm in regards to trick-taking games. The additional features and twists make for an exciting, tense game with lots of decisions to be made. I've grown to become a big fan of the trick-taking genre, so Tin Soldiers has proven exciting and a welcome addition to my collection. In spite of its twists and additional features, however, it is, at its heart, a trick-taking game. So, if you are not fond of that genre, you probably won't enjoy this one, either. If you share my tastes, however, you will find this one quite the tasty morsel.
SWD: Greg showed us how to play this one when we were in Essen, when he also told us that the designer recommended that partners made two exchanges of cards at the start of each hand, rather than the one required in the printed rules. I think that this is a good idea, particularly if the two of you devise a simple signalling system by which the first set of cards you pass to your partner tells him which suit you are trying to void. The real business is then done with the second exchange. Without this it all becomes rather hit and miss, with Murphy's Law decreeing that if you give your partner your only two red cards, he will promptly give you two more to replace them.