English language edition of Auf die Palme
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from 6 customer reviews
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A fast-playing game which features subtle depth. Set against a backdrop of lush jungles and ancient stone ruins, mystical birds battle for advantage... for their place in the Pecking Order.
When I first saw that Pecking Order was by Richard Garfield and was a card game I couldn't help but hope that it was MTG in a non-collectable format. I love MTG, but hate how it tries (yes, I've put a stop to this) to take every penny from me several times a year with each new edition... new abilities... enough about MTG. Anyhow, I then wondered how they could capture all of that in one box. After all, part of the fun of MTG is the escalation and figuring out how new abilities can mix with old abilities to create the uber deck.
Well, forget about MTG... Pecking Order is nothing like it. And I'm glad. Trying to copy MTG with a game that only has 26 cards for both players combined would have been a recipe for disaster. I'd say Pecking Order has more in common with Stratego than anything else and yes, I like Stratego. The strategy? I'd say it's more of a bluffing or psychological game than anything. Very quick. Light. Simple rules. And most important of all... I enjoy it.
One of the things this game advertises itself as having is simple rules (no doubt) and deep strategy (not so sure about this one). The deep strategy is trying to pick off a high bird of your opponent with your non-point scoring jaguar or a comparable bird. But bigger than that it's about not falling into a rut. In playing this earlier in the week with my wife I found that I tended to occupy the lower spots and she the higher spots until the end of the game when I'd try to take the high spots away. I won the match, but it was close. In one instance I popped my Jaguar down on the 10 and she used the Vision Roof to see it and later pick it off with a 2. Actually that's an interesting aspect of the game... if I go last and you take the highest (10) perch with a low card like a 1 early in the round then I can save my 2 for the last drop and guarantee that I'll get the 10 perch as you can't REPLACE a bird on a perch with a higher (or lower) valued bird. In fact, that might not be a bad alternate rule... have a "swap bird" option in addition to a placement option (although something would have to be done with respect to the Vision Roof so that that still has teeth such as a perch is revealed in stead of a card).
The extra abilities are interesting although I found the average game involved each using the Vision Roof once as by that time we didn't have any cards we wanted to waste on a 3... and likewise I didn't find ties occuring often enough to really worry about the 1 (The Tiebreaker spot) unless it was available for me to put a low card on.
Ultimately, however this game is about psychology... I found myself sorting my cards each round and then realized that that was a give away as to what was being played where. I found myself playing similar numbers on similar spots each turn... not good. The depth is getting into the mind of your opponent and trying to accurately know what they are playing where. If your opponent isn't deep then the game won't be very deep. It's Stratego with cards... everyone gets only one of either piece... the board had a couple 'special abilities' to capture... and ties go to the attacker by default...
Now, I don't want to say that there aren't other strategies to the game such as the aforementioned scenario that would result in getting the 10 spot with my 2 bird. By I'm over psychoanalyzing this now
In summary, if you're looking for a light game that almost anyone will be able to grasp then this is a fine choice. I like it better than Lost Cities (I, too, fail to see the comparison with Lost Cities other than there being a board and some cards) and I think this will get some regular play. I also liked the durability of the rather thick, although small cards.
I read that first review and was a little skeptical. I really liek the look of the game so I bought it anyway. My wife and I found this to be an excellent game for 2 players (only). It's the perfect game to slot in there between longer games or if you have some time to kill before going out. We completely see the similarities between Pecking Order and Lost Cities (which is one of our favorite games). Pecking Order is a great companion to Lost Cities and we felt it was adequately priced. The components are excellent quality for an American game.
Happy Gamer in NH
I think it's hard to come up with a new game that has a good balance of skill and luck--I'd been looking for something that I would enjoy playing with someone else who is not necessarily a game geek.
The game is quite short and you can play it in less than an hour. I don't really think the duration of a game is a pro or a con--I like games that are engrossing but as a working person I don't always have enough time to play games that take several hours.
When we first played the game, we forgot the rule that hidden cards are turned over when someone challenges them and loses. This made the game a little more complicated and might be an alternate way to play.
One thing that helps with this game is that the scoring makes sense. I've encountered a lot of other games recently that are fun to play but that have scoring systems that make determining the winner a bit too complicated.
One possible negative is that part of this game is based on the honor system--it might not be the best to play with someone who tends to cheat. On the other hand, with only 13 cards on either side, it's probably easy to detect cheating.
The art is great, though I agree that the cards are a little thick to shuffle.