Primordial Soup: Freshly Spiced
English language edition of Ursuppe: Frisch Abgeschmeckt
List Price: $24.99
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This expansion set allows you to play Primordial Soup with more players, and also contains new genes.
Average Rating: 4 in 1 review
Frisch Abgeschmeckt ('freshly spiced') is an expansion to Doris and Frank's wonderful Ursuppe, a game of the single-celled struggle for survival in the primordial soup.
This is really two expansions in one: first, it has all the amoebas and sundry parts you need to play Ursuppe with six players; and second, it contains 26 new genes giving your amoebas additional abilities. Most of the new genes have come from suggestions made by players on the Net. You can play with either or both expansions.
The spirit of the original Ursuppe is retained by Frisch Abgeschmeckt, which doesn't really add anything essential (unless your playing group usually numbers five or six); nonetheless this is a must-have for any Ursuppe fan.
Frisch Abgeschmeckt is an expansion. As such you need the original to play. This shouldn't be a problem as this game is great fun and should be in everybody's game collection. The idea of controlling your own amoeba is wonderful, the humour and artwork a joy, and the gameplay makes the two hour play time fly by. If you don't already own a copy, go and get one right away.
With such a ringing endorsement for the original this review of the supplement could go one of two ways. Either this new release takes the good ideas and expands positively upon them, or it ruins the game by messing with a winning formula. Fortunately in this case it is the former. The only moan I have is the price. This is very high when you see the size of the box, but it is packed with components. So what do you get for your money?
The expansion contains two major features: rules and pieces to open the game up to 5 or 6 players, and new gene cards useable with any number. For the extra players there are purple and black amoeba with associated food, extra cards for the original genes and slightly amended rules. Amongst these are the fact that the maximum number of amoeba per player is 6, meaning you only get 6 pieces in the new colours. (Disconcerting when you first open the box.). Each turn amoeba must eat 4 other colour food cubes and gain 11 BP to spend on genes and reproduction. Game time is not significantly extended, as long as you keep the selection time for new genes to a minimum, bearing in mind the increased choice.
The new genes have mostly been taken from players' suggestions with only minor tweaks. A large number of these appeared firstly on Steffan O'Sullivan's internet pages and the original inventor of each gene is credited. There is only one of each new gene, but with the increased selection no player should be faced with no cards they want come the time to spend those precious BPs. I heartily recommend including the new genes with any number of players, they are such fun. A few examples are
- More than a mouthful: attacks only cause a damage point instead of killing.
- Go out with a bang: dying amoeba damage all others in the same area.
- PhD: advanced intelligence, and still useless.
- Doris & Frank gene: the owner at game end decides what to play next.
If the price was slightly cheaper, I could recommend Ursuppe: Frisch Abgeschmeckt without hesitation. I consider it an essential purchase for fans of the basic game anyway, and there are quite a few of those. Excuse me now, I'm off to try a new genetic combination that will conquer the pool.