I’ve never tried calimari. In fact, I’m really not that into seafood. Boardwalk popcorn shrimp at Red Lobster is pretty well the extent of my oceanic cravings.
Now, why am I talking about calimari and seafood? Because my Friday F.O.M.O. pick for Kickstarter campaigns ending in the next week is Tentacle Town from Monster Fight Club.
Right off the bat, the campaign highlights that Tentacle Town is great for gamers of all ages and has a 45-60 minute play time. I am always on the lookout for light-weight family games, especially ones that utilize game mechanisms that are used in some of my favorite heavier-weight games — thus, making these a great stepping stone for younger kids.
The first mechanism that stands out is worker placement (one of my favorites!). On every turn, a player takes a resident and places them in one of the three areas on the board — Market, Docks, or Foundry. Note: these are not your personal workers, but residents of the town that can impact any player in the future. Where you place this resident dictates where you can then place one of your buildings (yes, your building, not a communal building) and/or which task(s) you can perform.
Combo’s! Another one of my favorite game elements is the ability to create combo chain turns. While Tentacle Town doesn’t really promote that element of the game, I believe that is definitely a possibility. Every area has two tasks available and every game there will be three additional tasks that can be performed from any location. Some of these tasks become more valuable and/or more ‘usable’ as that area grows in residents or your personal buildings. Furthermore, on every turn, you can pay one gold to have your worker put in overtime –> i.e. do another task. So, not only can you accomplish much on a turn by focusing heavy on a particular district and reaping larger rewards, if you manage to generate gold on a turn, you can lengthen your play by giving yourself more actions that can be performed.
Variability of setup. The main board will look the same every time you get Tentacle Town out to play, with the exception of building slot availability, dependent on player count. But, there are 12 task cards provided in the base game…of which only three come out each session. Thus, the tasks you can perform during the game can have a significant impact on the strategy you implement for victory. I believe there have been 10 new task cards unlocked via stretch goals, which helps create a ton of replayability for Tentacle Town (over 1,500 combinations).
The game also has an area control element. Normally, that’s not a mechanism that I tend to enjoy in games. In Tentacle Town, the end-game scoring includes getting points for control of each district. The player(s) with the most buildings in that district will get fame [points] based on the number of residents in that district. So, control definitely matters. But it connects well to the Thematic element of the game –> the tentacles!!
On every turn, dice will be rolled to see what the Tentacles in that area do — kill a resident, scare a resident, destroy a building, invite a new tentacle to show up… When the tentacle destroys buildings, you get to pick which building in the area closest to the water gets annihilated. Now, it makes sense to just pick an opposing building to help you gain area control. BUT…do that realizing you could be giving fame and food to that opponent. If they defend the attack with a harpoon and are successful, not only does the building not disappear, but they get the benefits of a well-performed defense. I love how that decision gets transformed from an obvious take-that move into a strategic, thoughtful part of the game.
Now, beyond just the mechanisms of the game — which are some very enjoyable game elements that appear to be instituted into Tentacle Town in a light and easy-to-understand manner — the theme of the game is just simply FUN!
You are competing to become the new mayor of the town and you will achieve that goal by becoming famous…which you will accomplish through successfully building up the town, performing useful tasks, and of course…destroying them huge green tentacles that keep trying to vaporize the place!!
From my vantage point, Tentacle Town looks like a great mixture of silly fun with interesting gameplay and the potential for strategic decision-making….which in theory should create a nice blend for family members of all ages to enjoy together at the table.
What are your thoughts on Tentacle Town? Will you be backing this campaign? Any other titles on your wish list right now?