Publisher: Button Shy
Game Designer: Mitchell Shipman
Playing Time: 10-20 minutes
Suggested Retail Price: $12
It’s party time!
Button Shy is at it again with another round of three pocket games to start the New Year on Kickstarter. One of those games is Find Your Seats which puts you in the role of party planner, a much-maligned and rarely appreciated job. That is, of course, until you need someone to plan your party because you realize it’s a tough job.
A different kind of pocket planner
In Find Your Seats, 3-4 players draft cards representing dinner guests and optimize their placement to score the most points per round. During setup, each player receives four cards, which leaves two cards unused during a four player game.
Players draft a card from their starting hand before passing them on, first to the left on rounds one and three and to the right in round two. After the draft phase, each player should again have four cards in their hand and hopefully the right mix of guests to score well.
Your table seats just three guests, so you will not place one of your guests. The goal is to seat guests and match conversation icons listed on the top left each guest’s card, along with their age group. All guests, save for one, have a special ability or requirement that can affect other guests at the table and the round’s scoring. Add to that, seating locations do matter, so you’ll have a couple of decision angles to weigh when drafting your cards.
For example, the pastor and metalhead turn the other’s card face-down, making them ineligible for scoring, if either is seated at the same table first. The flirt doubles her point value if she’s sitting next to an old age male, but conversely, the old age man cannot hear a guest sitting to his left. Apparently he ran out the door before getting a new battery for his hearing aid. So whatever you do, don’t put her to his left!
Once all players have four cards drafted, players begin seating the guests at their tables. If you’ve thought ahead during the drafting phase, you should have a good idea of how and where you’ll want to seat your guests. However, don’t be too hasty here! Make sure you read and abide by any requirements or special abilities your guests may have to maximize your point potential and also watch what your opponents on either side of you play.
Guests placed on either side of you by your opponents also helps or hinders your score and vice-versa. So you’ll want to match up your side guests to one of their guests to gain more points. Overlooking this is common in your first play or two and can sometimes not be helped if opponents to either side of you place their middle guest first. But it can hurt them as much as you if they do that, so there’s a bit of co-opetition going on here, adding another neat layer of strategy.
This is where some of those special abilities can alter a potential mess for you, or put a little take that into the mix against an opponent. The illusionist and assassin can make a big difference here, for example. The illusionist can swap two guests and the assassin can flip a character card face-down. While this may seem counter-productive in cutting yourself out of points it also limits an opponent from scoring from your table.
During scoring, players are matched up with their immediate neighbor, including the side guests from tables on either side of you. One point is scored for every matching conversation icon, age, along with any bonuses from special abilities. Guests that are turned face-down do not score and in turn, this causes guests on either side of them to not score extra points either.
Whichever player wins two rounds in this manner, wins the game!
Take a seat and stay a while?
Once again Button Shy brings us another solid wallet game full of fun in just 18 cards. I really like this model and continue to be impressed with the clever designs created in this line.
Find Your Seats is no exception and scratches the itch for me when I’m looking for a quick drafting game, one of my favorite mechanics. This isn’t brain burny at all, but does make you think about who you’re going to draft. That decision making carries over to the placement phase, where you’ll need to watch what your neighbors do. Here, you can score even more points or keep an opponent from scoring extra points.
This is a very quick game that’s easy to teach and plays in about 10 minutes on average. The art is very well done and the card layout easily shows you all of the information you need. This one is a great way to end things after a long night of gaming.
If you’re a fan of drafting games and are looking for a quick and clever filler, you can’t go wrong with Find Your Seats!
Company Website: http://buttonshygames.com/
Company Twitter: https://twitter.com/buttonshy
Note: A prototype of this game was provided to me for this preview.