Game Designer: Val Teixeira
Artwork: Val Teixeira
Ages: 12 and up
Playing Time: 30-45 minutes
Suggested Retail Price: $30
Making Friends Count
Suit Up is a compact and fast playing, lite worker placement game headed to Kickstarter next Thursday and is the first from designer Val Texeira. The game mixes set collection, worker placement and variable player powers around a rondel mechanic, providing a clever, tight euro that will be a hit with fans of games like Lords of Waterdeep and Stone Age.
In this 30-45 minute game, 2-4 players will travel around the city gathering influence while building the most diverse and valuable set of friends possible to prove their social network the most prized of them all.
Hit the Streets
During setup, each location on the map is seeded randomly with different resource tokens and the scorecard is also randomized, so it is different every time. Each token denotes the varying resources and favor cards gained by visiting the location and as you make new friends, you can reap the benefits of having collected sets of that type of friend. The score card we’ll revisit a little later, once we’ve talked about the overall gameplay.
Players assume the role of one of several unique characters; each archetype having special abilities to assist you in resource gathering, making friends, or movement. On their turn, players will first play any favor cards they’ve gathered and then either move and collect resources or make a friend.
All movement is up to three open spaces, skipping over any locations another player is at with no penalty. So if someone is in a location two spaces ahead, you can ignore that spot and continue on to the next as your second of three total moves.
This allows you to delay other players, acting as a block but never denying anyone resources. While you may not get the optimal move and what you’re after, the dispersion of resources around the board assures that you will always be gaining something since resources are infinite and tracked on your player board. There’s no need to worry about resource hoarding in Suit Up because of that resource tracking, unlike in some other games and I really like that.
There are ways to combat someone being in a location you want to get to by way of favor cards. Favor cards are a single use effects that you play at the beginning of your turn, these can be used to do things like discarding two people cards from your hand or the row at the top of the board, swap resources on your player mat, move a player to a different spot or swap resource tokens from two different locations as some examples.
If someone is in a spot you need to get to and you have the right favor card, simply move them to another location or swap two location tokens to set yourself up for the resources you want. Never overlook picking up those favor cards in your travels.
Aside from movement and collection, the other action available to you is to make a friend. To make a new friend, you pay the necessary resources listed on the people card either in your hand or at the top row of the board. Cards in your hand cost 4 of each resource listed while at the top row of the board, it varies from either 4 or 3 as the cards slide across the row from left to right when they are moved and replaced.
Those favor cards really show their worth if you can discard people on the row, sliding high scoring cards over to one of the three resource spots to pick them up at a bargain. As I said earlier, never discount those favor cards, they allow you a lot of flexibility when you have the right ones.
Once a player makes their third friend, the location tokens flip over changing their values and payouts, with additional benefits for collected sets of friends. After any player makes their sixth friend, the game immediately ends and players go to the scoring phase.
The scoring phase is quite interesting because you may think you are walking away with the game by being the first to six friends but if you don’t mind the score card values along the way, making friends that capitalize on those bonuses, you could be sunk.
The first step in scoring is everyone getting one last chance to gather resources, use favor cards and make any number of friends they have the resources for. This makes paying attention to the game state important and pulling people cards into your hand that have high values while gathering resources to have a strong scoring phase when you see the end is nearing.
Remember that quality beats quantity. Having the most friends doesn’t make you the winner, having the highest values does!
Send a Friend Request?
If you’re a fan of lighter euro style worker placement gateway games like Lords of Waterdeep or Stone Age then Suit Up will be a perfect fit for you. The balanced play and interesting mix of mechanics makes for a quick moving game that plays very well with two or a full table of four and you get a lot of game in just 30-45 minutes.
Choices make the difference here not luck, you can’t think of only short term gains because being ready for that end game scoring phase is equally important in the last half of the game. I like how the scoring forces you to think ahead, being especially mindful of obtaining friends whose talents match the highest values on the score card the further along you go.
Knowing that this was a worker placement game I was amazed at how compact the game was without skimping on anything, making Suit Up a highly portable game that will just as easily go along in your school or travel bag as it will your game night bag of holding.
The art is minimalist and the palette vibrant, almost garish, but it is intended to be that way since it models the many smart devices in use across the world today. Given the theme is building a social network friends list, it works but I think it would be even better fitted with an alternate theme. One where you are a Silicon Valley manager or headhunter snatching up a stable of developers for your company. That is a theme in consideration and with backer input it could very well end up being just that.
The current configuration of the board and the rules allow for up to six players but I think with the size of the board and the flow of the game, going beyond four players might be pushing it. Suit Up already plays very well at 2-4 so going above that I feel might crowd the board and slow the game down somewhat. Given that one of the games charms is the speed at which it plays, anything to slow it down would just be a detractor in my opinion.
Suit Up is available for you to play right now on Tabletopia and I encourage you to use the opportunity to check out the game online. The project is set to launch this Thursday on Kickstarter and at $30 I think it’s a game well worth backing if you’re looking for a smart little euro with a small footprint.
Company Website: https://www.facebook.com/SuitUpGame/
Note: A preview copy of this game was provided to me.