Go Fish? Go on!
At first glance, this game appears to be a beefed up version of the card game Go Fish. But, in fact, this game has significantly more depth, and combines a physicality and some interesting strategy to up the interactivity in this game.
There is an element of memory that is combined here with a pick-up-sticks type approach to determine which cards are available to fish for that round.
During the game, you have a hand made up of Rod’n’Reel cards and Bait cards. These each have a value printed on them, some of them also have special abilities. For the Rods, the value represents their speed, and the player with the highest speed rod gets to try and catch their fish first. Going first can be a great advantage if you spy a fish available that you want, however, there can also be advantages to holding back and going lower down in the pecking order if nothing you want is yet available.
The Bait cards are similar, these represent how big the fish you can catch is, so if your bait adds up to 5, then you could go for a 1-3 card and know you will be able to land it, or a 3-6 fish and not know if you will leave with nothing if the fish is a 6. So there is an element of gambling there along with the strategy and the luck aspects. Interestingly, the only fish available to “catch” are those not overlapped by any other cards in the sea. So the perfect card may not always be available to you.
Within the box there are a number of different basic and advanced modes which help to ramp the difficulty up for all the family. There are additional fish which offer immediate and end game scoring effects. These add to the player interaction as some of them allow you to mix up the sea and reshuffle the cards. Even though this has to be done with your eyes shut, there can be a lot of strategy to playing this at the right time. This adds replayability and difficulty scaling, although with a few plays, it is possible to almost fish card count, this isn’t something that we found anyone to see much benefit in doing. There was a bit of luck in what you flipped over from the sea.
I’m not convinced of the scaling of this game, I felt the two player game was a touch flat compared to playing at it’s full complement of six players. The bidding round is much more exciting when there is more going on and you are trying to guess what multiple players are going to play down. When playing with all the modular expansions and six players, the game does take a touch over 30 minutes to play, but there is a lot of excitement and shouting so there doesn’t feel like there is any downtime. I think the bidding style rod and bait playing is strategic and perhaps that may be lost on younger players but I don’t see this as a negative. Gives the game more mileage and more room to grow as the child does. As a family game, this is a great addition to any collection. The only gripe I have is with the name “loser fish” and it being a fish with glasses. Hard no on that, but I understand that Devir has made changes to this already to rectify this oversight.
If you enjoy simple family card games, and like a lot of player interaction but not in the aggressive Exploding Kittens or Munchkin type way then this might just be the game for you.
Thank you to Kosmos for the provision of this review copy. All opinions remain my own, I was not paid for this content.