Publisher: HELVETIQ Coiledspring Games
Designer: Théo Rivière
Artist: Odile Sageat
Release date: 2020
Favouritefoe score: 8/10
*Set Collection * Family Fun* Card Drafting * Memory * Take That * Filler * Easy Rules *
Click Below for a 1 minute Rapid Review video of Tucano
Tucano is a colourful, quick game from HELVETIQ’s small box range. With fellow shelf buddies includes the likes of BANDIDO, BANDIDA, and KOMPROMAT, this colourful offering flew down to our table this week and drew us in.
But did we find it fruity fun? Read on to find out!
A set collection game where you are picking from different types of fruit, this game is full of juicy offerings. But, as in life, some aren’t so sweet. Rotten in fact! And if you’re not careful, you could end up with a pickled pineapple or pesky pomegranate that takes your fruit bowl from pointastic to pointless!
Not only that, as the game name suggests, there are also some cheeky toucans hiding amongst the trees. And these feathered friends can help you steal, gift, or even hide your own cards if you can grab them!
Setting Ourselves Up!
Set up is super simple. Shuffle the fruit cards, make two piles, add the toucan cards into one half, and use this to form the bottom half of the draw deck. The other half gets popped on top.Then lay out 3 columns in a 1-2-1 formation.
First player then gets to take a column, and those cards are laid face up in front of them. Once done, they add a new card to each column (so that there are always 3 from which to pick), and then it is the next player’s turn. Any new cards collected on subsequent turns are added to those in front of that player. The game ends when there is only 1 column remaining on the table, and whoever has collected the most points is the winner.
Cleverly, each fruit has a different scoring condition, and you need to consider these when deciding which column to pick. Most need a specific number of that type of fruit in order to score the number of points shown on the card. But, go too far, and some come back to bite you!
Believe me when I say those coconuts are solitary fellows! Any more than one and you are going to be wanting to lose those fibrous fruits! Conversely, a few (pesky pomegranate, I’m looking at you!) need you to have more of that type than your opponents if they are going to reward you with points (or enable you to avoid negative scoring). And this brings a sprinkling of think to the cards you are coveting.
Having the Toucans in the second half of the deck also gives pickers pause for thought, as does the single wild rainbow card. Stealing and giving cards away are usually fairly easy choices (although giving up a single card could be significant in terms of points!). But, whilst it might be nice to hide all of your cards from sticky fingered thieves, you then have to remember what you have. Because, by the time those Toucans start appearing, a lot of your sweet sets will be maturing nicely. So if you then add another lemon to the mix, you could end up feeling more bitter than sweet! This adds a surprising memory mechanic to the later stages of Tucano.
As the columns themselves build up, there are some interesting choices to be made. Do you take a big bunch of cards because there are some prime picks somewhere in the mix? Do you take the hits in order to combo up on the Toucan powers, or do you play safe? That wild rainbow card (which could alone mean the difference between positive and negative points) and 4 birds could more than cancel out those cruel coconuts after all!
Fast Fruity Fun
Overall, we found Tucano to be a quick, fun little filler game with sweet styling. Our Mini-meeple had no problem picking smart on the fruits, and getting him to work out the scoring was a bonus #gameschholing moment.
ShadowMeeple was a little sceptical initially (he is a self confessed box art tart and has a tendency to like mean games). But, with the toucans introducing a light tactical tussle (especially when played in cunning combo!), he was happily engaged for a few games in succession before going hunting for something meatier. Having brought it to the himself since our initial plays, however, suggests that he does indeed like this fruity little filler more than he lets on!
Like all the games in this HELVETIQ series, Tucano is also super portable, and I personally found it simply but enjoyably styled. I also liked the slender cards, although the shine did make for some wobbly looking columns as they grew. Granted, with repeat plays, you could end up make a beeline for your favourite fruits. But, this sameyness is mitigated by luck of the draw keeping columns fresh with a different mix of berries, birds, and bananas each flip of the deck.