Find 12 Farting Donkeys!
I never expected to be talking about a game that lacked meeples, elves, and lasers, but here we are. I recently received Pictureka, a new game from Parker Bros., as a gift. It may seem like a gift a senile grandmother who vaguely knew of my hobbies would send me, but I had actually requested it. I saw it at the FLGS, and I thought it looked really interesting.
The first thing that caught my eye was the art. Honestly, that is really the whole game. There are nine tiles, double sided, covered in quirky white, black, and red pictures on a blue background. You assemble the tiles into a 3×3 grid and draw one of three card types. These determine the type of challenge, which all boil down to “Find X of Y.” There are three variants: Personal, Everyone, and Bid.
Every turn begins with the active player rolling a die of colors. On the green “Personal” challenges you then roll a D6 and the number you roll is the number of items the card reveals you must find in the time limit. On a blue challenge everyone searches the board together to find whatever is pictured on the card. These challenges can get bloody. The red challenges are a little more complicated. They are similar to the green, but instead of rolling a die the players “Bid.” The first player guesses how many they can find, and the bidding proceeds to the next player. Subsequent players either bid a higher number or drop from the bidding. The last standing must find that quantity in the time limit. We had to come up with the house rule that you lose points if you can’t complete that task because we found players would guess ludicrous amounts just to keep someone else from gaining a point.
Once a player is first to collect six cards, by keeping their completed challenge cards, the game is over. This makes the game end quickly, helping to avoid the problem of people having enough time to memorize the board. Another factor that keeps the game fresh is that some cards will have icons forcing you to rotate, swap, and even flip the tiles.
Pictureka is a great game to bring to mixed company. The rules are explained in only a few moments, the art is alluring, and it is really a game people have played since they were kids. A short play time means it doesn’t get in the way of other party events and does not have to fight for attention they way some other board games may have to. It is refreshing to see something new come out of one of the big publishers, and the price is not extravagant either. Definitely a buy.