Calvin’s Commentaries: ACORNISM

Few things are more gratifying as a board gamer than getting a new game to the table and being surprised by it – well as long as it’s a positive surprise.

A highly-hyped game – let’s say Wingspan as an example – may be found to be OK, but certainly far shy of what the online hype hinted it would be. The game never stood a chance of reaching the anticipated heights of the height.

Then a game such as Acornism comes along. It arrived in a pre-production plastic bag and inside was what was found to be a rather delightful little game.

The game, by designer Katori who does the cute art too, plays two to four but notes it is best with two, and that makes sense once you play.

Acornism is a tile-laying game.

The tiles are split with half being a hungry little critter seeking acorns and the other half being acorns.

Players are trying to surround other tiles orthogonally so the four surrounding tiles collectively match the number of the surrounded ones.

You score the animal when you successfully surround it.

You do blind draw tiles, up to a hand of four, but those are laid on the table in front of the player face up, so you know what your opponent has to play on their next turn. This is a huge positive element for Acornism as it allows you to at least make a good guess and what they may do, or equally importantly realize what they will not be able to do because they do not have the right tile. This edges the game closer to a ‘perfect information’ game, meaning luck feels less determinate here.

There is some definite ability to plan here, but with the tiles face up, an opponent can opt to foil those plans too.
That is great for a two-player game.

Add players to the mix and randomness increases because so much can happen between turns. That can work, but Acornism rates far higher as a rather quick, but surprisingly ‘thinky’ two-player.

This one hit the table with almost zero expectations, but Wow! It is a great little game.

Check it out at

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