Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Kosmos Two Player Series - Gone Fishing! by Michael Rieneck

In Gone Fishing!, one player represents two Anglers (fishermen) out for a day of sport and the other represents the Fish. Each player plays one round as the Anglers, working their way around a lake, and one round as the Fish, trying to avoid being caught. Players only score points when they're the Anglers, and the highest score after each have had a go is the winner.

The Anglers confront the lake

The board is a four by four grid on which sixteen Lake tiles are placed by the Fish player so that the other player can't see them. The tiles include ten fish in a number of values, worthless junk like a tire, hat and shoe, and a diver who is also worthless but never comes out of the lake when caught. Surrounding the lake are a bunch of piers from which the Anglers try to catch fish in the row or column where they are moved.

Once the tiles are set, the Angler player moves one of his Anglers clockwise any number of spaces. The Fish player must then reveal to him one tile in that row or column. Typically, you show the Angler a tile he can't catch or one of little value. To catch a tile (not necessarily the one revealed), the Angler now plays one of his twelve Catch tiles (three tiles each of values 1 to 4) representing a distance. If he plays a 2 value Catch tile, for example, he'd catch the tile two spaces away from his Angler. He keeps whatever he catches, unless it's the Diver, discards the Catch tile from the game, and then must move his Angler an additional number of spaces, equal to the Catch tile played. Since the Angler only moves his two Anglers once around the lake, he has to be careful to not move them around too quickly. The diminishing number of Catch tiles also starts to limit his options.

After the Angler catches a tile, the Fish player can then move three Lake tiles through empty spaces. This is key as it allows him to move fish out of danger and onto spaces the Angler can't reach with his remaining Catch tiles. Early on, there isn't much room to maneuver, but as the tiles start being caught, good tactical moves become possible and really important.

Finally, each player has a few special tiles they can play on their turn. The Angler has one tile that lets him peek at a Lake tile and one that prohibits the Fish player from moving tiles that turn. The Fish player has three special tiles, two tiles that move an Angler forward one pier, and a tile that lets him switch any two tiles.

After one player has played the Angler, the two players switch, and the other plays the Angler. At the end of that round, whoever caught the highest value of fish wins.

Bob's catch.

I started out as the Angler and did pretty well, catching 24 points of fish, including the large 6 point fish. Carol was only somewhat effective in moving them into positions I couldn't reach.

Second round from the fish's point of view

On Carol's turn as the Angler, I was much more effective at moving my fish out of the reach of her Anglers. She didn't catch the high value 6 point fish, but did catch a lot of small fry, scoring 17 points.

Carol's catch

I enjoyed Gone Fishing which is certainly lightweight, although there is some strategy involved. As the Angler, there's a memory element where you try to remember the revealed Lake tiles in order not to waste your Catch tiles. As the Fish, there are lots of tactical decisions as you try to limit the Angler's options.

Coming up:  We play Greek Gods in one of our favorites, Hera & Zeus.

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