Ravenous River, Isaac Shalev

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When I read the description of this game I immediately thought of the logic puzzle about the chicken, fox and grain (and my favourite episode of The Office ‘Training Day’). In the past I’ve been pretty useless at logic puzzles so I thought this would be challenging. And if all else failed I could just enjoy the lovely animal illustrations by Felicia Cano!

As it turns out Ravenous River isn’t so much of a logic puzzle as a mini strategic bluffing game. In Ravenous River you choose (in secret) two ‘Totem’ Animals and find a way to get them into a position where they won’t be eaten by the other creatures. You need to ensure that your animal is not on the bank, the boat or ‘home’ with another animal that’s directly  above it on the predatory chain. You can discard action cards to place an animal or use the action card ability to move the animals or boats. It’s as simple as that and as tricky. In a short time frame you’re attempting to foresee all the outcomes, assess whose going to eat who, figure out your opponents Totems and bluff your own. If you can crack that last part then you might receive a VP for surviving, gain an additional VP for eating a creature and if it’s a creature whose already eaten you can nab that VP from your opponent too. If that makes sense? It will when you play it!

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For such a small stature game it’s very clever, with a lot to think about, and that embodies everything I love about small card games. It doesn’t come with a huge amount of cards or pieces (the rules are like ‘if you run out of wooden cubes use something else like Animal Crackers’- that’s the spirit!) but I mean wow this card game cost £7.50, I think that’s the cheapest game I’ve ever bought. A very decent price point for such a lovely smart little game!

I must admit I’ve not been much of a critic recently, but I’m pleased to say that I’ve been happily surprised by the last few games I’ve played. I’ve also been enjoying the uber popular 2013 eurogame Rokoko (even though I’ve lost every game I’ve played so far!) and I still need to play Neanderthal at least one more time before I can write up an accurate post. Thanks for reading! More Info