Blue Cocker games are mainly known for the hugely successful Welcome To series of flip and write games which I featured here in this article about games great for playing over video call. If you haven’t tried these games yet, I would highly recommend them! Welcome to is great in most scenarios; solo, video call or large groups. It is brilliant fun to play and is the example I always use for the perfect scale game. It works just as well in any player count, one to one hundred!
There is a great catalogue of other games published by Blue Cocker and I wanted to cast my eyes them all and list my top three games. Blue Cocker looks for games with a high “natural gameplay”, which I would say is heavily present in all the games of theirs that I have played.
So, without further ado, here is my top three Blue Cocker games!
2-4 Players. Officially 10 years and up but worked for me with my eight-year-old.
Save The Meeples is an intriguing game. First up, it looks quite different to many other games you may have seen or played before. It quickly fills a table of medium size, but there is no board. The mix of trains, tracks, rocket ships and 3D landscapes are both enticing and stunning to look at. All set up, this game will certainly draw people in! As it did for me when I first saw this at Essen 2019, where crowds of people gathered to see what was going on. Based on looks alone, I was left very excited to play this game.
Secondly, despite there being no main central board, this game is predominantly a worker placement game. There are very few games that utilise worker placement as its core mechanism when there is no main shared board present to facilitate this. In Save The Meeples, there are four mini boards where you can place your workers for certain actions, but it doesn’t feel like four boards. More like four destinations. The separation of the boards into four different physically locations on the table adds to this.
To get to these destinations, the Meeples are placed onto trains in an action queue mechanic. Setting up the order in which the actions can be implemented at each location. This mix of action queue and separate location-based boards makes the entire process feel much more like an immersive experience over a process of game turns. The addition of a ‘journey’ to get your Meeples to their place of action, over simply placing them down on a space on a board, pulls you into the world this game sets out to create. It sounds simple, but it really does work thematically.
And finally, this game feels intriguing from the unique perspective the game presents. You are playing as Meeples. Not with Meeples, but AS Meeples. Trying to escape the torment that us humans have put on them in various games over time! The Meeples have been enslaved by the human race in order to facilitate certain actions in games, and they are fed up! Do you feel suitable guilty!? You should! The Meeples want to return to their home planet and the freedom this will bring them. This meta idea alone is fascinating to me. I was instantaneously and whole-heartedly drawn into this world. The humans immerging from the forest quickly become the ‘baddies,’ and my escape route on the rockets was ‘my’ dream. It’s a captivating, original and most importantly, highly immersive theme.
In the game, you are working towards two potential end game scenarios. Either the humans over run you and your fellow Meeples meaning you will score points based on the number of humans you were able to defeat and capture during the game. Or you will escape to your home planet launching a certain number of rocket ships triggering the end of the game, and the winner is determined by the amount of Meeples you managed to get onto the rockets.
In both scenarios, the point gained from the other facet become worthless. As in, if the number of rockets triggers the end of the game, the humans captured become worthless. Likewise, if the humans overrun the forest ending the game that way, then the Meeples that escaped become worthless. This is another intriguing part of the game where you need to watch your opponent’s moves and try and judge which end game scenario they are favouring and working towards. There is no point capturing more humans if your opponent is about to end the game by launching the final rocket.
Every part of the game is cleverly inter-connected. The mechanisms of each location are all intrinsically linked in a way that adds both to the theme and fun on offer. In order to build the rocket, you of course need to build it first. To build it you need the parts. In order to get the parts you need to visit the mine. But once the Rocket is built, it still needs to be launched and of course, for you to benefit, have your crew onboard. It feels very intuitive to play, as you puzzle out the best order and manner to get your Meeples to work for you. Deciding what to do, in which order to do it, all the time whilst watching what your opponents is a very enjoyable process.
In an ironic twist of fate against the games theme, the Meeples essentially are involved in “one last job,” working for the human overlords (you!) to get away from the humans looking to play with them! If this paradox hasn’t blown your mind, then you are going to have a lot of fun!
I would highly recommend this game to anyone who enjoys worker placement games and is looking for something a little lighter and more family friendly than many other worker placement games on the market. The games offers a theme that doesn’t take itself too seriously yet offers an immersive experience. As much as this is a mid-weight game in terms of the rules and set-up, (which does take a while) the game itself is relatively straight forward, as most worker placement games are. But it pulls you in and you will be surprised at how invested you are, quickly doing all you can to defeat those pesky humans!
2-4 Players. Officially 8 years and up but worked for me with my five-year-old.
Continuing the theme of pesky humans, ARGH, which stands for “Animals Revolt aGainst Humans,” is a hilarious family friendly card game, pitting animals up against their human overlords! ARGH can be set-up, learnt and taught within minutes. It offers a fast, fun and quite unique game experience suitable for younger children and adults alike. And if your family is anything like mine, will lead to a lot of laughter, screams and most pleasingly, pleas of “Can we play one more time please?”
The game is simple. You play as revolting animals. In that they are fighting against the status quo, not unappealing! Having been held captive in laboratories, you join forces with a lab rat looking to blow up the human’s domain! Set-up is simple. There are three decks, easily identified from the colour on the reverse of each card. Shuffle each one and lay them out face down. Players then take it in turns to take a card to add to their collection or offer to another player. Keep the card and place it face down in front of you. But face down cards are always open to be stolen by other players!
Cards offer either positive or negative effects. This is why you wouldn’t necessarily want to keep every card you draw or indeed, are offered by another player! When you offer a card to another player, they must chose to keep or return it without looking at it first. If they return the card, you can then keep the card face up, meaning it cannot ever be stollen. If they look at it, they must then keep it, again, face up.
And herein lies the genius of the game. Why would you offer someone a good card? Well, in the hope they think it is a bad one and reject the offer. You now get to keep it face up and protected for the remainder of the game. But this choice is not simple for the person you offer the card too. What if it is a bad card? Maybe they think you are trying to get rid of it and don’t want to take the risk of accepting the offer. “Why is this person smiling at me as they hand me a card? Why am I now smiling? Why are we both now hysterically laughing? Nothing has happened!!”
The game very quickly becomes all about the hilarious interactions between players. Stare outs. Fits of giggles. Bluffs, double bluffs and triples bluffs! The game brings so much to the table from so little components, words or rules.
In order to win the game, you simply need to have two bomb cards face up in front of you or in your possession come the end of the game if this doesn’t happen. The end game is triggered when one of the piles runs out, but we play when all the piles are gone to make it longer as we are always having so much fun! Each pile starts with one bomb card in it, but before the games begins, one random card is blindly removed from each pile. So, it may be you are all chasing bombs that are not there! As such, if none of the players manages to get hold of two bomb cards, the winner is determined by the points acquired by the other cards in their possession.
Any face down card can be stolen by other players. On their turn, players can choose to take a card from the central draw piles or other players face down cards. But of course, they may not be good cards. They may have been looked at and placed there as a bluff too. The bluffs don’t only come in what is offered to you, but in what is never offered to anyone!
This works just as well with adults as a late-night filler. It may be met with scepticism to start with due to the simple nature of the rules and cartoonish style of art, but once you get playing, you realise there is a whole sub game of bluffing and tricking your friends akin to many other popular party games.
This is great fun family card game and an entertaining and hilarious adult party game all in one!