WBG Score: 7
Player Count: 2-6
Published by: Homegrown Love
Designed by: Homegrown Love
I am always on the look out for independent designers doing great things. When I saw the art on the cards for One Fowl Swoop from Etsy seller Homegrown Love, I was keen to try this game myself and give it some of its own homegrown love. The game itself is a simple twist on a classic card game, but dressed up to the nines with beautiful art from Elizabeth Shaw. But does this game live up to its fine looks? Let's get it to the table and find out.
Split the deck into the two types. Most are the regular bird cards but there are also the Forgotten Flock cards, which have a different colour frame. Shuffle both decks separately and then deal 20 of the regular cards to each player. The rules suggest to lay them all out on the table and let each player take 20 cards but I found this to be unnecessary and slowed the start down. Each player then places four cards face down in front of them, without looking. They can then arrange the remaining 16 cards in their hand however they please, and must place four face up over the four face down cards. You are now ready to play. If you want to include the Forgotten Flock cards, simply deal two of these to each player, replacing two regular cards so that each player still has 20 cards in total.
How To Play
Starting with the youngest player, players will now take it in turns to play one card, face up into the central discard pile. The idea of the game is to get rid of your cards. As such, if you have more than one of any number, you can lay all the cards down at once. If you ever lay cards so there are four of the same cards now in a row in the deck, you can "burn" the pack. This means you can remove all the cards from the pack, and then have another turn.
You have to lay a card lower than the current face up card. If you are ever in a situation where you cannot do that because you only have higher cards in your hand, this is when you may want to play one of your Forgotten Flock cards. Otherwise, you will have to pick up the entire pack and add it to your hand.
The Forgotten Flock cards offer opportunities to force the next player to miss their turn, draw extra cards, or even offer you a second turn yourself. Any time a player is laying on top of one of these cards, the pack is considered reset and you can place whatever you choose on top.
Once all the cards from your hand are played you can then start to use the four face up cards in front of you. When these are successfully in play, you are then into the final stages. Cards must now be played blind from one of the four face down cards. If the card you play is legal, great! Onto the next player. But if it is not, then you must pick up the deck along with the card you just played, get through these, and then go back to your remaining face down cards.
As soon as someone plays their final card, they are declared the winner of that round. Any cards remaining in the other players hands are totalled and tallied as their running minus score. The game continues until someone has inadvertently reached 500 points, at which point the player with the lowest score is the overall winner.
Of course, you could just play one round, or best of three, or however you like really. Or, like me, just stop and admire the stunning card art. The final rule in the game is the Swoop cards. Any card like below, with the S symbol instead of a numerical value, can be played onto any other card to burn the deck.
Is It Fun?
One Fowl Swoop is a endearing game, that looks stunning, plays quickly, and offers a lot of fun for a family card game experience. It does not bring anything new to the table in terms of mechanics or game play, but what it does bring is a lot of charm and elegance. I have a lot of games in my collection. Many of which would be considered "better" than this game. But I have fond myself reaching for this small box a lot over the last few weeks. There are times, (many recently I have found), when I want something simple, light, and fun. Something that requires zero explanation but still brings a smile to the face of my loved ones around the table. One Fowl Swoop does this.
If you don't currently own any of the variations of this game, then I would urge you to check this one out. Why not support a small independent designer who is clearly putting a lot of themselves into their work. I hope the people behind this game get the encouragement and motivation to keep making games, and I look forward to seeing what they bring out next.