WBG Score: 7.5
Player Count: 1-8
Published by: Camden Games
Pear Shaped is from Camden Games who launched at the 2022 UK Games Expo. They seem to have one single remit to the games they make and publish. Fun. Not a bad way to run a business. Let's take a look at one of their first releases, Pear Shaped. Which (spoiler alert) is anything but. Anything but Pear Shaped I mean. It is a lot of fun! Let's get it to the table, and see how it plays.
OK, lets have some fun! Take the pear out of the box and twist it open. Inside you will find the cards. That's a good start. There is also a QR code to scan for the rules if you want a reminder. But its all very simple, and why not just head here next time instead?!
Shuffle the deck and deal everyone 12 cards in a two player with six in your hand, the rest in a stack face down in front of each player. 15 in a three or four player with five in hand, 12 in a five or six player with four in hand, and nine cards in a seven to eight player with three in hand. Place the remaining cards in a face down pile in the middle of the table. You are now ready to play!
How to Play
Ready to play, lets go! One player will start the Pear wobbling by flicking, spinning, or tilting it, however they please. You can do a big wobble for a longer game, or a little flick for a shorter one. It's up to you. And silly fun either way!
That same player will take one card from their draw pile and place it face up in the middle of the table for all to see as the starting card. The game then begins in real-time with all players playing at once. If you have a matching card in your hand, you can play it on top of the card in the middle. All players are using the same pile and playing at the same time. When you play a card from your hand, immediately replace it with one from your own face down stack so you always have the same number of cards in your hand, until your face down stack is depleted.
As you play a card, you must say out loud what the match is before you lay it. Matches can be made in one of three ways. Either the colour of the card. The type of symbol on the card. Or the number of symbols on the card. Above you can see the two potions match the two skittles. Then the potions match. Next the potions, numbers of potions, and colour all match. This is called Pear Shaped, more on that later. Finally the colour matches.
You cannot copy the previous match. For example, if the previous card played was a green card on top of another green card, the next card must match the symbols of number of symbols. Not the colour. If anyone ever makes a mistake with this rule they must take the wrong card back and play continues.
However, you can match a card if everything is the same as shown above. The same colour, the same symbols, and the same number of symbols. But, when you do this, you must say "Pear Shaped." When someone does this, and says the magic words, all players can then try and grab the pear. Whomever does this can then shuffle the play pile and distribute them to all other players. That player then restarts the game.
When the Pear stops moving all players must point at the Pear and stand up and do the "Doing the Shakes Pear" dance. The last player to do this has to collect all the cards in the current play pile and add them to their deck. If anyone ever points and does the dance when the pear is still rocking, (and the final shakes are small and subtle) they then must take the play pile as punishment.
The winner is the player to get rid of all their cards first and then grab the Pear and do the "Do the Shakes Pear" dance. But everyone else get's to watch this. So really, everyone is a winner.
Is it Fun
Yes! In a word, this is great fun. Ok, that's two words. But I get flustered in real-time games. Which really is this games only down side. If you don't like the pressure of simultaneous real-time games, this may not be for you. But if you can embrace the chaos, and enjoy this type of game, Pear Shaped will be a sure fire hit for your family. (Or drunken group! WBG does not endorse drinking to excess).
As such, I have enjoyed this game equally with adults and children alike, although both game situations were VERY different! In truth, my daughter who is seven (at the time of writing) does find this game a little stressful. It can be quite frantic. So, it certainly is not for everyone. I myself find it can be a little too chaotic at times. But I find that quite funny when I am falling behind, collecting more and more cards, and ultimately loosing. It is amusing to me. But I get how that does not work for everyone.
The game does have more simplified rules to make it work for younger players. You simply remove the punishment for being the last player to point at the pear when it stops moving. However, this does also remove a large part of what make this game fun. It then becomes a card matching game, with the only pressure being how fast you can play against other players. And I find most of the time one person, whoever happens to be quickest at this, will win most games. The distraction of having to look at the Pear and spot when it stops moving is a real leveller. It means you cannot ever fully focus on just the cards. It allows slower players to have a chance against faster players. And the more "Do the Shakes Pear" dances the better, right?
There is no getting away from the fact that this game is a bit of a novelty. It comes in a Pear shaped container. But that doesn't mean it isn't good. And it is. Pear Shaped is a lot of fun. It blends real-time matching with the suspense of a random countdown in the shape of the wobbly pear stopping, which combines to create laughter. You cannot take it too seriously, but you certainly can make a lot of memories with your family and friends with this little game. And for that reason, I will always cherish and enjoy this game.