Podcast #82: Welcome To My Viking Fungus

Everybody, pick up your pencils! No, you’re not having another stress dream about being back at school. We’ve just finally found a roll-n-write game that we absolutely love. It’s called Welcome To, and podcast #82 starts with an explanation of what it is, and why you should get excited for the release date in September. And that’s just the beginning of this… peculiarly positive cast. Paul and Quinns soon move on to the happy kitchens of Wok Star (3rd edition), there’s talk of the fun they had in Fungi, and of the surprisingly strong Champions of Midgard. There’s also some disappointment about Village Attacks, but it wouldn’t be a SU&SD podcast without some vigorous complaining, would it? Finally, the pair end with a particularly sticky reader mail. Has their taste in games changed with time? And if so, how?

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Review: Fungi

Good news, everyone! Supremely talented game reviewers and SU&SD contributors Philippa Warr and Chris Thursten are going to be working together on SU&SD reviews. Like butter and mushrooms, we’re sure you’ll all agree that this is a tasty combination and (probably?) not at all poisonous.

Pip: CHRIS! You know how I’ve always wanted to go mushrooming but was afraid I would kill us all by accident? Well, GOOD NEWS! With Fungi we can now do this from the safety of the living room table and no-one needs to die at all.

Chris: Nobody needs to die, but somebody needs to win. This is because mushrooming is an intensely passive-aggressive competitive exercise, obviously.

Pip: Only when someone decides to take all of the frying pans. Well, the joke’s on you this time because I brought my own frying pan which I found in the kitchen. There is literally nothing in the rules that says I can’t.

Chris: This is because everybody starts with a pan. One pan. On a card. You can sub in your (my, actually) real pan if you like, but that would be purely an act of roleplay. And this is no time for roleplay, Pip. This is time for passive-aggressive competitive mushroom maths.

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The woods are old-growth, dappled with sunlight. Delicious mushrooms beckon from every grove and hollow. Morels may be the most sought-after in these woods, but there are many tasty and valuable varieties awaiting the savvy collector. Bring a basket if you think it’s your lucky day. Forage at night and you will be all alone when you stumble upon a bonanza. If you’re hungry, put a pan on the fire and bask in the aroma of chanterelles as you sauté them in butter. Feeling mercantile? Sell porcini to local aficionados for information that will help you find what you seek deep in the forest.

Morels, a strategic card game for two players, uses two decks: a Day Deck (84 cards) that includes ten different types of mushrooms as well as baskets, cider, butter, pans, and moons, and a smaller Night Deck (8 cards) of mushrooms to be foraged by moonlight. Each mushroom card has two values: one for selling and one for cooking. Selling two or more like mushrooms grants foraging sticks that expand your options in the forest (that is, the running tableau of eight face-up cards on the table), enabling offensive or defensive plays that change with every game played. Cooking sets of three or more like mushrooms – sizzling in butter or cider if the set is large enough – earns points toward winning the game. With poisonous mushrooms wielding their wrath and a hand-size limit to manage, card selection is a tricky proposition at every turn.

Following each turn, one card from the forest moves into a decay pile that is available for only a short time. The Day Deck then refills the forest from the back, creating the effect of a walk in the woods in which some strategic morsels are collected, some are passed by, and others lay ahead.

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