My friends are hiding. Every year, it’s the same. They take me somewhere, disappear, and I have to look for them. Everyone is then doing faces at me and I have to know, if they are sad, happy or angry. I can collect their emotions to buy my way back to camp.
Such hard destiny awaits us. Although we will also seek emotions and colors, we do not have to go anywhere for it. Just take a small box with an inscription Find a Friend (Finde den Freund) from Logis publisher. Author of the game is Laima Kikutiene and it was published in Vilnius in 2012 with illustrations by Raminta Šumskyte Sum.
Blue box shows us colorful creatures – blue cow, yellow sheep, red hare and green piggy. Everyone has a little different expression, but it’s still a whole-hearted look. Another nice view arises, when we open a box and discover rules, along with 64 pieces of cards. They do not have classical rectangular shape, but instead taper upwardly. Each of them contains image of one digit, animal and the arrow towards one side. Colors and expressions are gradually changing with creatures and figures can offer values ranging from one to three.
At the start of every game, players earlier have to shuffle this motley colored package. But they will not receive any of the cards into their hands. Instead, all are placed in the middle in a pile and around the pile is formed a circle of the eight initial images drawn from it. But no one yet knows exactly, what is on them, because they are turned with image and numeral down.
Then, it’s time for starting player to turn over the first card and rely on his luck. Its not about the image, but about number at the top. He has to follow arrow and value towards next card destined to be revealed. He continues doing this card after card, until he is able to uncover all the cards or until the moment, when he is ordered to flip card, which already shows its picture.
Player can choose up to three cards from those, he revealed during one such turn and pick them up into hand. Maximum of such cards held in the palm of his hand is set to five. And players strive (according to difficulty settings) to create a pair, trio or quartet cards, that have at least one thing in common (color, emotion, animal).
In his turn, at this very moment, player may also play any set of cards with the same features, that meet agreed conditions. This collection of groups continues until the moment, when cards in the middle run out. Game ends and players sum up their accumulated points. The more identical properties, the more points a card brings. Player with the highest sum wins.
Find a Friend is a card game, in which you collect animals of similar properties. But the collection is largely governed by chance and choice of first card. Throughout the game, players are selected at random and can not predict outcome or first movement. This is clear evidence, that whole game is really dependent purely on luck.
Yet, there are some decisions. Specifically two: which of these revealed cards are chosen to pick up. Capacity of the hand of each player is limited and it is not easy to choose right cards. But even here, players must rely on luck, because they can not influence, which cards will they receive next round. The second choice, then timing of playing set of cards, because size of entire stack determines its value.
By now it must be clear to you, that this pig-nosed fun is designed especially for small children. And even from five years up, because they only need to know basic numbers and colors. At the same time, while playing with tiny tots, you are training their color perception, emotion and are entertained with overall funny illustrations of animals. But it is clear, that such small children will also be really tough on cards and it will become visible soon (you can try to sleeve them). Damage also can disrupt the experience, because then it will be easy to recognize some of the cards.
Simplicity is also related to playing time, which is very short and usually can fit into framework of fifteen minutes. And it does not matter on number of players, because if there are fewer of them, guessing cards only spins faster, but is diminishing as quickly as always.
Processing is, what this game differs from other children’s games and those, in which you collect a set of some things. Very interesting is card-shape and then there are funny illustrations, that perfectly suits the tune and the audience. Biggest weakness is the English translation of the rules, from which some things are not obvious during first read.
In conclusion, we have no choice, but to repeat clear facts. Find a Friend is practically a game based on luck, but this goes for many children’s games. Nothing prevents it from being interested for children and entertain them for a fairly long time. Nice illustration will certainly help with that.
+ illustrations and cards shape
+ collecting sets
+ fun animals
+ movement around the circle of cards
- poor English rulebook
- very random