When I first took that sharp japanese sword into my hand, all I had to do was looked at it and immediately got some cuts. So sharp was its blade. There were countless wounds on my body through first few weeks, when I tried to hit training dummy with it and the sword was sliding and deflecting. But with determination, I became a master and prepared a different way of training for my apprentices. Its faster and much safer.
For the purpose of storytelling, this sensei has been transformed into a pair of designers – Julien Vergonjeanne and Benjamin Ravet, who have prepared game called Fruit Ninja: Combo Party. This is a board game on the motifs of mobile game classic of the same name, in which you cut the fruit. And that’s exactly, what game from publisher Lucky Duck Games is all about. The graphics was done by Mateusz Komada and Brendan Deboy.
It comes in a small box covered with chopped pieces of fruit. Inside the box, players will find a deck of cards, set of small carton tokens and a large wooden catana holder. This should be placed in the center of the table during setup. All of the party participants will sit around the table, each one gets a random dozen cards from the fruit deck. The remaining cards with the red background are rewards, and they have to create the deck aside of the board right next to the stack of golden apple chips.
Each match has a predetermined number of rounds, which is usually two or four. In each round, individual participants select one card from their hand and reveal it at the same time. In the case, that two or more opponents choose the same type of fruit, now everyone in group of players must reach as quickly as possible for the katana in the middle. The fastest player (or the one whose hand is located lowest on the handle) gets a reward card, that he can lay ahead of himself. This will only be important at the end of the game.
However, all the gathered fruit cards are not placed on the table to no avail. Players try to make a so-called combo. The cards are stacked on each other and create one of two types of combination – either fruit of the same color or one card of every fruit. At the end of every round, a player can decide whether he would like to continue in risking and improve combo or score it.
But it looks quite simple to decide, because the player knows his cards, right? But it is not true! After each round played, players pass the cards in their hand clockwise, so you never know, what exactly is left for you. Later in the round, if you have a good overview and memory, then you can plan with cards and fruits.
If a player decides to take a chance and after next run, he fails to add new card, he must score the pile. But since he decided to continue, he gets less points (golden apple token) and can not draw a reward card. On the other hand, the player who closes his set in time will take several cards from the rewards package, which is a big plus. Players always get a reward for their combo, but amount of apples depends on the size of the combo and their success. Players will play a few rounds and the one with the most points at the end will become the winner.
Fruit Ninja is therefore in the first phase a classical reaction game. But the second part, which on the contrary rewards the timely risk taking, is added. Especially in the first rounds, the risk is seemingly higher, but it is compensated by the number of cards in hand. Thanks to this, there is a good chance, that the player will get the right cards for his combo next time.
The course clearly shows, that the game is suitable as a small party game, that can even be taken in a pub, but also for family evenings. Just for all those players, who do not want to go home to watch TV, but relax together and laugh. Fun comes from made mistakes and the hard battle of points forces you to do them quite often.
Simplicity works great. The scoring is clear, the cards are easy to read and scoring cards help the players with having overview. It is obvious that the authors thought everything through. It is necessary to appreciate the sense of detail and simple color processing.
The success of the game is very dependent on the number of players. In three, everything works the way it is supposed to, but four are a reasonable minimum. But the game is great even in the larger numbers up to six, because the more exciting is the first stage of the observation. The total length required depends on the number of turns selected, with one taking approximately five to ten minutes based on the number of players in the game.
Fruit Ninja offers a fun experience, that will delight almost anyone, who does not expect some complex game, but only relaxing fun. Surprisingly, it’s not just about perceiving and catching a common handle in the middle, but above all about the proper risking and playing cards. Thanks to this, Fruit Ninja: Combo Party is a quality and original mix of several games into one.
+ great mix of two mechanics
+ fast game
+ quality even in higher numbers of players
+ smart redesign of digital games
+ a pinch of tactics and a memory element
- nothing (for this genre)