|Game: Gulp (Good Nature Games)||Time: 15 minutes|
|Players: 2||Replay Value: lower|
|Age: 9+||Difficulty: Easy|
We are living in a time where board games are seeing similarities between video games with app integration, or a huge array of gimmicks that manipulate terrain, indulge into the games theme, or express a lot of individuality to the components where it’s game is so unique to the rest. But, what about a game that focuses on being a solid… game? Gulp is a very simple to learn but hard to perfect strategy tile game about simulating the eco system–having larger fish eat the smaller fish.
In Gulp players will take control of one shade of fish under the sea. Each turn will consist of eating fish to take control of more tiles in on the 7×7 grid of fish tiles. Some fish are provided with special abilities that can flip around the progress of tile collecting. At it’s core, Gulp is a take that tile game.
Gulp will come with 49 tiles featuring level 3 fish like shark all the way to the bottom of the kelp and coral chain. The board is modular as each set up is done by placing the tiles in a 7×7 grid and taking turns collecting fish. Each tile can eat a tile below their tier level, and any empty spaces left leave fish unable to move. Each fish can move horizontally or vertically. Whichever fish is on the top of a stack is the winner of the pile at the end of the game. (more on this below)
|Quick to learn and play|
|Rules can clarify better|
Artwork isn’t the greatest
What I like
I like that this game is simply a tile game that incorporates a solid amount of components and rules to create a strategic take that game. It is very straight forward with sharks being the top of the food chain, flying fish being able to jump across empty spaces, and the parrot fish is the only fish that can eat coral. The rulebook is very to the point with how the game scores, how the game plays, and how the game ends.
With the strategy in consideration, each player has a limited amount of movement, each move will leave an open spot unavailable to other fish to use so keep in mind, what your next couple of moves might look like before thinking with your stomach. I’ve had plenty of rounds end with me having a pile of my top tier fish stuck in a corner with no movement availability, and my opponent able to consume the rest of the board.
I also love how quick this game is to play, you can run through a game in around 10 minutes, score points, and set up for a new game within another 2.
What I Don’t Like
With every simple game comes a loss of steam. The strategy does give this game an extra boost of vitality–however, after a couple of plays, the game does grow stale with the limitations on fish. Once a player gets stuck and runs out of movement, the other player spend the rest of the round finishing up their moves before scoring points.
I also found the rules didn’t define HOW the game works very well. When you eat a fish, you “stack” the bigger fish above it, it does not get removed off the board. So you are potentially carrying around 2-7 tiles per fish.
For a two player game it’s definitely a great abstract strategy game. It gives players a chance to score points by collecting tiles and then resetting the board to do it all over again. Each game runs relatively quick never exceeding 15 minutes per my total experiences. Can it compete with some of the higher, more fashioned games with the gimmicks, app integrations, eye-grabbing artwork? Well, only if you aren’t looking for a game relying on game play to satisfy that itch for strategy.