Dale Yu: First Impressions of two Blue Orange Puzzle Games: Go Go Gelato! and Dr. Microbe

 

 

Go Go Gelato

  • Designer: Roberto Fraga
  • Publisher: Blue Orange
  • Players: 2-4
  • Ages: 6+
  • Time: ~15 minutes
  • Times played: 2, with review copy provided by Blue Orange

Go Go Gelato! is one of three new games in the “Doctor” puzzle series which was launched with Dr. Eureka last year.  In this game, you are the proprietor of a Gelato stand, and you need to fulfill customer orders exactly.  Of course, for some weird reason, you don’t have a gelato scooper, so you must pass the scoops from cone to cone.

At the start of the game, each player gets four cones – blue, yellow, red and green – as well as three scoops of gelato – yellow, red, green.  (I suppose that no one really likes Blue Raspberry or Superman gelato…)  Anyways, the orders are combinations of the different color scoops in different colored cones.  When the order is revealed, each player races to get the scoops and cones in the right orientation. The catch is that you can only transfer the scoops from cone to cone.  If you drop a scoop while transferring it, you must use two empty cones to pick it up – you may not use your hand to set the scoop onto a cone.

As soon as a player has managed to get the right solution, they cry out “Go Go Gelato!” and take the order card to score a point.  The game continues until the first person scores 5 points.

My thoughts on the game

 

Go Go Gelato is a cute little puzzle game.  The big part of each challenge is to figure out the right order in which to move the scoops.  As you only have one free cone at any time, you have to really figure out how to maximize your scoop transfers to limit the number of exchanges that you have to make.

 

Like many puzzle games, there is only a payoff for the fastest to complete the puzzle – thus, the player who is 5% faster will get far more than 5% of an advantage in points.  One way that the game helps prevent this issue is by freezing everyone’s cone/scoop situation as a point is scored.  Thus, after the first round, most everyone should have a slightly different setup of cones/scoops which will then make the next puzzle slightly asymmetric.

Each individual puzzle moves pretty quickly – most of them can be solved within 15 seconds or so.  It helps to play this game on a stable surface as you really want to be able to stand the cones on the table with them falling over and spilling the balls.

 

Like Dr. Eureka, I find that this game is an interesting diversion for the first game or two, but the puzzles aren’t quite engaging nor long enough to hold my interest past a few plays.  With nice plastic cones and balls which should not break, this should stand up to multiple plays with younger kids – the sort of audience which I think this is best played with anyways.  My kids are too old now for this one, but ten years ago (at 5 and 7), this would have been a great brain-teaser and fine motor skill developer.


 

 

Dr. Microbe

  • Designers: Roberto Fraga and Delphine Lemonnier
  • Publisher: Blue Orange
  • Players: 2-4
  • Ages: 8+
  • Time: 10-15 minutes
  • Times played: 2, with review copy provided by Blue Orange

Dr. Microbe is probably more easily identified as a puzzle game in the Blue Orange line given the Doctor in the name.  In this game, players try to impress Dr. Microbe by isolating the correct assortment of microbes in their personal petri dish.

 

There is a dish of 48 microbes that is placed in the center of the table.  There are four different shapes, each found in 4 copies in 3 different colors.  Each player has a personal petri dish that has three small wedge shapes and a much larger Superbug area.  At the start of each turn, a puzzle card is flipped up.  This card will have one to three of the four petri dish areas filled in with a printed microbe.  Players must select these particular microbes and place them in the matching petri dish bins using their tweezers.

Then, the rest of the petri dish must be filled in – following a number of rules

 

In the three small wedge areas, all three microbes in this area must be of a different shape AND two of them must be of the same color.

 

In the large Superbug area, you must place a microbe which is a different color AND shape than any of the three found in the wedge areas.

Whenever a player thinks they have solved the puzzle, they yell out “Eureka!” and then everyone stops playing to check and see if the Eureka screamer is correct.  If so, the winner takes the puzzle card to score a point.  If not, the rest of the players pick up their tweezers and keep playing until someone gets it solved correctly.  The game continues until a player has 5 cards.

 

My thoughts on the game

 

Dr. Microbe is a cute little puzzle game.  The big part of each challenge is to figure out small logic puzzle offered on the card – you will eventually need to have each of the four shapes in your dish, with two of the small wedge ones sharing a color.  Depending on the card flipped over, the challenge can be a little different at least – there is a little less brainpower needed when you get all three wedge microbes on the card as opposed to the somewhat more open ended puzzle when you only get a single wedge microbe and then you have to ad lib the rest.

 

Like many puzzle games, there is only a payoff for the fastest to complete the puzzle – thus, the player who is 5% faster will get far more than 5% of an advantage in points.  In each round, players start with an empty dish (i.e. always in an identical situation) – so it will quickly become apparent who is better at solving the puzzle.  In our group, the same person pretty much won 70-80% of the rounds.

Each individual puzzle moves pretty quickly – most of them can be solved within 15 seconds or so.  The dexterity issue with the tweezers didn’t really seem to be much of an issue.  None of the adult (well 14yo +) players in the game had much issue grabbing and holding on to the microbes that they wanted to pick up.

 

Like Dr. Eureka, I find that this game is an interesting diversion for the first game or two, but the puzzles aren’t quite engaging nor long enough to hold my interest past a few plays.  With nice plastic microbes and tweezers which should not break, this should stand up to multiple plays with younger kids – the sort of audience which I think this is best played with anyways.  My kids are too old now for this one, but ten years ago (at 5 and 7), this would have been a great brain-teaser and fine motor skill developer.

 

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About Dale Yu

Dale Yu is the Editor of the Opinionated Gamers. He can occasionally be found working as a volunteer administrator for BoardGameGeek, and he previously wrote for BoardGame News.
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