Kenny G – Keepin’ it Saxy (Game Review by Brandon Kempf)

  • Designer: Prospero Hall
  • Artists: None Listed
  • Publisher: Big G Creative
  • Players: 2-5
  • Time: 30 minutes
  • Times Played: 2

“Don’t you dare turn on Kenny G to listen to while we play, damn it, you already did didn’t you, that’s why I feel like I am stuck in an elevator.” – Me

Some Kenny G for your enjoyment while you read

Don’t let Kenny lose his groove! Kenny G Keepin’ it Saxy is a cooperative, hand management styled game where the players will be playing cards, to help resolve events as fast as possible over six rounds in hopes of keeping all of the “Groove” points that Kenny has. 

At the beginning of the game, each player is dealt four cards. These cards are the different things that Kenny needs in order to squash the drama going on in his life. There are some special cards that allow the players to do different things outside of their normal choices on their turn, but for the most part the cards will have a color and a symbol on them that will match the items needed for the event to be dismissed. 

At the beginning of each round, there is an Event Phase, where a predetermined number of events are going to come out for the players to work at to resolve. These event cards have requirements on them, that need to be fulfilled in order, from left to right. There are set event cards for the morning, afternoon and evening as noted on the board as you play. 

After the events have come out, the players then have their Sax Phase. It’s during this phase where the players are going to play cards from their hands in order to help resolve as many events as possible. The players, in turn order, will play out their turn which consists of taking three actions from the possible four. You can draw two cards, you can trade a card with another player, you can play a Sax card, or you can play an ability card. These actions are interchangeable and you can repeat actions. The main thing you will want to be doing is playing Sax cards. 

When playing Sax cards to an event, you have to resolve them from left to right on the event card, no skipping ahead. When an event is completely resolved you will remove it from the game and gain any benefit that may be on the card. You’ll know that it’s a benefit due to the sax icon in front of the text. 

After all players have taken their turn in a round, you have the Groove Phase. In the Groove Phase, you will roll dice based on the number on the unfulfilled event, up to three per event. You will lose Groove Tokens, of which you start with twelve, based on what you roll on those dice. Some of the event cards will have events on them as well that will possibly help out during the Groove Phase, so keep an eye on those. 

Rinse and repeat this six times, moving the marker to the next stage after each Groove Phase,  and if you still have Groove tokens left after six rounds, you win, and you have helped Kenny G, keep his groove. 

I don’t know why I felt the need to write a review of this, I really don’t. I picked it up on a whim from Target, which is exclusively where you can find this one, and really wasn’t expecting much from it. Which is good, because it really doesn’t give much. It really is, just a basic hand management, co-op with some weird theme built over the top of it so they can throw it on the shelves at Target. That’s fine, it shouldn’t be seen as a bad thing, but I really am starting to feel like these Target exclusives aren’t much better than the retail games of old. Like maybe I’d be better off playing Monopoly or something. 

There is a semblance of strategy here, but everyone sees everything laid out in front of you, even the players cards in hand are laid out face up, so as soon as the Event Cards cards are flipped, you have a small bit of discussion and plot out each player’s turn and go. Rocket science this is not, and it never really lets you feel clever, like any good cooperative game should.

Gameplay here is straightforward and pretty basic, and it definitely feels basic while you are playing. Your turn is essentially spelled out for you as soon as you see the Event Cards. You are either drawing cards in hopes of playing them, or in hopes of trading them to others who can play them. The designers try to make you forget that with some double entendre jokes and ridiculous events that could hinder Kenny G’s groovy day. It does make for some good laughs, but I could have those laughs just in conversation with friends, I don’t really need a board game as the vehicle for conversation, I need to board game to be entertaining, and make me think on my feet. 

I know, I know, I’m not the market for this, but that shouldn’t matter. Designers should be striving to move things forward, not designing from the lowest common denominator and then  regurgitating their designs onto the mass market shelves with different skins. This is the second or third year of this, with Prospero Hall, who now have thirty-eight titles credited to them on Board Game Geek, and not one that I will have kept at home for more than a couple plays (I’ve sold off three already). They just don’t have any staying power. It’s almost like they are purposefully designing games that just appeal to folks who don’t have any idea about board games, or folks who are interested in the theme and take a chance. Yes, they feel a bit more modern than the retail games of the past, and they are more enjoyable than rolling a die and moving, sometimes, but they really aren’t that far away from that level. It’s almost like game design based on marketing and I’m sure that the marketing is working and some folks will enjoy this one, just not me. I’m not saying that Kenny G Keepin’ it Saxy is a broken, or bad game. It isn’t, it’s a perfectly cromulent game, but I think we should be shooting higher than cromulent at this point, even on retail shelves.

Thoughts from the Opinionated Gamers

Ratings from the Opinionated Gamers

I love it. 

I like it. 

Neutral. 

Not for me… Brandon  

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1 Response to Kenny G – Keepin’ it Saxy (Game Review by Brandon Kempf)

  1. Pingback: Kenny G – Keepin’ it Saxy (Game Review by Brandon Kempf) – Herman Watts

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