Designer: Iori Tsukinami (月並いおり)
Artist: Nariko (ナリコ), Suzuko (鈴子)
Publisher: 吉々庵 (Kichikichian)
Playing Time: 20-40 minutes
Times Played: 3 with a purchased copy
Fruitale is one of the roll-and-write titles released at the 2019 Spring Tokyo Game Market, or, to be more precise, flip-and-write. A pomological flip-and-write.
At times, you’ll be making jam. Later, shipping your produce to market. In the meantime, a modern bee hustler, renting out your hives to distant farmers.
Your score will be the sum (total sales) of your three efforts.
In the first six thirteenths of the game, you have your choice of planting fruit trees or joining the bee service. Two fruit cards are flipped face up from a deck of cards that consists of values 1 to 6 of several fruits, such as pineapples or cherries. Once the players have seen the cards, they simultaneously decide (1, 2, 3, shoot!) to plant or bee business. Those who decide to plant fill in their choice of boxes in their orchard: 1 card per box; they can fill in one of the dots which connect orchard plot for each characteristic that the plantees share: number and fruit.
Those who decided to offer up their bees will earn 1 point per player that chose to plant, and write it in one of their bee jars.
This process continues for twelve flips (24 cards), at which point each player’s orchard and honey jars will be full. Sum the value of your honeys to get your bee score and the number of dots in your orchard will determine your jam score.
Whoever is administrating the card flipping and what not will then take a 14 card subset of the 24 cards to determine the produce demand at your local market: this is what you’ll have the option of loading on your truck to take to market -but the truck only has room for 8 pallets.
In the second seven thirteenths of the game, these 14 cards are flipped one at a time, and players decide after each one if they would like to ship that plot. If you have a corresponding plot, in both number and variety, you may cross it off and write the number in one of your truck spots. Be careful: your truck score will be the sum of the numbers in the trailer, so if you use up a spot for the 1 of cherries, you may not have room for a 6 of grapes that is flipped later. However, if customers haven’t asked for the 6 of grapes, maybe you wasted a spot and you won’t be able to fill your truck.
Add your truck, jam, and bee scores; the player with the most points wins.
I’ve inexplicably played three times, and I would play it again. There’s something that draws me to the game and I want to try it (again), but then, once we start, I wonder what I was thinking. It’s not that I dislike it, but I find it fairly dull.
The orchard portion has some similarities to Knapp Dneben which also rewards points for adjacent similarities, and that’s a game I enjoy. Here, I don’t feel invested in the choice of planting or foraying into the bee business. Loading the truck is also fairly routine for most of the spots.
I wonder if it’s the distribution of the cards versus the die results, but it’s pretty pedestrian to get one dot for adjacent fields, and certainly circumstantial to get two. The bee business is unduly uncertain as the players attempt to doublethink each other concurrently.
Loading the truck is rote for 5 to 7 of the spots. Undoubtedly the first 3 to 4. Usually the last 1 or 2. If there are any spots in the middle, well, that’s the highest peak the game reaches.
But still, I’m not going with “Not for me…” I’m going with “Neutral” because, well, I still would play again. It’s not that I _dislike_ it; rather, I don’t find that I like it —I’m “neutral”. I knew that after the first game, but… maybe it was the group, maybe it was the setting, maybe it was something. So I tried it again; it was the same. Maybe a third setting -different players, diffe- nope. Neutral.
Thoughts from other Opinionated Gamers
Dale Yu: I am lifetime undefeated at this game. And I assuredly will remain so. I’d almost rather participate in the activity known as Madrino. At least there, the stories at the end make me laugh. As James Nathan has tried to explain, there just isn’t anything here to make me want to play it again. Nothing wrong with the mechanisms, the rules work just fine, there is a way to score points, but nothing compelling in the way you get there. Well, maybe one quibble – it seems like the whole 1,2,3 shoot thing still isn’t flawless, and it’s not like you can go back because once people have seen what you want to do, it’s really hard to “take it back” and do it again when someone screws up. Roll, make what feels to be an obvious play, repeat.
Ratings from the Opinionated Gamers
I love it!
I like it.
Neutral. James Nathan
Not for me… Dale Y