Designer: Hisashi Hayashi
Artist: Ryo Nyamo
Publisher: OKAZU Brand
Playing Time: 20 minutes
Times Played: 4 with a purchased copy
Suzie-Q an auction of game of sorts, though it feels a bit odd to describe it that way. More specifically, it’s an interpretation of a “unique bid auction”, where bids are made blindly, but it isn’t the highest or lowest bid that will win. Rather, it is the “unique” one. What is the best known example, at least to me, is something like a “Guess the lowest number” contest for hundreds or thousands of people (or convention attendees). Of course it isn’t just the lowest, it is the lowest unique, and that’s where the barbecue spices are.
What Suzie-Q does is, well, a few things. Firstly, you’ll be writing three digit numbers and, to score, each of your digits will need to be unique from the other players, not just the number as a whole!
Each player is given two dry erase boards and a pen. One board has slots for three numbers, with the hundreds digit being outlined in a more saturated color. The other shows each of the ten digits you’d expect, a spot to write your score in each of 5 rounds, a spot for bonus points, and a spot for your total score.
In each round, the players will write down a three digit number. You can repeat digits or not repeat digits or start with a 0, the only rule is to put a number in each box.
Once each player has done so, the boards are flipped face up and ordered numerically from largest to smallest. Beginning with the largest number, the players look to see if the digits therein are unique to that number. If any of the three digits are contained in any of the smaller numbers, well, that’s enough to cancel it out. But! We’re only evaluating the highest number here. You don’t need to be the highest or the lower or unique, but something sort of in the middle. You only need to have unique digits when compared to numbers smaller than yours.
When that highest number is cancelled, you flip it over and go to the second highest, performing the same comparison with the lower numbers. If you’re planning ahead, you’ve probably noticed that the lowest overall number each round will assuredly score, but you’ve also found another crevice of barbecue seasonings. What you will score is the hundreds digit, so less risk, fewer points.
You’re also restricted in which numbers you can write. Wait, didn’t I just say you weren’t? Well, at the beginning you’re not, but! If you score, you must cross out the digits you used in that number and won’t be allowed to write them again!
The highest number which scores in each round will also earn bonus points equal to the current round, and each player will earn points at the end equal to how many numbers they crossed off their board. For all players, if they score in the last round they will double their hundreds digit when turning it into points. While I hate to spoil the ending, the person with the most points wins.
So I don’t know how I feel about the game. It’s…group dependent, and I think ‘fragile’ is probably the right word. With some groups it’ll be a hit while others won’t see the joy in the 1, 2, 3, shoot! reveal.
There’s a strategy to be had in running 1 number: 888 or 555. You decrease the odds you’ll intersect with lesser numbers and lose less available numbers, so win win, right? Sure, but astute competitors can strafe lower: 136 or 089. (They also might miss.)
It’s a game that is…what it seems to be.
For now, I’m holding on to it because I can see glimpses of specific friends in the future with whom I think it would shine, and I would love to share it with them, but generally speaking, it’s a fun 10 minute lark, but wouldn’t be my first choice.
Ratings from the Opinionated Gamers
I love it!
I like it.
Neutral. James Nathan
Not for me…