This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion
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# of Players: 1-4
Time: 20 Minutes
Game Type: Card/Memory; cooperative
Gamer Type: Casual/Moderate
Teaches Teamwork, Strategy, Planning
Fantasy games have some of the most breadth in any genre of gaming. Within the realm of fantasy, we see many different directions a game can go. Golden Bell Studios has chosen to take the freedom of fantasy to the extremes with its game Strawberry Ninja. This is a fun little game where you help the cat defend the pumpkin patch by finding the dreaded strawberry ninja before he escapes. This is game will be a hit for the whole family and it will teach new skills in strategy and planning based on simple movements.
The story of the game revolves around a scenario in which things have been vanishing from the garden over the last few days. This can only mean one thing: the Strawberry Ninja is back and robbing your beloved pumpkin patch. You job in this epic quest is to help the cat find the ninja before the ninja escapes from the garden. This is cool, original story makes things more fun for the players. The story gives purpose and brings players into the game to make it more fun. Together, it results in a score of 7 of 10 for the story.
The art for this game is interesting. First of all, the art is well done. The drawings are in a color filled sepia, which really adds to the fantasy feel of the game. This is because many are programmed to sepia being linked to the Wizard of Oz. The cards have a fantasy tie in with a little bit of realism built in. This is a unique neo-realist model not often see in the fantasy realm. This gives Strawberry Ninja a score of 8 out of 10 for the artwork.
Strawberry Ninja has some unique mechanics that make a “Search and Destroy” mission transition into the fantasy realm quite easily. The game is played on a 3×4 square with an open space. This space allows players to move the cat and the cards around to search for the Ninja. While looking for the ninja, some of the cards players will reveal have special effects that can help or hurt your quest as you move through the garden. This adds a second level to the mechanics, which earns strawberry ninja a 6 out of 10 for mechanics.
The strategy of the game is basically “do not screw up.” If a player guesses wrong as to where the ninja is, then the ninja escapes and the board shuffles. This can be a bad thing. Since this is a cooperative game your choices affect the other players. This is something that you have to keep in mind. That being said, the strategy of “do not screw up” does not lead hardcore gamers to a Eurogame style play. Luke Graham describes games such as these as “a genre of board game which generally emphasize strategy and cooperation over conflict and luck, and often revolve around economic themes.” Being a great game for for the whole family, Strawberry Ninja earns a score of 7 out of 10.
Novelty is where Strawberry Ninja really shines. This game is something not see very often. Match games mixed with search and destroy games in a cooperative model allows for some of the most fun areas of gaming to work together. The theme is also very unique. Honestly, have you heard of a strawberry ninja before you heard of this game? The mixing of unique element blends and a very unique story gives Strawberry Ninja a 9.5 out of 10 for novelty.
A Great Game For The Whole Family
Overall, this is a great game for the whole family. With a score of 37.5 out of 50, this is one of the highest scoring family friendly games that we have seen. The game plays quickly and can be fun for people who have played it before or who are just learning the game. The integrated mechanics allow for the players to win or lose on a single move, which eliminates the “we already won” or the “we already lost” doldrums of some games. This is a good starter game for new players or a game that can challenge players who have been gaming for a long time, a good game for any collection.