Out of the Box Games
For ages 8 to Adult
20-30 minutes per game
The first time I played Fish Eat Fish with my grandsons, I thought it was a boring, too-simple, silly game for toddlers. The next time we played—Thanksgiving weekend—we discovered we’d misinterpreted a key rule that makes the game more a matter of strategy than dumb luck. This time I got a serious brain ache playing it.
Like chess and poker, success at FEF relies heavily on the ability to psyche out your opponents. It also helps to wear a poker face, and be able to bluff when appropriate. If you can remember which cards are still in his or her hand and which were already played, and figure out which card s/he’s likely to play, you’ve won half the battle. Ay, there’s the rub: I don’t know how many times I wasted my last octopus, under the erroneous suspicion that one of my grandsons would play his shark.
I’ve never reviewed a board game—or any other kind—so I’m not sure what’s kosher to reveal or what’s considered a spoiler. Anyhow, you can learn to play in a few minutes from the instructions. Just don’t make my mistake: remember that players are supposed to look at their cards and strategize, rather than throwing them out at random.
FEF is the perfect game for grandkids and grandparents—it’s tactile, visually appealing and playable for younger kids, yet challenging enough for adults. If you’re anything like me, and if the kids are eight or older, be prepared to lose. For real.