It’s time for a turf war! That’s right – spruce up your yard, sway your neighbors, and prove that you have the best yard in town! But be careful! While you’re away working hard and buying new decor, your pesky opponents will try to throw nasty pests into your yard in an attempt to sabotage you. Can you overcome the competition for a win? Let’s find out.
What Is It?
Hand Management – Players can only earn money and buy new cards when away from home. When they return home, they pick up all their cards from their garage and play one (or more in certain circumstances), so they have to be strategic in when they return/stay home, and what they play.
Engine Building / Set Collection – Players are buying cards to put into their 3×3 yards to give them in-game abilities or end-of game scoring. They may also buy tools that will give them certain abilities when played. Depending on what cards players have in their yards, they may also be able to sway neighbors for additional points.
Take-That – In addition to useful cards that players want for themselves, they can buy pest cards to play into other players’ yards which may destroy cards or give them unwanted effects.
Who Is It For?
- 2 to 4 Players – It works fine at any count, but with take-that games I always feel like more players is a little better (so in this case 4) so that if someone is getting lucky with cards or scoring well, others can gang up on them to balance it out
- Ages 12 & Up – Gameplay is pretty straightforward, but there’s definitely a bit of strategy in playing pests and combo-ing some cards, so probably not good for a super young audience
- Fans of engine building and hand management
- Players who don’t mind their progress being messed with by direct attacks
Trick-or-Treat Expansion – This adds in a new away from home action of buying candy, which can be used to sway some of the new neighbor cards that show up in the store deck. It also adds more neighbor cards to that deck, and just more buyable cards to the store deck too.
I thought this was a super cute addition to the game (I’m a sucker for anything with a Halloween theme). I liked the addition of buying candy because it made balancing your money a little more interesting. It also gave players more opportunities for safe points with the neighbors in the store deck, since there didn’t seem to be any way to mess with already swayed neighbors. I think I would probably always go ahead and add this into my plays.
- Aesthetics – Cute art / clear graphic design
- Theme – Fun theme that works well with the actions
- Small/Portable – Each player has their own 3×3 grid, but the cards are small, so it’s not a huge table hog still
- Smooth gameplay / quick turns
- Home versus Away aspect works well and creates a nice chance to balance getting new cards while leaving yourself vulnerable versus going home to try and play cards and protect your yard
- I thought a few of the cards were a little vague, but there’s a handy card reference available on the website if you need details
- The trick-or-treat expansion is a really nice addition that give the game more variety and scoring opportunities
- The expansion box glows in the dark! Which I just think is really cool
- All the expansion cards are clearly labeled so it is easy to integrate or remove
- The game felt very mean. I get that it’s take-that, but there were a lot of cards I wanted to explore (i.e. scoring from decorations or some plants). I would have loved to try building up for some of those end-game scores, but it’s difficult to even try for these because pests undo it all so quickly
- With that, some cards seemed too powerful for their costs (i.e. a $4 pest that trashes everything under it, which would effectively undo a bunch of work by another player)
- The game also felt too short overall. There are only 5 to 7 neighbors to sway, depending on player count, and it’s just a race to grabbing those, so the game can end really quickly, meaning there isn’t always a lot of time to build up a really good lawn sometimes. I thought the fact that the game ends immediately also gave the first player an advantage
Overall, I thought the game was neat. I played a similar game recently, about ‘building the best lawn’ called Grass is Greener, and I thought this gameplay worked better with the theme, making for a more interesting game. I really liked the home versus away actions and thought that lent itself to interesting choices throughout the game.
In my plays though, I just thought the cards felt a little unbalanced for their costs and abilities. But, I also thought, in general, the game just works much better with 4 than 2 (with 3 being okay) because the players can also help balance the game by ganging up on a current leader to slow them down.
I also think the trick-or-treat expansion is a must, not only because Halloween is the best, but it just adds more variety in cards/actions, and more chances to score, which makes a big difference when there’s only a few neighbors to sway in the original set-up.
If you like hand management, engine building, and take-that, then it’s worth giving a shot.
My Final Rating – 6/10
Designer – Dan Nichols
Publisher – Gadabout Games
MSRP – $17.99 (base game);
$14.99 (trick-or-treat expansion)
*I was provided a copy of this game to do this review*
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