*cough*cough*cough* Aww, man! I love a good campfire, but it feels like no matter where I sit, the smoke always comes back to me! I’d be having a much better time if I didn’t have all this smoke in my face. I wonder if I could use the wind to my advantage and stick the smoke in front of someone else…
What Is It?
Hot Potato – Players will be playing wind cards from their hands to try and move the smoke card away from themselves during the game
Multi-Use Cards – Some cards have multiple direction/numbers of spots to choose from to move the smoke, so players will sometimes have options in which player they want to target
Hand Management – Players may want to try and use cards with only choice first to leave themselves with more options, or they may want to focus on sending to smoke to a particular player when they can
Who Is It For?
- 2 to 6 Players – I think 4 to 5 is the real sweet spot for player count, personally
- Ages 6 & Up / Light Gamers – Simple rules (counting spots, following the direction of the arrow), great for a wide age range and players looking for a quick teach/play. The extra rule variant adds a little to give players more to consider when playing cards, but doesn’t add too much for complexity
- Fans of quick, light small card games
- Fans of camping who will get a kick out of the theme
Fun Extra Rule – Depending on which side of the smoke card is facing up, and what wind card a player plays, they may add 1 to their card, altering where the smoke lands, or flip the smoke card, thus changing its’ direction for the next player.
It’s a very simple rule to add in, and it works well to give players a bit more to think about when playing cards. I might not use it if I’m introducing the game to new players, just to keep the game as simple as possible, but once players know the game, it’s a great addition.
- Art on the box and the smoke is very cute
- Rules are well-written, even has nice examples within the small rules
- Small/Portable – You don’t need much for table space; can play just about anywhere!
- I like the extra rule once you’re familiar with the game, to add in some variety
- Love that the win condition is that the fewest smokeouts wins with 2 exceptions – if you’re the only one with smokeouts, you win, which prevents ganging up on 1 player, and if there is a tie for least smokeouts, you also lose if you sent the smoke for the last smokeout. I think these rules negate a lot of the negatives I usually have with take-that games
- I like that the last card played (that causes a smokeout) is placed in front of the player to track that smokeout, so if you’re saving your stronger cards for later in the round (i.e. a wild wind) it may end up removed from future rounds
- Theme is cute and relatable
- I definitely wish there was more art in the game (wind cards are pretty plain)
- Doesn’t scale great for all player counts. Since wind cards range from 1 to 3 spots, 2 & 3 player games can be tight and tricky; you often end up bringing the smoke right back to yourself. At 6, players have less cards in hand, so less choice, but rounds are also quicker (maybe too quick)
- Luck of the draw – You may not always have a lot of choice in who you target depending on what’s in your hand. But at least there’s always next round.
At first glance, this seems like a simple take-that game — you’re trying to get the smoke in front of other players and smoke them out. But it really takes away the viciousness I see in most take-that style games, and makes it a more light-hearted experience, and, thus, a lot more fun!
The rules of how to win immediately eliminate the tendency to try and gang up on one player, and keep players invested in trying to avoid ties, or at least not be the one to cause the final smokeout.
The game is light, and a little bit silly, but will still appeal to a wide range of gamers. It has a fun social element that’s honestly very indicative of sitting around a fire with your friends, having a good time. It’s great for a camping trip, or if you just want to play a little “hot potato” at your table at home!
My Final Rating – 7/10
*I was provided a copy of this game to do this review*
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