A Battle For The Champignon-ship
Have you ever woken up one morning and wondered whether fungi have feelings...and faces? Fungi have been around for millions of years: they aren’t plants, they aren’t animals, but in this charming, magical card game from Ridley’s Games, Funky Fungi, they’re full of life and personality!
What's The Game Like?
Funky Fungi requires two to four players, each one having exactly six cards in their hands. Each round involves a player placing one card face-up in front of them; then, all other players must put down the same colour of card as the first player. The player with the highest value on their card is the first to choose one of these cards to add to their collection. The player with the second highest value card chooses next, and so on. However, players without the same colour as the lead one will be forced to put down a different colour, automatically making them the last to choose a placed card. This first part of the game is similar to Whist, with the trump being the first colour played. After each round, all players must remember to take a card from the “main fungi stack” to keep the total of six cards in their hand.
The aim of the game is for players to collect “forage points” counters. Points from 2 to 4 are collected by creating clusters, as shown on special mushroom cards. Clusters are made by obtaining the required colours of mushrooms in your foraged card collection. However, you can only make clusters when it’s your turn to forage. The number of points you get depends on the number of mushrooms required for a cluster: for example, 4 mushrooms are required for 4 points, which is the highest-value and most difficult cluster to make. All completed clusters are then put in the discard pile. If a player is the first to reach a total of 10 points, they are the winner.
There are a few special cards that add depth to what would otherwise be a very simple card game. These include the action cards “steal”, “swap”, and “protect”, as well as the “magic fun-gi wild cards”. Deciding whether to pick up the card you need for your cluster and risk having one of your cards be stolen or swapped by another player or whether to take the steal or swap card yourself adds an extra layer of challenge. Making your opponents groan in frustration as you take their best card is immensely satisfying. Despite the game’s simple appearance, you’ll need to use clever tactics to beat your opponents by stopping them from making clusters while making clusters of your own.
According to the rules, the player who goes first is the player who last ate a mushroom. This rule is funny to me because whenever I play this game with the family, my Mum always goes first, because she loves eating mushrooms, and no one else does!
Here's The Components
The game comes in a small, round container with 60 cards, 35 point tokens, and an instructions sheet inside. The container itself is portable due to its compact size, meaning you can take the fungus-filled fun with you anywhere! Also, the whole container looks like a mushroom, with the lid its red and white spotted cap. The little detail of two faces on the tub, one on each side, is so funny! Depending on which way you put it, you can have your mushroom box look either happy or dead and sad, you decide!
The artwork on the cards is so adorable and full of personality and character; each mushroom’s design and name are based on real-life types of fungi (except the original wild card). For example, the “Death Cap” action card has a skull on its cap to signify how dangerous it is for other players, and the “Porcini” card portrays a mushroom with cool shades, standing as a bodyguard for a smaller mushroom, since this card type protects mushrooms in a player’s collection in the game.
The instructions are great for teaching players the basics of the game through simple visual communication and clarity. The leaflet is colourful, and each section is distinguished by a different coloured background (all of which are based on the game’s five colours of cards—neat!). If you want a good idea on how the game is set up, there’s a handy picture reference guide to help you. The box says a game will take about 30 minutes, but in my experience, it usually seems to finish in about 20 minutes.
One very minor issue I noticed in the instructions is a typo in one of the paragraphs, and I also noticed that one of the action cards has a three-point icon, when only cluster cards should have these icons.
Who's It For
According to the box, players should be 8 years or over to play the game. That makes sense because the simple rules and cute artwork are intended to be catered for younger players. Some 6- and 7-year-olds could probably pick it up too. However, the game certainly also has enough depth to it that adults would enjoy playing, especially those who have a soft spot for those cute character designs.
Although the game can be played by two players, there’s more fun to be had with three or four players. There’s more choice of who to steal cards from or swap cards with, and the game lasts a little longer. This is a light card game, so you can play multiple games in one sitting; it’s good as a warmup or filler on game nights, or when time is limited and you’re looking for a short burst of fun.
Overall, I would mainly recommend Funky Fungi to families with children who are in the mood for a game that’s laid back but with a strategic element. I’d equally recommend it to anyone who is a fan of creative card games with endearing art styles and character designs. If you’re a fan of card games like Whist or card drafting games like Sushi Go, you’ll get a kick out of Funky Fungi. It isn’t the deepest card game you’ll ever play, but Funky Fungi is guaranteed to warm your heart and put a smile on your face if you’re looking for simple, charming fun.