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Awards

Rating

  • Artwork
  • Complexity
  • Replayability
  • Player Interaction
  • Component Quality

You Might Like

  • Easy to learn
  • Light with a little bit of strategic crunch
  • Cute artwork

Might Not Like

  • Solo BYOS is a little disappointing
  • No score tracker
Find out more about our blog & how to become a member of the blogging team by clicking here

Loco Momo Review

Loco Moco

Last summer, I was lucky enough to be able to play a preview of Loco Momo at a friend’s house. And then a few months ago it popped up digitally on Board Game Arena. And ever since I have been patiently waiting for the physical release!

Why? Well, I absolutely love spatial puzzliness in my games. Sagrada, Calico, Cascadia, Azul (all of them!...anything that gets my brain planning patterns is an instant hit. Some are real mind melters – Azul Queen’s Garden is currently my favourite way to inflict exquisite pain on my brain! But sometimes, I want a little less of the burn and a little more of the cute. And with that in mind, Loco Momo is hitting that spot.

To be precise, Loco Lomo is a pattern building, set collecting, tableau making game. You play a photographer in a magical wood trying to take pictures of the creatures who inhabit the trees and forest floor. And to win, you have to take the prettiest group shot.

Woodland Wonderland

In terms of components, nothing has changed from the preview copy I played. You get a heap of little square tiles each showing one of 5 creatures (rabbits, ducks, bears, leopards, and eagles) on either blue, green, or brown coloured backgrounds, a main board, 4 square player boards, and two mini expansions.

Forest School

The main board has four groups of four randomly selected tiles. On your turn, you select an animal tile, move it according to its specific restriction, and then collect its friends. Once you have some tiles, you then place those tiles on your own board. Empty spaces then get refilled from a random draw pile, and the next player takes their turn.

Your own player board shows the different scoring criteria when laying tiles;

  • first row will score points depending on the number of unique animals;
  • second row will score points depending on the number of matching animals
  • third and fourth rows score if the animals in each match; and
  • fifth row scores a bonus if it matches those in the third and fourth rows below it.

There are also bonus points for rows or columns completed using a single colour. And if you add in either mini expansion (using the flipside of the board), there are more points if you have the fewest of the chosen endangered species or habitat (colour), or you manage to place a specific animal on a specific spot (indicated by a flower motif on your board).

Forest Friends

We are all friends in Loco Momo, because the animal tile you pick from the main board determines who else comes with them. Matching the colour background is key here. Plus, when you place a tile, you must cosy it up next to a tile already in play – the adjacency rule is strong in this one!

The animals themselves all move in different ways::

  • Bears stay where they are (so you’ll only get the matching background tiles in their own square);
  • Leopards move one tile along clockwise (so you’ll pick up any matching background tiles in the next square along);
  • Rabbits move one tile back anticlockwise (same as above but taking from the previous square);
  • Eagles move diagonally;
  • Ducks will move to another duck of the same colour (or stay where it is if there are none)

Played over just 6 rounds, you only get six brief chances to fill your board. And that means you never have enough tiles to fill your board or score everything you want. And it is not just a quantity calculation. Because of the need to place new tiles adjacent to previously laid animals in your columns and rows, future picks have the potential to really mess up your own emerging patterns. Plus you also need to think about what others are likely to go for. So you need to pick smart rather than greedily!

Final Thoughts

We are enjoying Loco Momo. It falls nicely within our golden “easy to learn, hard to master, light puzzly spatial game” sphere. It also plays fast (our games top out around 20 mins at most) which is great for fitting it in on a manic night. And with solo play being a simple beat-your-own-score affair, it’s a good choice for a quick lunchtime gaming fix! It doesn’t really feel like we are taking photographs of animal creatures. But the setting and artwork is super cute. And I’m in it for the abstract spatial puzzliness rather than role-playing a paparazzi!

Granted there’s not much direct meddling to be done. But that does mean it never feels, well, mean! Plus there is a big luck injection when picking tiles to refill the main board after each turn. And whilst some players won’t like the unpredictability of that, it isn’t necessarily a bad thing. With so many ways to try and score, strategic mitigation is definitely an option to dial down the effects of the draw. Plus, even though what you do is the same each game, because of the unique way each animal moves, it makes each play feel different. And that is great for replayability.

Zatu Score

Rating

  • Artwork
  • Complexity
  • Replayability
  • Player Interaction
  • Component Quality

You might like

  • Easy to learn
  • Light with a little bit of strategic crunch
  • Cute artwork

Might not like

  • Solo BYOS is a little disappointing
  • No score tracker

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