Boomerang: Australia

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Explore the amazing lands of Australia in the new version of this “draft & write” game! Visit the most beautiful places of Australia. While touring, you will meet local animals and enjoy tourist activities, such as hiking, swimming or simple taking beautiful pictures! But don’t forget that this trip is not only for pleasure — you all compete to be the best vi…
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Category Tags , , , , , SKU ZBG-MTGSBOO001084 Availability 3+ in stock
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Awards

Rating

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

You Might Like

  • Fast playtime.
  • Travel theme.
  • Multiple ways to score points.

Might Not Like

  • Quite small scoresheet given the box size.
  • Simultaneous play means everyone's gameplay can be slowed with players who have high analysis paralysis.
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Description

Explore the amazing lands of Australia in the new version of this "draft & write" game! Visit the most beautiful places of Australia. While touring, you will meet local animals and enjoy tourist activities, such as hiking, swimming or simple taking beautiful pictures! But don't forget that this trip is not only for pleasure — you all compete to be the best visitor and discover the most of Australia!

Boomerang: Australia features a unique blend of set collection and card drafting with the approachable feel of a roll-and-write game. Draft locations from across the Australian continent as you collect sets of activities and animal sightings to gain the most points.

If you enjoy card drafting and set collection and appreciate a travel theme, then Boomerang: Australia could be a game for you. Boomerang: Australia is a "draft and write" game that I first played online. After only a couple of plays, I had quickly decided I liked it enough to want a physical copy. Hopefully, this review will help you decide if you should do the same.

The game is designed by Scott Almes, who is most known for the Tiny Epic series of games. This game is much lighter and is part of its own series along with Boomerang: USA and Boomerang: Europe. My review focuses on Boomerang: Australia, although there are some similarities with the others. In Boomerang: Australia you will be drafting cards to visit tourist sites across Australia, engage in activities, explore local wildlife, and collect souvenirs.

Gameplay

Boomerang: Australia is very simple, consisting of four rounds. In each round, players have a hand of 7 cards. Each player simultaneously picks a card and places it in front of them. Then, all players pass their hand to their neighbour. Repeat the process of drafting and passing cards until everyone has seven cards in front of them. The first card drafted goes face down, hidden from the other players, but the rest are face up for everyone to see.

Each card drafted is symbolic of a distinct tourist site in Australia. They also have a number (from 1 to 7) and two icons. There are three types of icon - activities, souvenirs, and animals. At the end of the round, you fill out your score sheet and find out who has optimised their Australian adventure!

Scoring

During the course of the game, players will gain points for each new tourist site they pick up. You can receive bonus points for being the first to visit all four tourist sites within a region.

Each round players will also score for achieving sets of icons. Animals score for pairs. Rarer animals, such as the Platypus, score more than others like Kangaroos. Souvenirs score according to the total of the values on the icons, but you double the score for them if the total is 7 or less. For activities, players have to choose a single activity to score. The more you collect, the more points you gain. However, players have to pick a different activity each round, meaning each activity is only scored once across the whole game.

Finally, players will also score for the difference in the number on your "Throw" (the first card drafted) and "Catch" (the last card). Why are the cards called "Thow" and "Catch?" - well the game is called Boomerang after all!

With the exception of the throw/catch, which you don't have too much control over, the various ways of scoring make for interesting decisions. Especially in the first few turns of a round. It can be difficult to gauge what other players are going for, or what cards are in play. Picking a card is often difficult. You might find that one card helps you complete a pair, but also has a high souvenir value - tipping you over the 7. Or you've already picked up that particular tourist site in a previous round, and another card may get you closer to completing a region first. Even when picking animals, do you go for the Platypus? It could reward you a massive 9 points, but it's hard to complete a pair as there are only two in the whole deck. Or do you play it safer with one of the smaller point, but more common animals? The different methods of scoring feel relatively balanced, and I've seen each of them be the deciding factor in games.

Final Thoughts

Overall, Boomerang: Australia is a nice and quick drafting game. The scoring and rules are fairly simple for a new gamer, but there are enough decisions to keep a more seasoned gamer interested.

It probably plays best at 3 and 4. At this player count you're only ever seeing each hand of cards a couple of times. There's a good chance that the card you were hoping for is gone when the hand comes back around. It's still interesting at 2, but if you have a good memory and keep an eye on what the other player is going for, it's a lot more predictable.

The theme also helps when playing. I've had players reminiscing about the places in Australia they've visited or want to, plus who doesn't want to pick up cards with cute Kangaroos and Koalas!

Personally, I find Boomerang: Australia is a nice filler. Or one for an evening when you just want a fairly quick game. I timed a few plays and they came in around the stated half-hour mark (potentially a little more for the first one with the teaching). It helps that I really like the drafting mechanic as that naturally provides a good amount of player interaction - "you took the card I wanted!"

Zatu Score

Rating

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

You might like

  • Fast playtime.
  • Travel theme.
  • Multiple ways to score points.

Might not like

  • Quite small scoresheet given the box size.
  • Simultaneous play means everyone's gameplay can be slowed with players who have high analysis paralysis.