Just like pigeons, set collection games are everywhere, so how does a new one stand out in the crowded bird feeder? Great artwork, cool theme, a new and unusual take on drafting, these are all essential things a designer / publisher needs to consider. So does CuBirds hit the target like a Kingfisher or does it go the way of the Dodo? Read on to find out.
Birds Of A Feather Flock Together
CuBirds is a set collection game unlike any other set collection game you have played. On your turn you take all birds of a single species from your hand and add them to the end of one of the four rows of birds on the table. You then check to see if your placed birds can move towards the same species in that row, causing any other birds in-between to be bullied out and added to your hand.
Then, if you have enough of one species of bird in your hand you can optionally flock it to your collection (discarding all other cards of the same species). If you manage to collect a lot of the same species you can flock two of these birds to your collection.
If your placed bird(s) do not cause you to pick up any cards from the row (no bullying), you can choose to collect two new cards from the deck instead.
The round ends when a player has no cards in their hand. At this point all other players have to discard their hand of cards and new cards are dealt. Knowing when to play cards to the table and which row, together with choosing the right time to end the round is where the tension and excitement comes from in CuBirds.
The first player to seven species of birds in their collection (or two species with three cards each) wins the game. Most games I have played have come right down to the wire as players can see what species everyone needs to win the game and they deliberately stop placing those birds, making for an exciting conclusion to the game.
Who’s A Pretty Bird
This game is as pretty as a flamingo wearing evening wear or a parrot in a fedora. I love the cubist art style and the muted backgrounds. Each bird is beautifully drawn and there are subtle differences on every card of where the birds are placed or what other animals feature.
There is one problem with the cards which is the placement of the species symbol and numbers required to flock. They are on separate corners which means no matter which way you hold your cards some of the information needed is missing. This could have been resolved by having both bits of information in both corners.
A Pair Of Love Birds
For me the game shines at the two player count. When you play at three, four or five the game becomes much more random with the table state changing significantly between your turns. At two players you have much more control over the birds and can play against your opponent as much as the table. I don’t mind playing it at any player count but would always prefer to play at two.
CuBirds is as cool as a penguin in a dinner jacket with its unique drafting mechanism, amazing artwork, a great rule book, and a ‘just one more game’ quality. It comes in a cute little box and the card quality is very high, I have shuffled the cards together so many times without any signs of wear or tear so far. I do prefer the game at two players but will happily play at any player count. Towards the end of the game there can be a lot of birds on the table so allow plenty of room before you start.
If you are looking for a new game that can be played in just twenty minutes but gives you lots of meaningful decisions on every turn, then you could do no better than CuBirds.