Duck! Duck! Go! : A streamlined RoboRally.

Way back, I believe in 2008, I played a very brief demo of “Duck Duck Go”.  I was at Gen Con, and mostly I was intrigued by the little rubber duckies.  The demo was super brief, but I remember being surprised that there was more “game” there then I had expected.  Flash forward three years and all you can get out of me is just that:  I know I sorta enjoyed my demo, but other then the cute rubber duckies, I really didn’t remember anything about the game.   I couldn’t even remember what the basic mechanics of the game were!  So I settled down with the game again this year, but this time for a full game in preparation for writing a review.

A peak at all the different duckies the company makes to customize your game.

A peek at all the different duckies the company makes to customize your game.

Once again, I suspected the game to be all fluff and no substance.  I mean, come on, the selling point of the game is the bazillion cute different rubber duckies that you can buy to customize it.  With a gag like that, who needs there to be an actual game?  What I found pleasantly surprised me, for the second time.

Really this game is a streamlined version of “RoboRally”.  It’s a race around the bath tub in an effort to get to each of the buoys and then the drain first.  Yes, it’s silly, but certainly no more silly then giving orders to robots running around a factory collecting flags.

This is a RoboRally game, for comparison.

This is a RoboRally game, for comparison.

In some ways the game was more complicated then Robo Rally, and in some ways it was easier.  Firstly the game is played on a hex grid, unlike the checkerboard style grid of RR.  This means that turns are more subtle, and allowed you to dance around each other a bit more.  After all, you are in a bathtub, why would you always move in straight lines?

A game of Duck Duck Go in progress.

A game of Duck Duck Go in progress.

Duck Duck Go is much more stream lined in many other ways.  Firstly, there are no “conveyor belts” or “Pits” with complicated rules.  It’s just a matter of simply bumping around in the tub.  If you hit something you weren’t suppose to, you turn around.  If you landed in a really good place, you took another turn immediately.

You accomplish all of this bumping around by simultaneously playing cards down that dictate how far, and in what direction, you can move.  These cards usually give you a couple different choices, such as which of two or three different paths to take, and what direction to face at the end of your move.  In this game, unlike RR, you only play one of these cards down every turn, but with such a small board, and so many things to bump into, one card at a time is plenty!

This card causes your ducky to turn around, and allows you to choose one of two different directions to point when you are done.

This card causes your ducky to turn around, and allows you to choose one of two different directions to point when you are done.

The game comes with two versions of rules, which I thought was great.  There is a “basic” game that gets you used to how the duckies move and how the cards work.  Then there is an advanced game, which adds in special effect tokens that you can earn at each buoy, and a “bird dog” ducky that is controlled by the player in last, and helps to mess up the plans of the other duckies.

I miss RR, no one will play it with me anymore.  However, getting people to play Duck Duck Go with me has been quite easy.   I’m not sure if it’s the lure of the cute rubber duckies, but this game seems to have a much broader appeal.

This entry was posted by The_Null_Entry on Wednesday, July 20th, 2011 at 7:41 am and is filed under Abstract Logic Games, Board Game Reviews . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

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