Go Nuts for Donuts: Review

Not so long ago, Fairway did a preview of Go Nuts for Donuts! Today, he’s back with a brief review of the final, Kickstarted version of the game. 

Go Nuts for Donuts is a two- to six-player, family-friendly bidding and set-collection game. Even at high player counts, games finish in about 20-30 minutes.

Initial Impressions

  1. Compared to the preview copy, this game has made significant improvements. That says a lot since we enjoyed that early version of the game. They have even fixed some of the issues that I noted in the earlier version. Yay!
  2. The game has retained its core, but added even cuter art, improved some of the lower-player count interactions, and introduced a whole host of new ways to score points.
  3. The game is still just as fun as the original one. My kids will opt for a game of GNfD all the time, if I let them.

Game play

I won’t rehash the mechanics of the game in detail. If you’re interested, you can read about it here. But the basic gist of the game is that there is a deck of donut cards.  Each turn, a series of donut cards are turned face up in the middle and assigned a number from one to player count plus one.  Each donut card depicts a donut (or donut accompaniment like milk or coffee or bacon) and some sort of power. The power can just be points. It can be a scoring regime (e.g., collect a set of donuts or have the most of a kind). It can also be a one-time ability.

Check out this related TIGR story

Go Nuts for Donuts: Preview
Fairway loves donuts. No really, really loves donuts. So it should be no surprise that he wanted Go Nuts for Donuts is a two- to six- player blind bidding and set collection... read more...

On a each turn, players secretly place a bid card that refers to a donut of their choice face down and then simultaneously reveal them.  In numeric order, if a player is the only player to bid on a donut, they take it. If more than one player bid on a donut, it is discarded — no one gets it.  If no one bids on a donut, it remains until the next round.  This continues round over round until there are no donuts left.

At the end of the game, the player with the highest total score, wins.

On the green

The donut art. The art is somewhat reminiscent of the cute, humanoid art of Sushi Go! and even more so because the art is set against light pastel colored backgrounds.

Variation in cards.  I love the number of new donuts the Kickstarter campaign added. It makes games at higher player counts more interesting. It is a bit of a let down that some of the cards are only available at those higher counts, but it’s clear why and it was one of the issues with the preview version. In comparison to Sushi Go! again, this feels more like the Party version, which is a good thing, in the amount of scoring possibilities.

I absolutely loved the introduction of the Zombie donut and Day Old Donuts that bring some interesting discard pile strategies.

Set up and play time.  The set up is pretty simple. There is some start up time as you remove cards from the deck if you’re playing at less-than-full player counts, but the color-coordinated backgrounds (and little itty-bitty dots) assist in this. But this is a game that’s essentially a deck of cards and some bidding cards.  It’s quick and easy.  Similarly, once players get into the groove, rounds go pretty quickly. By the end of the game, players have seen most of the cards at least once and know what they do.

Teachability, young kids.  There’s almost no learning curve to this game. Play a round or two of example turns and even the youngest or newest gamer will figure it out. As such, this game will be a hit for family gamers, no doubt. And it’s yet another great replacement for not-so-great games like Uno. 

Real player choice. I noted in the preview, this game essentially implements a prisoner’s dilemma. There’s very often a “best” choice. But that best choice is the same donut everyone wants. So, is it better to go for a second best choice?  It’s also a lot like the following scene in A Beautiful Mind. It presents players with some real decision and choice. Also, since everyone’s current donut collection is public information, playing strategically to prevent players from getting sets is important too.

Where it comes up short

It’s pretty petty to complain about much for such a little card game. I do like the donut theme, but sometimes the donut theme seems forced. The plain donuts are a good example: why do you score more points for having the most? I dunno. That’s okay, though. It’s a game about donuts!

Also, I can’t tell if this is a positive or negative, but after one play of the new version, we went out for donuts! For some, this is definitely going to be a game play hazard.

In the hole

Like donuts themselves, Go Nuts for Donuts is a real treat. It’d be hard to find someone who doesn’t like the game. The game is easy to learn and the conflict for donuts is adorably fun. And No one shied away in fights for their own donuts. This game has gotten more play time from my kids than many other recent deliveries. And it’s likely to hit the table a bunch of times. That says something. If you happen to see the game at Target or your FLGS, you should absolutely pick it up.

Go Nuts for Donuts is in the hole for a Birdie.

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