By Rick Teverbaugh
The Herald Bulletin
— At first glance, it might seem that Morels falls into the category of “They can make a game out of anything.”
Morels is a game about collecting mushrooms and then cooking or selling them. It is a game for two players and plays in about 30 minutes.
The cards that players have access to from the deck are arranged in a horizontal row and normally the final two are available for the player whose turn it is to select one of the two. There are eight cards arranged in this manner, making it possible to see what is coming up. Groups of mushrooms can be sold to purchase foraging sticks, which can be used to pick a card beyond those first two. Those are a couple of ways that this game plays very true to its theme.
But where did the idea for the game originate?
“Kaleen, my wife, threw me a mushroom tasting party for my 33rd birthday, knowing that I loved mushrooms but had never tasted the gourmet varieties like morels, chanterelles, or porcini,” said game creator Brent Povis. “That week, I was also developing core mechanics for what I envisioned would be a set collection game. It could have been a conveyor belt in a factory perhaps, but when brainstorming yielded the idea of a forest, that was clearly the winner. We love to hike, exploring woods, streams, and mountains whenever a free day crops up. The question then was what to collect on a walk in the woods. The answer was obvious…mushrooms!”
The game flow is a strong element in the game. Once the mechanics and the purpose of the cards is learned, it very much feels like a search for muschrooms.
“Creating a game that has a peppy pace with tactical but non-paralytic flow was a core goal with Morels, as it will be for any game that we release,” said Brent. His company, Two Laterns Games, intends to do games that focus on the two-player variety and play in less than an hour.
The game suggested for players age 10 and older and that feels about right.
This is a very good game with an entertaining theme. But I believe there needs to be more variety in the cards in the deck, though not necessarily more different mushrooms. Also, if the shuffle of the cards leaves a majority of the pans needed to cook the cards at the bottom, the game will be annoyingly slow. I would humbly propose that sets of mushrooms could be sold for pans as well as foraging sticks.
“While Kaleen and I have come up with some fun ideas for cards that would alter gameplay in interesting ways, ultimately we enjoy the game so much as is that I am hesitant to tinker, a great problem to have,” said Brent.
They will be on hand beginning Aug. 16 in Indianapolis for GenCon. Area gamers can try this game and meet the designers.
“This will be our first Gen-Con and we could not be more excited about it,” said Brent. “Kaleen and I will be at the Two Lanterns booth in Entrepreneurs' Row, ready for a walk in the woods should you like to stop by.”
Find out more about the game at: http://twolanternsgames.com/morelsgame.html It sells for $24.95 and for an extra $4.95 there are custom pans and foraging sticks that can be used instead of the cardboard tokens. But there is a waiting list for those and they likely won’t be ready until fall.