First of all, if you get that Mono Puff reference, YOU WIN! (There are no actual prizes, though...)
Anyway. In Texas (and most southern states) there is a species of birds known as Grackles. They're black, with an iridescence about them that can make them also appear blue, purple, and even greenish in color. They're known for gathering, or should I say laughing, on telephone lines. (Okay, that's the last Mono Puff reference...)
Grackles is an abstract game for 2-4 players that will have you trying to line up the most of your bird tokens on the modular board. Once the game is over, the player with the most tokens on the board wins.
So is Grackles the kind of fun you want to line up for? Or should we just shoo it away? Let's find out!
- Board Tiles - There are two starting tiles marked with small black triangles
- Bird Tokens - There are 180 of them! 45 of each of four colors (Purple, Blue, Green, and Black)
- Rotate Tokens - 20 of these (5 for each player in each color)
And that's it!
This game sets up SUPER quickly. Each player picks a color and takes their birds and rotate tokens. Then you take the two starting tiles and place the triangles facing each other in the middle of the table. Shuffle up the remaining 23 tiles, and you're good to go!
The gameplay is very easy to learn. You have a single action to take on your turn, and then the next player goes.
You have 4 possible actions to choose from:
- Draw a tile and place it-- Take the top tile from the pile and decide where to put it. You can't make the board mishapen. It can only be a 5x5 square. So if you'd place it in a way that would make it larger than 5 tiles in any direction, you'd better think again!
- Place bird tokens--You can place tokens that would connect two empty spots of your color.
- Extend a line--As long as it continues in a straight line you can connect to a line you've already started by adding more bird tokens up to another empty spot in your color.
- Rotate an empty tile--You have to spend one of your 5 rotate tokens to do this, but it can be super helpful!
Once all of the tiles have been placed, and there are no longer any legal plays that can be made, the game ends and the player with the most tokens on the board is the winner!
If Grackles sounds easy to learn and somewhat lightweight, then (spoiler alert), it's because it is. I got this game in the mail and my boys and I were playing it within minutes. That's not a criticism. I'm just letting you know what you're in for when you sit down to a game of Grackles. A lightweight, abstract filler.
Because it's easy and quick to learn Grackles is a great casual game, but it's puzzley enough to make each turn's decision interesting and challenging.
The theme is (admittedly) very loose on this one, but it is an abstract so that's no problem. The components are great. The tokens, while plastic, have a really nice heft to them!
The Final Verdict
Grackles, is a fun, lightweight abstract that's great for casual and family game nights. The lighter nature of this one might turn off your more "serious" gamers but, all in all, Grackles is a nicely balanced filler with interesting gameplay and a super-quick learning curve!
Thanks so much for reading! Have you played Grackles? We'd love to hear your thoughts on it. Just comment below or email us by clicking the contact button up top!
We'd like to thank Fireside Games for providing a review copy of Grackles; this in no way influenced our opinion.