No. of players: 2
Amount of time to play: 30-45 min
Age requirements: 10+
Set-up time: minimal
Morels is a two-player card game of set collection. You must gather matching mushrooms and cook them. The more you have the more you score but some are rarer and score you more points.
You start Morels with three cards and a pan. You place a row of eight cards in the center of the table called the forest. On your turn you must do one of the following actions. Take a card from the forest, take all cards in the decay area, cook three or more matching mushrooms, sell two or more matching mushrooms, or play an empty pan.
If you want to take a card from the forest, you can only take the two cards furthest from the draw pile. At the end of each turn you place the card furthest from the draw pile in the decay area. If there would ever be four cards in the decay you discard them. You can take all the cards in the decay area if you do not exceed your hand limit (which starts at eight). Cooking your sets of mushrooms will score you points at the end of the game. If you only have two matching mushrooms you can sell them. Selling mushrooms get you a certain number of foraging sticks. The sticks can be discarded to take cards beyond the normal two. For each card beyond the second you must spend one stick. Playing a pan gives you a place to cook your mushrooms.
After your turn you put a card into decay. Then you slide cards away from the draw deck and the refill the forest.
The Destroying Angel is a mushroom that when collected requires to discard cards and doesn’t allow you to draw more. It lasts as many rounds as you have pans with cooked mushrooms in them.
There are a couple other card types in the deck too: baskets, moons, butter and cider. Baskets are placed in front of you and increase your hand size by two. Moons let you forage from the night deck. Mushrooms in this deck count as two mushrooms in your set. Butter and cider allow you to score bonus points for having large sets. Once you cook your mushrooms you cannot add more mushrooms into that pan. But if you lay four or more you can add butter to the pan. If you have five or more in your set you can add cider to score even more.
Once you have gone through the entire deck you add up your cooked pans of mushrooms. Whoever scores the most wins the game.
Quick Review of Morels:
Morels is a fun card game for two that is easy to teach and play. Set collection and hand management win you this game that can be enjoyed by young and old alike.
The art, cards and rules for this game are great. The rules are easy to read and follow with lots of examples. And the art and quality of the components are top-notch too.
Morels is full of tough decisions. There are some rounds where the best choice is obvious, but more often you’ll need to make some tough judgements. It keeps the game tense and really pulls you in.
I like how easy it is to teach and play. You can explain this game and begin playing it in five to ten minutes. This is a great game to play with non-gamers. That said gamers will enjoy it too.
The theme in Morels is gathering mushrooms and though it seems strange it really works here. The forest represented by the center row with the first two being close to you makes sense. Especially once you add in the sticks and getting further up the path. I am not sure how well I connect with the theme, but it does add a nice touch.
Morels is another great two player game. I am sure it will be on my next top ten two player board game list. It has lots of meaningful, tense decisions and a nice balance of luck and strategy. This game will hit the table a lot and can be a nice way to spend an evening with your spouse or significant other. You can enjoy this game with people of all ages and you should.
Score and synopsis: (Click here for an explanation of these review categories.)
Strategy 4 out of 6
Luck 4 out of 6
Player Interaction 4 out of 6
Replay Value 4 out of 6
Complexity 2 out of 6
Fun 5 out of 6
Overall 5 out of 6