Ursuppe is a very
fine, very fun game. The expansion, amazingly enough, makes it more
than twice as fun! If you have Ursuppe, you must get this
expansion. If you don't have Ursuppe, then you need to
buy both the basic game and this expansion. What are you waiting for?
Freshly Spiced contains a fair bit of material for such a
small box: two new colors of amoebas to play 5 or 6 players, the
necessary foodstuffs and scoring stones for those amoebas, some
Biological points in denominations of "2", more damage markers, two new
sets of cards (!), and rules and enough players' aid sheets for six
people. As with the original game, the rules, players' aid sheets, and
backs of the cards are in English, ready to play.
The new cards: I said two new sets, and that's sort of accurate.
Actually, what you have are one set of 26 new genes, one card of each.
These can be used with anywhere from three to six players. The other
set contains 39 gene cards, representing the same genes found in the
original game, but in different quantities, and occasionally different
costs and effects. These are strictly for use with five or six players
- use the old gene cards if playing with three or four players. But do
add the new genes, even if using the old set - they're a lot of fun!
At this point, I must put in a disclaimer. Some of the new genes are
credited to me. On a gene
testing grounds web page, I collected new gene ideas from various
folk, including myself. Frank Nestel, the game designer, took some
from my page, and some from other sources, and, getting permission from
contributors, added them to the expansion. So if my enthusiasm sounds
partisan, it is. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't see for yourself!
First, how does the game play with five or six? Surprisingly well.
The board hasn't changed, except you start out to number six on the
scoring track, of course. Otherwise, you are just fitting more amoebas
in the existing board. This makes for a very populous board - but
fortunately, there are two new colors of foodstuffs to eat. An amoeba
only needs to eat four different colored cubes to survive, so with six
players, that gives you some leeway.
Nonetheless, food becomes a problem before too long, and amoebas must
learn to cope with it. Fortunately, the new genes give you some new
strategies to try. Fast Food, for example, allows you to break
the normal "move, then eat" pattern, if you desire: you can eat before
you move. Suction lets you eat one cube from an adjacent space,
while Suction II (an Advanced gene), allows you to choose two.
Energy Conservation allows you to gain Biological Points if you
just drift - those can be used to move other amoebas to food supplies,
if necessary. And Camouflage I and Camouflage II allow
amoebas with Struggle for Survival to eat other amoebas with
Escape or Defense. Heh, heh, heh.
Other entertaining new genes include the Social Gene: if you're
in last place, those six or more spaces ahead of you must pay you build
points. Or PhD, which is an advanced version of
Intelligence: still worthless, except to give you two genes'
worth of advancement!
Migration Sensing allows you to peek ahead at the Environment
card; Hard Crust means it costs predators twice as many BP to
eat you; More than a Mouthful means you don't die when eaten,
just take damage; Highly Adaptable allows you to swap genes;
Flexible means new genes cost less; Toxic Excretions
means you become a dropper, basically; Go Out with a Bang allows
you to kill other amoebas in your space when you die; Healing
allows you to, well, heal damage; and Healing 2 makes you into a
vampire amoeba: not only do you heal damage, you stick onto other
amoebas! Oh, and the Doris & Frank gene means you get to decide
the next game to play if you end the game with it. Better grab that
All in all, the new genes make the game a lot more fun. Basic
Ursuppe is an excellent game, don't get me wrong. It's
just that sometimes it was a bit frustrating when you started in last
place and everyone else grabbed all the best genes before your turn.
With the old game, being in last place was usually a distinct
disadvantage that was hard to recover from. Now, however, there are so
many choices that it doesn't matter that five people have chosen genes
before you - there are still fun and potent genes to choose from! Not
only that, you can take the Social Gene and make them pay for
the privelege of starting ahead of you ...
So get this game - you owe it to yourself to go out with a bang, if
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