Let them Fight ... the Birdie Fight!
You and your fellow forest spirits watch intently, will your chosen champions succeed. It is a contest for territory and of course more importantly...nuts and in the end, only one type of bird will fly to the top and the others will be put to flight. This is the story of Birdie Fight by Kocchiya and Designer Yuo.
In the tradition of many made in Japan board games, Biridie Fight is a small, short and sweet game that has artwork that reminds players of days when one is just relaxing in the park watching nature go by. This, on top of its simple yet thoughtful gameplay provides an experience that is cliche to say for anything Japanese but feels most Zen like.
Birdie Fight is a one to four player hand management game. The game is played over two rounds and starts by setting up the scoring nut tokens randomly on each row and column of a five by five grid. Then one card is revealed in the middle of the grid. Players then get a number of cards depending on the number of players in the game from the draw deck and then the fight is on.
The way a player's turn goes is deadly simple, you just play a card from your hand onto the grid adjacent (not diagonally) to any existing card on the grid. The cards comes in the form of four distinct bird colours and ranges from one to seven. In a four player game, an Owl card that is mixed into the deck too, which can be played to replace any existing card on the grid and allows the player to move the existing card elsewhere on the grid, which adds a lot of new decisions to a four player game.
A round ends when the whole grid is filled and then scoring is done. Each row and column is checked to see which colour bird has the highest total and that bird is awarded the respective nut token onto its picture on the game's box cover, which is both for easy scoring and is aesthetically pleasing.
The unique factor that elevates the game though is that if there is a tie between the highest totals in a row or column, then next highest total is the winner of the nut token. Thus middle and low number cards now have just as much value as a higher number card in the game.
After that is done, you now show the last card in your hand and that is your chosen champion (The colour of the bird) and add that bird's total score to the value of the card you have shown. This can be important as even though usually, this number will be insignificant compared to the total of the nut tokens but if everybody has chosen the same colour bird as their champion, then the number on your last card will decide who has the highest total.
Birdie Fight is a fun, zen like game that comes with a decent amount of tactical and strategic choices that are most satisfying and has worked with every group I have played it with and whose artwork is so good even passerbys stop to look at the game in progress.
So come fly by TOYTAG at HarbourFront and pick up this little bundle of naturally themed joy now. The game rules comes in both English and Japanese and also has rules for a solitaire/co-op mode for one to two players.