21/04/2021

Fruit Punch: A card game with fruits and animals [Preview]

Hello, fellow board gamers, we are going to review an upcoming game, Fruit Punch! A couple of weeks ago, we got a preview copy of this game in Indonesia. Fruit Punch was developed by Daniel and Audrey, the founders of Fruit Punch Maker, a board game designing house in our home country! They will try to get their game funded through the popular crowdfunding platform, Kickstarter.

There’s a saying in Indonesia, “If you don’t get acquainted with it, you can’t love it!” Hence, we would like to help you become familiar with Fruit Punch.

Disclaimer: We had the preview copy for this review, and it was not the final version. There might be possible changes and alteration from the publisher regarding the components, printing and build quality, rules and concepts in the official released product.

AN OVERVIEW OF FRUIT PUNCH

Fruit Punch is a card game that implements two mechanics: card management and set collection. Just as the title indicates, the illustrations in this game are full of fruits, and mostly dominated by soft colours from pastel hue. It didn’t take long for us to finish a game. With less than 15 minutes, we could already have fun with it. Lastly, the game is also simple to teach and learn.

The portable box contains 62 cards, which consist of Fruit and Animal cards. Of course, Fruit Punch is accompanied by a sheet of paper explaining the every tiny bit of the game. From the setup to the how to play, the concise information really covers it all to make sure the players play the game right.

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Fanning all the 62 cards to show off Fruit Punch’s card back.

HOW TO PLAY

As aforementioned, Fruit Punch is undemanding and simple to learn. During the game, each player takes turns to draw card(s) from the Draw pile until one of them gets the Mad Monkey card. When this happens, the player who draws it gets knocked out. However, that does not mean s/he cannot do anything and gets eliminated. The Knocked-out player may still take actions and gather points. Whoever gets the most points at the end of the game comes out as the winner.

During his/her turn, this player may either play a card as an Action card or place it in his/her Player Field as a Point card. Moreover, the player has the option to not play any card at all! To end the turn, the player must draw at minimum a card from the pile. If the drawn card is an Animal, s/he must end the turn and triggers the skill printed on the card. The game continues clockwise.

MY OPINION ON FRUIT PUNCH

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Despite getting knocked out, the player can still gain more points through Action cards.

In a glance, many thought this game was similar to Exploding Kitten. However, after playing it several times, we noticed that Fruit Punch was more dominated by the strategy aspect to gather the most points. It was quite obvious when we played and observed that even after a player was knocked out (due to the Mad Monkey card), s/he could still take actions to maximize the points. This could be done by sacrificing Point cards in the Player Field and triggering its effect as an Action card.

For example, the Shady Lime card rewarded players with two points. When I had it in the Player Field got knocked out, I could use it as an Action card to force another player to give me his card and place it in my Player field. By discarding the Shady Lime to the discard pile, I obtained a new card in my field, and all was done while I was knocked out.

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A powerful combination from both cards to steal the Durian when you get knocked out.

What made the strategy aspect more imminent was the presence of several cards with possibly omnipotent effect. Just like what the Wall Street brokers always say, “High risk, high reward,” and so were these cards coming with major drawbacks. An example, there was this card (I kept the name undisclosed, trying not to spoil a lot) that enabled me to knock myself out during the game to give point reduction to a player. For me, this option came as an obvious choice to tackle the leading player, maybe to give me the chance to dethrone him.

This made Fruit Punch unique, distinguishing it from other similar games. If most card games out there eliminate players with certain drawn cards, we didn’t find anything like that here. When I got knocked out, I could devise my strategy to win the game as well. At some point, I did want to get knocked out soon to bring the game to an end. For example, it happened once because I was already leading in points, thanks to the Pina Granada card. It was an interesting move!

We also found the artworks shrouding every inch of this game cute. I am pretty sure Fruit Punch can be a hit for families.

Some in-game experience

There were definitely some tensed moments in Fruit Punch, especially when we drew the cards from the pile. Should I draw more than a card now? Well, I could risk it, but what if an Animal card comes out then? Or even worse, the Mad Monkey. So many layers of consideration were there, the players needed to know when and which card to play in the Field.

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The animal cards with the infamous Mad Monkey.
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Yummy combo between Durian and Honey cards. I wonder how it tastes for real.

Sometimes, you felt like you wanted to play the Durian and Honey card combination soon. This combo guaranteed 30 points when played in the Field. However, haste was not always a friend in Fruit Punch. You had to be careful when you saw your opponent had two Banana cards in hands. With both cards combined, it brought rages upon you when one of your card combination was stolen.

CLOSING STATEMENTS

Fruit Punch is so much fun! My group demanded to play it over again and again. They were always curious when they faced defeat. Thanks to its fast tempo, we could play up to five sessions in an hour.

Obviously, Fruit Punch is suitable to be a gateway game for new potential players. It can be an alternative to have fun with your friends who love casual games. I dare to say that the game could have brought more card and power variation. Will they release some others through their Kickstarter’s stretch goals? Likewise, I really can’t wait for it!

Original text & pictures: Eddy S. Tandya
Editor & translator: Stephan Celebesario Sonny

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