A while back I wrote an article about taking games with you when you travel (see here) and Nate Scheidler, Organizer of Chicago Boardgames Meetup Group, said that he packs a game called Pickomino. Although I’d heard of it, I hadn’t played it so I bought it and tried it out.
Pickomino is a dice and tile game published by Rio Grande Games here in the US which has a knack for finding great German-style family strategy games and publishing them in English for the game-loving American public. They work closely with the German publishers to ensure the essence of the game is carefully translated into English and have produce such games as Puerto Rico, Carcassonne and Lost Cities. Haven’t heard of these? You’ll probably only find them in specialty game stores or on the game shelf of your true “gamer” friends.
Back to Pickomino, its inventor is the prolific German game inventor Reiner Knizia (he also invented Easy Come, Easy Go reviewed HERE) and he’s done a great job of adding in a little strategy and some interesting twists to a familiar-feeling dice game. The goal of Pickomino is to collect as many roast worms as possible (apparently they are all the rage amongst the chickens). You do this by rolling eight dice and collecting the highest possible point total — without busting. The eight dice are numbered 1-5 plus one red worm, which is worth five points. You bust when you’ve used up all the dice and haven’t rolled at least one worm or you don’t roll any new numbers on your turn. If you don’t bust on your turn, you collect the tile that is the same number, or the next available one down, from the total you’ve rolled. (If you don’t roll a high enough number for an available tile, this is also considered a bust.) The tile will have 1-4 worms on it and the winner is whoever has collected the most worms on their tiles at the end of the game! There’s also a little bit of stealing and you have to return worms if you bust so there’s a bit going on but it’s easy to grasp and explain to others once you’ve sifted through the directions – which took us two reads, but was well worth the effort.
Ironically, I like this game but I’m terrible at it. I have the worst rolling luck – yet with it’s great catch-up factor I was able to come back from a 12 worms deficit to win last night! A little stellar rolling by me and some poor rolling by my opponent and I was back in the game!
The Game Aisle game testers found Pickomino fun with 2 players as well as 4-5 (we didn’t try more than that). There is a bit of adding so this is a great game to play with kids so they learn quick addition without the assistance of their iPhone’s calculator function!
~$20-$25 at Amazon and some specialty game retailers
2 – 7 Players (tried both 2 and 4-5 and it played well, did not try 6-7)
Ages 8 and up