If ever there was a game that I feel like I should be naturally good at, it’s Survival of the Fattest. I was sold on this game by the title alone and was eager to try the prototype version for the purpose of a preview ahead of its Kickstarter campaign launching on 25th October 2022.
As a prototype version, things may well change, especially over the course of a Kickstarter campaign. You have been warned!
How it plays
Survival of the Fattest combines some of my favourite game mechanics: hand management, set collection, worker placement and contract completion. While there is nothing overtly innovative, the way it is all packaged up makes it feel new, yet comfortably familiar.
Each player gets a deck of forage cards and some trick cards that are unique to their chosen character. Over the course of the game players will choose locations to obtain and store food while completing point scoring recipe cards too. These can activate bonuses or additional end game scoring.
In a game called Survival of the Fattest it won’t come as a surprise that if you don’t feed your chosen critter by the end of the game you lose. Assuming this has been done, the player with the most points wins.
Can you tell me more about the game?
The game is played over the three seasons prior to winter. Each round you will have to establish whether to forage for food, complete and reserve recipes, or stash food away to use in between seasons or at the end of the game. Your turn will be largely dictated by your hand of cards. For example an abundance of forage cards will see you go foraging, a hand of food will see you completing recipes or stashing your cards. A duff hand is mitigated by the opportunity to recycle cards at the start of your turn, the more you play, the more you see the importance of this in certain situations.
You can only feed your animal in-between seasons. Collecting and stashing the required food items prior to that point. Doing so early is beneficial, as once fed, an additional unique player power is unlocked. It is at this point you can also complete reserved menu cards. Again getting a stash of these early to work towards is important.
The game is quite restrictive, as you cannot revisit the same location consecutively. Much of the strategy therefore is in planning roughly what to do, and then working out when to do what. You will then build and thin your deck accordingly to maximise your opportunities.
There is a really good player aid that steps you through the game reminding players how a turn progresses.
At this prototype stage, Survival of the Fattest is billed as a medium weight family game aimed at ages 8 plus. Recommended ages are subjective, and for a board gaming family this might just be okay. However, based on my experience I think most 8 year olds will find the game a bit too long to hold their interest. For me it feels more like a 10 plus or probably even a 12 plus game.
Final thoughts on Survival of the Fattest
Considering I’m playing the prototype version, the presentation of Survival of the Fattest is incredible. The artwork throughout really is fantastic and goes a long way in giving this game some serious table presence. From little Flit the bird, to Ol’ Grizz the bear, each woodland critter is cute and has character which reflects their balanced but unique abilities. The food cards have luxurious artwork. Even the recipe cards have been carefully named for the dishes your collected food will be turned into. It’s these little details that make a big difference to the overall vibe of the game.
Survival of the Fattest is brilliantly bundled together and I can see lots of families having fun with it. Like all previews, I am eager to see the tweaks and minor changes that may occur in the lead up to and during the Kickstarter campaign. The miniatures are already brilliant yet I know they are one thing Dirty Rascal Games are still working on improving. I liked the standees just as much, if not more!
Survival of the Fattest is a Kickstarter campaign that is certainly worth following along! Keep your eyes peeled for its launch on 25th October 2022.