Foto Fish hooked my attention when it was nominated for the 2020 Kinderspiel des Jahres award. I instantly wondered if there was something fishy going on. I asked for a review copy and netted the game to find out. Whale, you’ve come to the right plaice if you don’t want to trawl though the internet looking for a review you can trust. Like always, I will keep it reel. I’ve penned our opinions because salmon had to say it and feel that we have now had some time to mullet over.
I was going to write a very so-fish-ticated introduction but frankly I couldn’t think of anything batter than these puns. I continued on that course, just for the halibut. Knowing if I didn’t, it would be a missed oppor-tuna-ty. So let’s proceed and find out how fintastic Foto Fish really is.
To set up, players take a tank. This is double-sided with the green side being easier than the blue. They also take a camera each, the yellow camera is easier than the red camera so you set up accordingly. A head and tail section of a fish is allocated to each player too.
The idea of the game is to get a fish that is too big for your tank, the first player to do so wins the game. Starting with the oldest player, players will take turns to roll the dice. The two colours of the dice dictate what each player has to find in their tank. Players will need to capture these two fish in their viewfinder without any other fish on display. The camera cannot be on a diagonal, nor can it be partially out of the tank. The dice has a blank side, if this is rolled only a single fish needs to be found in the viewfinder.
The person who finds the fish first shouts ‘click’, assuming they have found the fish correctly they will get a larger fish section. All other players continue to find the fish in their viewfinders saying ‘click’ when done. Assuming everyone’s photo is correct the other players get a smaller fish section each. Once a player has a fish too big for a tank, they are declared the victor!
What it’s like
Foto Fish is a hectic game. As you roll the dice and slide your viewfinder around the board hunting out the fish. I like how the game attempts to adjust the game for differing abilities making it a bit more inclusive for a varied age range. The more mature players at the table will still have an advantage over children, as the increase in difficulty does not quite cater for that. However, among siblings of a similar age, the handicap does work quite nicely. It is good to see an older brother or sister work that bit harder against the younger competitors!
The difficulty is adjusted as the blue tank has more fish in it, making it harder to get the perfect snap. The red viewfinder is harder as it has a larger aperture and sometimes needs to be rotated ninety degrees to get the perfect photo. So in essence it has quite a few different possibilities to tinker with the trickiness.
This is a fast game that will likely take around a quarter of an hour to play from beginning to end. If it went on for longer it may become a bit repetitive. As a grown-up I certainly wouldn’t want to play it more than twice in a row. However, those fifteen minutes are enjoyable enough.
Everyone playing at the same time creates a frenzy. Although you are only playing on your own board and cannot affect anyone else, it doesn’t feel like an insular gaming experience.
The components are all very good. The fish tank boards are sturdy as are the brightly coloured fish scoring sections.
The custom dice are brilliant. The illustration of the fish on the dice echoing the fish in the tanks are cute and colourful. The rule book is clear and illustrated nicely.
What the kids thought
Max (6): It’s a really, really, really, REALLY good game. I like building the big gigantic fish that’s too big for the tank and I enjoy using the camera to find a fish or two.
George (9): I think it’s a good dame, I like the challenge of it and trying to spot the fish quickly.
Harrison (12): I’m probably a bit old for it, but I still enjoy playing it. I like how the different boards and cameras makes it fair for all of us.
Final thoughts on Foto Fish
This is a good children’s game which will provide plenty of entertainment for younger children. Foto Fish is fast, frantic fun. The gameplay feels fresh and original to me and I enjoyed that aspect of it.
It is rare to find a game where all children can be competitive that doesn’t rely solely on luck, Foto Fish delivers exactly that.
I think a super hard challenge for adult players would have been a really nice addition to get all the family round the table. There isn’t much here for them. It would’ve also been nice to have some extra components to play up to five players.
The overall cute styling and originality make Foto Fish worth considering for young players. It is a very good children’s game and my boys have certainly had fun with it.
Number of players: 2 to 4
Board Game Review Recommended Age: 4+
Publisher’s Recommended Age: 4+
Playing Time: 15-20 minutes
Setting Up and Take Down Time: 1 minute
Designers: Shun Taguchi and Aya Taguchi
For a game that plays from ages four and up there is a surprising amount of fun that can be had by slightly older children too. However, they will probably want the excuse of a younger sibling to play it. Foto Fish provides a quick blast of competitive excitement for kids.
Artwork and Components
Value for Money
- Quick to play and easy to learn
- Not luck based
- Variable difficulty for each player
- Cute and good looking
- Not much for adults
- Children will grow out of it
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