Reviewed by: Joe Huber
(Taikikennai Games, 2 to 4 players, ages 10 and up, 10 minutes; about $24 plus shipping)
Back in 2000, Stephan Riedel created a new genre of game. Old Town is often classified as a deduction game, but it’s not – players have no information to deduce. Instead, they make plays in order to try to prove information, scoring for doing so. As a result, I’ve taken to calling such games “Proof” games. Riedel has designed multiple other games in the genre, such as 2013 release Café Melange, but likely the best known game to qualify is Tobago, the 2009 release. Still, not many Proof games have been designed; I don’t expect to randomly come across one. So you can imagine my surprise when I received a shipment from Japan including Too Many Cinderellas and, looking through the game, discovered it to be a Proof game.
One of the great appeals of current Japanese game design is the wide variety of styles being used; in many ways, the Japanese game design world of today resembles the German game design world of the mid-1990s. But even given that, I would never have anticipated the release of a Proof game – or the clever connection to a theme employed. Too Many Cinderellas, designed by Nobutake Dogun and Nao Shimamura, is a 2 to 4 player game where players attempt to prove that one of their candidates for Cinderella is, in fact, the actual Cinderella. The story follows the fairy tale well, though the prince depicted in the game seems to be even less observant than in the story; the prince is not even certain of the gender or species of the girl he danced with.
At the start of the game, each player is dealt four cards, each of which has a number between 1 and 18. Each card will be used, at the holder’s discretion, either as a candidate for Cinderella or as an informant telling the prince something about Cinderella such as that she didn’t wear glasses or didn’t have blond hair. But each player also receives two vote tokens; an “OK” token that can be used as many times as desired and a “NO” token that can be used to veto just one informant. In turn, players play one of their cards as an informant and then go through a second round of playing informants. Then one random card from those left over is turned over as a final informant. The player with the best – defined as the lowest numbered – candidate who has not been eliminated wins.
The English translation for Too Many Cinderellas is not the most clear; as a result, we weren’t sure just how things were going to work as we went to start our first game. But our reaction to our first game – let’s play it one more time – has become a common one; most of the plays I’ve collected have come in pairs. A lot of the appeal derives from the theme, which is not only immediately familiar but amusingly carried out.
The definition of a modern microgame is subject to significant debate, but under most definitions, Too Many Cinderellas qualifies. The game consists of just 27 components: 18 cards representing the candidates/informers, OK and NO tokens for each player, and one extra NO token for possible use by one informant. It’s probably not a surprise, then, that the game plays very quickly; a full game, with experienced players, can be completed in as little as 5 minutes. In spite of the tricky English rules, the game is not difficult to understand; by the end of the first game, players are typically ready to play again in no small part because they see what they wish to do differently the next time.
Unfortunately, the game is not easy to get a hold of. Like many Japanese games, it was released at the Tokyo Games Market, and unless you know someone who attends, it will be difficult to acquire a copy – and not nearly as inexpensive as the minimal components would suggest due to the expense of shipping.
One of the appeals of the game is in seeing different characters being demonstrated to be Cinderella. The 18th character – the “worst” candidate – is a cat; I suspect one goal for nearly every player is to win by having the cat be demonstrated to be Cinderella. In thirty plays, I haven’t seen it happen; the highest numbered candidate I’ve seen someone win with is #15. But it’s another element that draws people back to the game
I received Too Many Cinderellas not by request but as part of a subscription service. I didn’t know what to expect but I enjoyed it immediately and it has grown to become my favorite 2014 release so far. It works well (if with a different feel) with either three or four players and, while not everyone has been open to playing more than twice, the common interest in a second game is a nice feature.
But in the end, what makes the game a winner for me is the fact that it’s a smart, fun game. Old Town and Tobago are very enjoyable games but more cerebral. The short length of Too Many Cinderellas makes for a game that is more chaotic but still with real opportunities to play well and the knowledge that even when things go wrong, you can play again.
Have feedback? We’d love to hear from you.
Other Fall 2014 GA Reports
Reviewed by: Kevin Whitmore (Numbskull Games, 3 to 6 players, ages 8 and up, 1-2 hours; $59.99)
Numbskull Games latest offering is C.C. Higgins Rail Pass. This is a game for railroad fans. The show piece of the game is the large and detailed railroad map of North America. As a railroading game fan, I have seen a lot of railroad maps. But this map ...Read More
Reviewed by: Marty Goldberger (Rio Grande Games, 2 to 5 players, ages 12 and up, 100+ minutes; $64.95)
It is said that "All roads lead to Rome". In Concordia, the latest design from Mac Gerdts (creator of such gems as Imperial and Navegedor), the roads lead FROM Rome. In this game, an excellent melding of deck-building and production/territory acquisition, players are vying to score the ...Read More
Reviewed by: Chris Kovac (The Game Master, 1 to 6 players, ages 12 and up, 30 minutes; $39.99)
Countdown: Special Ops is a 1-6 player co-operative game designed by Dutch game designers, Hans Van Tol and Gertjan Oomis, where players are members of a counter terrorist team performing various missions which need to be accomplished before time runs out. To set up the game, you ...Read More
Reviewed by: Greg J. Schloesser (Noris Spiele, 2 to 4 players, ages 8 and up, 20 minutes; €22.99)
I've always wanted to write a short, concise review that encapsulates a game in just one short sentence. With Cuatro, I think I can do just that: Connect 4 meets Yahtzee. There you have it. OK. You know I cannot stop there; I am far too verbose ...Read More
Face (book) Forward Face it. The world is getting smaller. You can credit (or blame, depending on your point of view) technology for that. Scientific advances used to create the internet, smart phones, Skype, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook have made it happen. While technology may not always be our friend, there's no denying its impact. So, Gamers Alliance is once again facing forward - and ...Read More
Reviewed by: Herb Levy (Days of Wonder, 2 to 4 players, ages 13 and up, 40-80 minutes; $60)
There is something rather romantic - and exciting - about the lands and times of the Arabian Nights. Game designers have been well aware of that as many games have that time and locale as their setting. The latest game to make use of that venue comes from ...Read More
Reviewed by: Al Newman (Czech Games Edition, 1-4 players, ages 8 to adult, about 30 minutes; $4.99)
They say in space, no one can hear you scream. But they may hear you laugh. A lot. Particularly if you're playing Czech Games brand new iPad app Galaxy Trucker ($4.99 for a limited time). This is a faithful representation of the board game with one wonderful exception ...Read More
Reviewed by: Andrea "Liga" Ligabue (Portal Publishing, 1 to 4 players, ages 10 and up, 20 minutes per player; $55.99)
There is no doubt I'm a fan of Ignacy Trzewiczek productions: Stronghold, Pret-a-Porter, Robinson Crusoe and the 51st State series. So, I was really intrigued reading about Imperial Settlers, an empire building card game that inherits some core mechanics from 51st State. What I really like ...Read More
Reviewed by: Peter Sbirakos
[In this issue, we say "G'day" to Australian Peter Sbirakos as we welcome him to our pages. Like many of us, Peter started his gaming early. He says: "I purchased my first game in 1979 at the tender age of 12 from the supermarket which was Attack Force by the TSR company. Over the next few years in the early 1980s ...Read More
Reviewed by: Pevans (Asmadi Games, 2 to 6 players, ages 13 and up, 15-20 minutes per player; $30)
“The impulse is an only child, he’s waiting in the park…” I don’t know what it is, but the title of this game starts Duran Duran’s “The Reflex” running through my head… just me, then. I’d better tell you about the game. Impulse is designed by Carl ...Read More
Reviewed by: Herb Levy (Mayfair Games/Lookout Games, 2 to 4 players, ages 10 and up, 60-90 minutes; $35)
The exotic city of Johari nestled in Jaipur is the hub for gems, jewelry and jewel sales. Players, as gem merchants in that far off locale, compete in selling valuable gems (as well as fakes) in order to gain the most prestige in this new game by ...Read More
Reviewed by: Frank Hamrick (IDW Games, 2 to 4 players, ages 8 and up, 30 minutes; about $24)
Machi Koro was one of the real hits at Essen 2013. This Japanese game designed by Masao Suganuma was in great demand, in part because there were relatively few copies available in English (a few more in Japanese). In addition, the beautiful artwork and simple, yet engaging game ...Read More
Reviewed by: Herb Levy (Hurrican Games/Asmodee, 2 to 4 players, ages 8 and up, 30-45 minutes; $39.99)
The 19th century was a time when pirates sailed the seas and, during that turbulent time, Madame Ching was one of the fiercest. As one of the few female pirates, Madame Ching roamed the China Sea commanding at the height of her career about 2000 ships and 50,000 ...Read More
Reviewed by: Herb Levy ( R&R Games, 2 to 4 players, ages 12
and up, 60 minutes; $39.99) It's exciting to explore unknown lands and claim them for king and country. It's quite another thing to solidify that hold on the land by colonizing it! This was not an easy task for those brave souls in the New World but that is the challenge players must face in ...Read More
Reviewed by: James Davis
The themes of these games of ours are as varied as we are. We have games about virtually every war and event in history. There are games about space travel, science, fantasy, trains and even theme-less abstracts. And we have at least a couple hundred games just about trading during the Italian Renaissance. That is one of the things I like ...Read More
Reviewed by: Joe Huber (Taikikennai Games, 2 to 4 players, ages 10 and up, 10 minutes; about $24 plus shipping)
Back in 2000, Stephan Riedel created a new genre of game. Old Town is often classified as a deduction game, but it’s not – players have no information to deduce. Instead, they make plays in order to try to prove information, scoring for doing so ...Read More