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November 7th, 2015 Leave a comment Go to comments

Mushroom Varietal Points…now THERE’S a term I’ve never heard used before.  I suppose I should have expected it, seeing as how “Morels” is all about mushrooms.  In short, “Morels” is a set collecting game that tasks players with gathering & cooking three or more like mushrooms in order to earn MVPs.  Alternatively, they can sell sets of two or more for foraging sticks, which act as currency and allows them to expand their future collecting options.  Sounds rather tasty…just keep an eye out for the Destroying Angel for it’ll make you incredibly sick.  Allow me to explain…



Morels: 2 Players, Ages 10+, Average Play Time = 30 Minutes



The game includes 92 cards (84 day cards, 8 night cards), 20 foraging tokens, 2 pan tokens, 2 guide cards, and a rulebook.

Setup & Gameplay

The night and day decks are shuffled separately.  Eight are drawn face-up from the day deck to form the forest, a long horizontal row between the two players.  Each player gets three cards from the day deck to form their starting hand, along with one pan token.  Two cards on one end of the forest will be considered “At your feet”, representing the location of the two players at all times.  The empty space beside it will be known as the decay pile, which is where mushrooms go as they are left behind.  As players take from the forest, cards slide toward the decay pile and new ones are drawn at the other end.

On a player’s turn, they MUST perform one of the following actions (no passing):

1. Take a card from the forest, so as long as it doesn’t exceed their hand limit of eight cards.  The cards “at your feet” are free.  The rest require foraging sticks equal to one stick per card beyond the two “at your feet”.  The third card out from the two “at your feet”, for example, would cost three foraging sticks.  Collected mushrooms are placed into the player’s hand.  Collected baskets (increases your hand limit by two) or destroying angels (limits your hand size) go into their play area without them counting against their hand limit.  Moon cards are immediately discarded and the player will then draw a night card to add to their hand.

2. Take all cards from the decay, so as long as it doesn’t exceed their hand limit.

3. Cook three or more like mushrooms (one type of mushroom per turn).  A pan card or pan token is required.  Butter can be played along with them to add more points, however you’ll need a set of four or more mushrooms.  Cider acts the same way, but needs a set of five or more mushrooms.  A pan can only be used once.

4. Sell two or more like mushrooms (one type of mushroom per turn).  These cards are discarded and the player takes the appropriate number of foraging sticks (each mushroom lists a foraging stick value).  The players earn sticks per card, not per set.

5. Play an empty pan.  To free up space in a player’s hand, they can play an empty pan card in front of them to be used on a future turn.

After a player does on of these, they’ll move the closest card to the decay into the decay.  The decay can never have more than four cards (if it does, the cards are discarded).  The cards then slide toward the decay to fill empty spots.  More cards are drawn from the day deck on the far side of the forest so that it has eight cards.

Players continue taking turns until no cards remain in the forest.  Players add up the MVP on each cooked mushroom (doubling the MVP on night cards) as well as any butter or cider cards in their MVP pile.  The person with the most points, wins!

Editor’s Note: The above doesn’t cover all of the rules found in the manual, but should give you an idea as to how the game is played.

The Review

A set-collecting game at heart, “Morels” is easy to pick up and play.  The effects of the destroying angel can be a little confusing at first…luckily there’s a Q&A in the back of the manual.  The artwork is eye-catching and the gameplay pretty fun.  I like that the cards serve a dual purpose in that players can choose to either use it for VP or earn sticks, the latter of which can be used to expand upon your picking options in the future.  It’s a little pricey at $25 (the current price on Amazon as of 11/6/15), but still worth picking up if you enjoy two player light-strategy games.

Final Verdict: 7/10

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