The Whatnot Cabinet: A Kickstarter Preview

Game: The Whatnot Cabinet

  • Publisher: Pencil First Games
  • Designed by: Eduardo Baraf and Steve Finn
  • Illustrated by: Beth Sobel
  • Ages 8+
  • 2-4 players
  • 30 minutes

Remember when you were younger and would go outside? The fresh air was like a stirring to the soul, encouraging us to explore. Along the many paths we’d take there would be little trinkets. A smooth stone here, a little toy left behind, maybe a leaf that had turned a beautiful red shade would come across you as you went along. Some things you would take home to put on a shelf, and that collection of trinkets and knickknacks would pass into memory…

The Whatnot Cabinet brings back that feeling of being a kid again, and sharing those feelings with our own children has been a great reminder of our youth.

Gameplay

In The Whatnot Cabinet, you are collecting objects and scoring points for having the best Whatnot Cabinet.

Each player receives a Cabinet and a pawn of their matching color. (In a two player game, the player will use two pawns.) Then each player will place their pawn on the action board according to their position. Over the course of six rounds (three for two player), players will be collecting curio tiles, items of value such as gems, bottles, small animals and leaves, in hopes to fill their cabinet with the best collection. These items may be found in the curio tile bag or the outdoors, an area where adventure awaits.

In order to collect tiles, the player must pick one out of the five possible actions. These actions could be adding to your collection from the bag, adding to the outdoors and then to your collection or even resetting the great outdoors and collecting two tiles from the newly available pieces.

Scoring on your cabinet depends on colors and objects. A row of similar objects (ie all gems) will result in 3 curio tokens (points). A row with different objects will result in 1 curio token.

Columns are based on colors. Different colors equals 2 curio tokens while the same colors equal 4 curio tokens. How you place your tiles makes for an interesting strategy that will succeed or fail miserably depending on how you play.

Once players have all played on an action spaces not taken by another player, they will clear the outdoors and reset. Then they will move their pawns to the turn order space matching the action spaces.

Throughout the game there are Wonder Cards and Curiosity Cards which could help a player find a strategy to win. Curiosity Cards are cards that can be claimed by a player who has met a condition. For example there is a card with conditions of playing each color on the cabinet. Once someone has done so, they can take the card as their own and score for it at the end of the game. Wonder Cards are cards that give an edge to all players as it pertains to having certain objects. These objects will gain extra points for each one you have.

Having a large amount of objects related to the Wonder Card will pay off greatly in the game.

Lastly there are tiles with crowns and point/clearing tiles that you will encounter. Curio tiles with crowns get you more points. Point Tiles will have you do certain conditions and then place outside of your cabinet. The clearing tiles will have you resetting the outdoors and claiming tiles from there.

Each crown is worth an additional point.

Once all rounds are complete, players will score their cabinet, wonder cards, crowns, curiosity cards and where they are on the turn order spaces at the end of the game. The player with the most points is declared the winner!

Elijah collecting his Curio Tiles
Components

This artwork is beautiful. Each tile has just the right amount of detail and the cabinet looks like a Kallax shelf, perfect for a board game enthusiast. The pawns are a nice wooden design and the overall production is well worth having at the table.

Each piece has its own little detail down to the carpet under the cabinets.

One note, we were able to play with the Fascination Expansion and it adds a challenge to collect specific colored objects. This is a nice addition to change up strategies.

Our Family’s Thoughts

Abigail (not a hoarder or particularly fond of animals, but appreciates quality time together): it was a good game, easy to learn and easy to play and fun. It is fun with the family or just 2 players. Recommendation: Try it.

Beth: I feel like this game had a little bit for everyone. I was focused on strategizing placement while my kids had fun with their collections and we still had fairly similar scores. It was important to remember the cards that give you extra points for accomplishments, those gave the extra edge to the game. We enjoyed it and it went quick enough that everyone stayed focused (big plus for a family game). Recommendation: Buy It!

Chris: I love this game. It’s quick to play, easy to teach and fun for the whole family. There is something great when you get that feeling of your younger days. This game brought back memories of collecting sticks and leaves and seeing as my kids have done the same on walks. The artwork and gameplay fit well with our family and I would recommend this be a game your family backs. Recommendation: Buy It!

An example of a two player game where Abigail defeated me. Those leaves are what got her the win!

Daniel (11 year old hoarder of anything collectible): I like how the game is about collecting things because I like collecting rocks and gems and finding things that are unique. I liked the design of the tiles and the cabinet looked cool with the pieces in it. Recommendation: Buy It!

Elijah (9 year old with a cat obsession): I liked how there were kitties in it. I collected gems and animals because the gems looked cool and I like kitties. Recommendation: Buy It!

The Whatnot Cabinet deserves to be on your table. It’s a quick filler full of fun and we give it a 4.6 Goodlets out of 5.

The Whatnot Cabinet hits Kickstarter June 9th, 2020.

Lift-Off! Get me off this Planet!

These aliens are adorable, even though their planet is about to explode with whoever is left.

Game: Lift Off! Get me off this Planet!

  • Publisher: Pencil First Games, LLC
  • Designed by: Eduardo Baraf
  • Illustrated by: Dustin Foust, Sebastian Koziner, Keith Matejka and Helen Zhu
  • Ages 13+
  • 1-6 players
  • 45 minutes

“The planet is getting hot, like totally critical. It was 62 degrees in Winter… yeah that is not winter. It’s getting hotter…”

“How many rotations of the moon do we have left?”

“Not many. If the moon is full we have a chance of evacuation…”

You have the ability to get on some timey-wimey police box to lift off.
Each move you make is a race against the destruction of your world.

There is something magical when the moon aligns with your path. It leads to getting off a planet that is doomed to destruction. This is what Lift Off! Get me off this Planet! is all about.

Pink Team, Day 5: The kids have kept me from lifting off this planet. My looks to me to help them off, but I think we may not make it off in time. Our only hope is some extra move cards and a Garglore…

The game plays over so many solar days where the moon’s rotation around the planet triggers effects that can help the aliens find their way off before meeting their end. The game originally came out in 2015, and is coming out with an Expanded Deluxe Edition which adds a solo mode and a new player count. Some of the things that I will talk about may not be in the final copy as they will be stretch goals, but I want to cover how it plays, some new features and what our family thought of this one.

You can tell there is some sci-fi love here. Does this take us to P4-3687? Will we meet the Ancients? Probably not, but the game references some fun pop culture.

In the game your goal is to get your ten alien meeples off the planet before the solar days come to an end. The game ends when either a player is able to get all of their alien meeples off the planet or the planet explodes. Rounds of the game are dependent of the number of players for solar days and a round is a full rotation of the moon.

The board has different pieces that can be put together to create an entirely different experience and replayability.
The cards you are dealt can help you get extra moves, resources, cause havoc or move the moon to your will and more.

Each player can play can move twice along the path, either twice with one alien or once with another. The other action they can take is playing cards in hopes to enter a launch location or Lift Off. Some conditions may require a Screw or Fuel Card to enter a launch zone. They also may require certain payments based on where the moon is on the board. The moon can be a full moon (above your location), new moon (opposite of your location), and half moon (the other moon locations). Lifting off may also cost resources and moon location as well. One launch pad may not lift off unless the moon is full, while another may need the Garglore and maybe an alien of a different color along for the ride.

Lifting off cost resources and may depend on where the moon is located, but beware! The Garglore is out to get you and stop you from getting off the planet.

Garglore? What is that? It is an alien bent on keeping your meeples on the planet for destruction. I think he just wants some attention. There are cards you can play that let you put the Garglore on someone’s launchpad, causing them to not be able to lift off. This is the trick-taking nature that is part of the game. There also are cards that make it possible to move the moon during your turn rather than at the end.

The Gurglore just wants some hugs. What’s so wrong with that…other than the impending doom that lies ahead?

One neat feature that Ed has added is the Gurglore. The Garglore must have been lonely, so the Gurglore was created. Instead of moving the alien, you can use one of your move actions to move the Gurglore and give some meeples some hugs and attention, acting similarly to the Garglore.

Components
Climbing a ladder seems like a fun way to get off the planet.

The alien meeples are beautiful and the board has a great deal of variety. Let’s say you get a terraform card. This card allows you to change a lift off point of the game. The lift-offs have opposite sides so there is plenty of variety.

The dice in the game can help you get off the planet or terraform into another lift-off location, causing you to go back to the planet’s core.

The dice are nicely made with great detail and the rulebook has plenty on information to help along the way.

The tokens and cards are also a nice touch. What has me excited are what could be a possible stretch goal, the little space ships for each color. Each has their own personality and style.

These little ships can be a stretch goal worth having. I love the detail and work that went into these.

One other thing to note is that the rules also have variations in play. Some could be more cooperative in nature and others quicker to play or family-friendly. This is a nice touch for our family as it can help eliminate some of the competitive nature.

Let’s get off this planet together. This will help prevent an all out attack on Daddy…
Our Family’s Thoughts

Abigail, 13: “I like how they put a lot of thought and how the board has different ways that you can get off the planet. I like the characters. I like how each individual way to get off, that the surface has its own little cost or rule.”


Beth: “The obviously themed exit points add a little bit of fun and the fact that you can change which ones are used will always keep the game different. The game is cute and fun, but at the same time includes strategy and a challenge. There is something for everyone in the family. That’s what I like about it.”

The art and detail makes this game one I recommend for families. Elijah, age 8 was able to grasp it and won. I was close with my eight pink aliens.


Chris: “This game has a great family feel to it with beautiful colors and the meeples are adorable. I love that feeling of seeing science fiction references on the board and moving the Garglore over to stop my opponents. Relying on the location of the moon also is a fun factor to how one will place their aliens. I find the game to have a solid experience worth bringing to the table.”


Daniel, 11: “I like how the little figures look. I like the little thing that you put them on when they are off the planet. My favorite thing to use to get them off is the slingshot, and you can basically keep using the slingshot to get your guys off.”


Elijah, 8: “The blue one is my favorite, or orange, or both. I like getting on the slingshot so that other people will slingshot me. One time Daddy slingshot me.”

Elijah in his Superman Pajamas, ready to fly off the planet.

Overall we loved this game and hope you will love it too. Lift Off! Get me off this Planet! hits Kickstarter January 7th, 2020.