Summary : 'Community' from eeBoo is a game so unlike the regular competition that it takes a moment to wrap your head around it.
Cooperative gaming is opening up a whole new realm of board games, where for years we have been pitted against one another to reach finish first or gather the most points. Instead, players work toward a single goal, such as beating a dungeon boss or keeping a spaceship running. While cooperative games are doing well on grown-up tabletops, kids games are a great way to not only have a good time but teach valuable lessons about respecting others and pooling resources.
Community from eeBoo is a game so unlike the regular competition that takes a moment to get your head around it. The “board” for this board game is simply a green felt collection of hexagons, a style familiar to many model-gamers. The game is to make the board itself: a Home tile, twelve Location tiles, and sixty-nine Road tiles featuring an array of different styles to connect pathways. The youngest player begins the game by placing the Home tile anywhere he or she wishes, and then all players place additional Location tiles. The game proceeds with each player drawing and placing a Road tile with the goal of connecting all of the Locations to Home.
Gameplay in Community is initially very simple but develops into a more and more difficult puzzle as the game progresses. There is no way to know the future tiles, so it is up to each player to choose for him or herself what would be the best way to continue connecting the paths. Sometimes a player
will draw the perfect tile, but it is more likely that the paths will be crazy. As the board begins to fill up, players must be clever to use up bad tiles or potentially move a path away from a goal so that it is easier to move back to it on another draw. It is rare for players to fill up the map completely and “lose” the game. E
ven if they do, players can always agree to pull off a few tiles, mix them up, and try again. The elegantly simple rules are easily adapted for solitary play.
Production quality on Community is top-notch. The green felt board matches the felt backs of the tiles to make a very solid map free from being accidentally bumped out of order. Materials are not only colored green but also part of eeBoo’s green initiative being made from ninety-percent recycled material and printed with soy-based inks. The art is more pleasant than cartoony and shows a wide variety of community activities that the game encourages players to discuss.
Community is a game for one to five players aged five and up. The instructions state “Mixed-age Groups Ideal,” meaning that parents should play along and potentially give guidance. One issue with cooperative gaming is to ensure that one player does not take over with “suggestions” that tell everyone else what to do. Community is freer from that than other games thanks to the “no one right answer” technique of drawing tiles. No one knows what will happen next in this world, and it is best to trust one another.
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