Wednesday , June 19 2024

Board Game Review: ‘Floats McGoats’ from Hootenanny Games

Floats McGoats from Hootenanny Games is as charming as it is a puzzle-solving challenge. Players might first recognize the process of placing sticks to save goats, similar to the area-capturing “dots and boxes” game with three sides instead of four. This already sets the stage for logic, and the inclusion of a die full of random actions ups the ante with players needing to think on their feet for what is the best way to save their goats.

Totes Adorbs Goats

Floats McGoats comes out of the gate with an adorable theme. The board is a blue geometric pattern representing the cascading waves of the sea. Bold seafaring goats have lost their ship, broken up with its wooden planks scattered out to sea. Players must place planks craftily to save their color of goats first, not only solving the logic puzzle of the most effective action to take from the options at hand but also outplaying their opponents who may well get in the way.

Save the Goats

A game of Floats McGoats begins with just two “anchored” sticks marked on the board as immovable. Starting with the “youngest kid” per the rules, players take turns either placing a goat on the board or rolling the action die. The first leg of strategy comes in placing goats, which may be on any triangular spot that has at least one edge with a stick. It may be a player’s strategy to get goats out early to have many options, or players might want to keep their extra goats in reserve to surface at just the right time.

The action die governs most of the play in Floats McGoats. Each round, players may either place a new goat in an available space or roll the die to see what action they may perform. Actions could be adding a new stick, moving a stick, locking a stick in place, swapping goat positions, stacking two goats, or unleashing a Shark Attack to remove a goat from the board.

The goats, too, are different, with larger “mama” goats and smaller “baby” goats that limit who can swap with whom or give an extra bonus on pairing a mama and a baby. Sometimes the best course of action will be obvious. Other times, the players will have to consider their options carefully to determine the best course of action.

Players only need a few goats safely inside triangles to win, meaning each action is important, and victory can come from a few lucky rolls of the die.

Floats McGoats is a board game for two to four players aged 10 and up. Although younger players might enjoy the pieces, the strategies involved make the game best suited for older players. With the randomizing nature of the action die, however, Floats McGoats is hardly pure logic. Players will have to reevaluate their plans in an instant with the new action available as well as pay attention to the social aspect with vindictive opponents who might want payback for a shark attack.

About Jeff Provine

Jeff Provine is a Composition professor, novelist, cartoonist, and traveler of three continents. His latest book is a collection of local ghost legends, Campus Ghosts of Norman, Oklahoma.

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