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Subject: Straw - great filler with surprising depth rss

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Roger Fawcett
United Kingdom
Northwich
Cheshire
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Straw is a light, filler card game that is quickly becoming a regular choice for starting our gaming nights. It is a quick game – the box says 30 minutes but with quite some depth and lots of fun. The version I have seems to be slightly different in rules to John Brader’s, but I am going to completely agree with his positive review of the game Straw: A review by John Brader whilst explaining the rule differences between our two sets.

The components are excellent, with great artwork on the box and the cards. The cards themselves are of great quality and are just very slightly wider than a standard British deck of cards (Waddingtons’ #1). The font feels ‘eastern’ but is still readable. My one slight issue with the cards is that the figure indicating the weight is only in the left hand corner. In other words, it is a right handed deck of cards. This is a small issue, but two of the six of us in our family play left-handed, and so are not able to see the figures easily.

The rules for my version come in booklet form with English rules and four other languages. It is this booklet that dictates the size of the box, not the size of the cards, so it is a little larger than playing card size. The rules are very simple, so the booklet could be left behind and the cards taken in another card box – something we often do on holidays, combining several games into one CCG plastic box.

Others have explained the rules in detail and there is no need to do that again here. However it is worth re-iterating that there is more to this game than meets the eye. It is a game of balance as you try to increase the camel’s load slowly, hoping that someone else will break the camel’s back and you will score some high cards in your hand. Of course the risk you run is that the turn will come around to you again, or (and this always seems to happen) that the person next to you will reverse play, forcing you to play again.

So card drafting skills are essential, but is not as long as other card-drafting games such as Bohnanza, which I have never really liked overly much. It seems to have replaced Friday the 13th as the push-to-a-limit game of choice in our group. I would argue that Straw is a better game, it seems faster and there is much fun to be had as things go badly wrong for you or your opponents. I’m not much of a fan of set-collecting really, either. However Straw does retain a certain ‘Knizia-feel’ to it, partly because of the maths, I suppose. This means no offence to Richard James, who has designed this excellent game, or the team at AEG.

The final difference between versions is that the version I have says to play until everybody has been dealer, rather than until someone reaches 100 points. It is a minor difference and I guess you could choose whichever ending conditions you want as long as you all agree on it beforehand.

In short, Straw is a great little game that deserves to be close at hand whenever you go to the gaming table.
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Onanlas Ho
Singapore
Singapore
Singapore
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Agree with your subject. I tend to start off my gaming day with these cards while waiting for others to come, or end my day with a short game and straw is always in my choosing list.
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Jay Levy
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I agree. This has been one of my more popular purchases, as everyone seems to enjoynit quite a bit. The rounds move quickly, yet you are always agnonizing over what choices to make. Highly recommended.
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William Bekking
Canada
Kanata
Ontario
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So, I'll ask the question that always seems to get asked:
How is it with 2 players? I see it's voted as best with 5, but that's 3 votes only. Is it good with 2 or not worth the time?

Thanks
 
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Jay Levy
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Aiken Drum wrote:
So, I'll ask the question that always seems to get asked:
How is it with 2 players? I see it's voted as best with 5, but that's 3 votes only. Is it good with 2 or not worth the time?

Thanks


It's fun, I think ... But, the dynamics change, as it's more about reading your direct opponent. There is a bit more chaos with more people, but, also, since everyone gets points except the person who broke the camel's back, it's not AS confrontational. The switch direction cards have more of an impact, too.

In any case, my gf and I have played it on our own a few times before introducing it to her daughter ... then her daughter and I have played a few games of 2 player, which she liked. I think it becomes more of a party the more people you have, but 2 plays fine.
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William Bekking
Canada
Kanata
Ontario
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jayntampa wrote:
Aiken Drum wrote:
So, I'll ask the question that always seems to get asked:
How is it with 2 players? I see it's voted as best with 5, but that's 3 votes only. Is it good with 2 or not worth the time?

Thanks


It's fun, I think ... But, the dynamics change, as it's more about reading your direct opponent. There is a bit more chaos with more people, but, also, since everyone gets points except the person who broke the camel's back, it's not AS confrontational. The switch direction cards have more of an impact, too.

In any case, my gf and I have played it on our own a few times before introducing it to her daughter ... then her daughter and I have played a few games of 2 player, which she liked. I think it becomes more of a party the more people you have, but 2 plays fine.


Thanks for the information. I am always no the look out for good two player card games.

 
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James Holzhauer
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Urbana
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This is one game that I, as a hard-core board gamer, can take to a family gathering and they can enjoy my hobby for a bit. A friend of mine also takes this to meetings that she is involved with, and the proper older ladies in that organization also ask for the game (and those ladies are definitely not gamers). In fact, I'll be taking Straw with me to a family gathering tonight and I know that we'll be playing a couple of rounds of the game.
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