Memoarrr! (Brandon Kempf)
Designed by Carlo Bortolini
Art by Pablo Fontagnier
Published by Edition Spielwiese & Pegasus Speile
Memoarrr! is a 2-4 player Memory Style game in which, you the players, are trying to escape the Island of Captain Goldfish with the most rubies before the volcano gets you. You are going to do this by revealing cards and hopefully matching either the Animal featured on the card to the previous card, or the background featured.
To set up Memoarrr! you will shuffle the Treasure Cards and place them face down in the middle of the table, then place the number of Volcano Cards equal to one less than people who are playing, so in a three player game, place 2 Volcano Cards on top of the Treasure Cards. Then, shuffle the location cards and place them out out in a five by five grid around the Treasure and Volcano Cards. You will have one card left over, place that card in the box without looking at it as that is a fairly important piece of information, or at least it will be.
Each player may then look at three of the cards in front of them on the edge, the three middle Location Cards. They need to memorize the animal and background of them as this will be an important starting point for them throughout the game. The chosen first player will pick a random card from the display and flip it over, it cannot be one of their opponent’s three known cards or their own. Then in turn order the next player has to match either the animal or the background of the card that was just flipped. If they are successful, the next player in turn must flip one matching either the animal or background of the card previously flipped by the player immediately before them. If at anytime you fail to flip a correct card over, you take a Volcano Card from the middle and play continues on without you until only one person remains. That final person takes one of the Treasure Cards and keeps it in front of them to score later. Everyone else puts the Volcano Cards back on top of the Treasure Cards and you flip all of the cards back over that you previously flipped during that round and you do it again. You will do this until you run out of Treasure Cards, at that time players will flip over any earned Treasure Cards and whomever has the most Rubies on those Treasure Cards wins!
Fun, silly, cute, aggravating, annoying, maddening, I think all of those words can describe Memoarrr! It’s a super simple premise, you have limited knowledge at the start of the game, and you in theory will continue to grow that knowledge through game play creating some tense, card flipping turns down the road, and it does this. I’ve likened this one to the old electronic game Simon, where you have to keep following the pattern as long as you can later in the game. You will have certain animals or backgrounds memorized and if someone flips a card matching them, you will go to it flip it and watch your opponents reveal more information to you. When the round ends, you keep all the information, nothing is adjusted, nothing changes, you flip the cards over and you do it again.
There is a different way to play Memoarrr!, when you flip over a card, if you are correct, each animal, well each animal except the Turtle, will give you a power or an action you can do. The Penguin will let you secretly look at another facedown card of your choice, the Walrus allows you to point at a facedown card and the next player in turn order is not allowed to flip that card(really useful at end game), the Octopus will move, you exchange places with an orthogonally adjacent card, face up or face down and the Crab gives you an immediate extra turn, yes, you can chain Crabs together for more than one extra turn. These fundamentally change the way the game plays and some will like the extra powers, and some won’t. I have a hard enough time remembering where things are, let alone throwing the extra powers in, but they do really change the game and can be a lot of fun.
It’s always amazing to me how competitive certain games can make people, and it happens usually when you least expect it. Memoarrr! is one of those games. It can be so aggravating to flip a card that you just know has a Crab on it and have it be a damn Walrus, but that’s part of the fun of the game. Such a simple concept, taken and put into a simple Memory game, but it delivers, each and every play.
Now, if you don’t like Memory games, like my 7 year old daughter, this won’t be for you. All the cute animal art in the world didn’t save this one from her wrath. She played it once with myself and her older sister and immediately decided that it may be the worst game in existence, for now. I think that she felt that it had to be played fast because her sister and I were playing it that way, but you don't, and I'm trying to convince her to try it again. But please, don’t let her dissuade you from trying it. Even though that "Arrrr!" in the title will be yelled or muttered by more than one player, on more than one occasion, Memoarrr! is absolutely a hoot.
I do feel like I should say something about availability, but I don't know anything other than you can order it directly off of www.amazon.de and have it shipped at a pretty affordable price, that's how I got my copy. I don't know if Pegasus Spiele has any plans to bring it over to North America, I am not finding it when searching any of the normal online outlets and there is no info on Board Game Geek about any North American distribution that I can find. But it is well worth searching out and finding if you like these quick, fun games that can get the mind cells working a bit of overtime.
Comments from the Peanut Gallery(People I have played it with):
Chris Wray: I played this game once. I think I enjoyed it, but given how bad I did in my one play, I'm not sure I'd trust my memory of that event.
Gabby(13): Annoying in a good way.
AnnaBeth(7): This game just frustrates me, it's not the worst game in the world, but I don't like being frustrated that much.