Review: Smile – can you do it?

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When I saw the opened door, it was clear to me, that they are all gone. My precious collection of tame animals is now running somewhere through the woods. They’re alone among wild creatures. Will they return? They had never been out of the farm before, so I’m afraid about their destiny. The only hope is to quickly get out there and start looking for them. But as it quickly gets dark, I first have to catch some fireflies.

Firefly hunt for animals is waiting for us in a small card game called . Its designer is , who created it for company. This is a hot novelty from end of . Illustrations were created by with help of Philippe Guerin. This little box is then using Esdevium Games distribution channels () to get to players in Europe.

Small box welcomes us with a picture of a massive round hamster on the lid. Inside the packaging, colorful stones of fireflies (thirty-five lightning beauties) and five blue tears are doing a welcoming commitee. The main part is then about fifty cards with different numerical values ranging from minus five to positive numbers. The values are always accompanied by colorful illustrations.

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Individual participants will receive six fireflies, that they should hide in palm of their hand. The rest of the stones remains lying in the middle of the table. Depending on the number of players, some cards have to be removed from the deck, rest is shuffled and placed in the center of the table.

Whole game takes place within ten rounds. At the beginning of each game, players will find just as many animals as their amount and that means, that before round starts, they have to reveal corresponding number of cards. And players will all try to attract these stray animals to themselves using their fireflies. In their endeavors, players will alternate and each time, they have a choice of two actions. The basic thing is to use one of your fireflies to lure a pet. However, the player may always place a yellow stone only on animal, that has the lowest numerical value from all available cards.

However, whenever a player decides he does not want to spend more fireflies from his hand, he can take a card, that already has some yellow shining creatures on it. This will not only get him card of animal, but also all the fireflies, that were placed on it. Player quickly hides them in his hand, so his adversaries do not know, how many fireflies is he keeping.

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This will release animals with higher numbers to get caught. But only the remaining players can fight for them. Once someone had made a catch, participating in more actions in round is for him not allowed. But players are trying to collect animals from different colors in front of themselves. This is, because once two cards of the same color in the top left corner are in player’s possession, he has to discard both of them. Sometimes, this can be used to player’s advantage to get rid of cards with a negative value.

Game continues with more rounds until tenth is completed. All participants have to count points. This means adding up the values of all animals in their possession printed in the lower right corner, adding bonuses for firefighting sets, and possibly subtracting penalty for tears. This blue stone is given to player as a badge of a loan, if he has no stone to offer during gameplay. The player, who has the highest sum of points, then becomes winner.

Smile is a simple card game, in which the right and timely decision has to be made. Almost every round usually starts with auctioning for a card, that you do not want to have in your possession. But someone will eventually get it, because its value improves with increasing number of fireflies. For these stones, players will receive a reward at the end of the game as well.

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However, if you get a card with a negative value, it’s best to get rid of it. Players have a total of ten rounds to do so, each round providing them with a single card. And that’s a lot of time to get rid of some of the less valuable cards. Especially taking into account the fact, that player may have only one card from each of the four colors in his possession. Some of the cards do not have a colorful splash in their corner and they are in the possession of the player until the end no matter what.

As players progress through the match, players will have more and more specific wishes. Often they will have to sacrifice more fireflies from their hands to stay in and be in play for the most valuable cards.

Whole gameplay is really easy. Its nothing inventive, original or breathtaking, but the game is still interesting. That’s because the auctions are a bit turned upside-down and players must all bid the same firefly stones. After putting them down, they are no longer in their ownership and they have to get some stones back from time to time. They are first placed on cards of the least value, which makes all decisions very tricky.

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Still, decision making is tactical enough. Of course, you can never be sure, that the cards you want will appear on the table. Sometimes you will be left with good luck, but it will never be a feeling of frustration or absence of control.

When auctioning for cards, it is crucial that more players are present. The more players, the more interesting is the pressure, but it is also a better offer of cards in the center of the table. Players can better choose and everything is more thrilling and balanced. Despite ten rounds, the individual games are very fast, because rounds do not last too long. All in all, you can complete it within twenty minutes.

Players will have company of really beautiful and unique illustrations on cards. Graphics of this game is really top-notch. In addition, transparent stones are also an excellent solution. Together, this small box has great processing.

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We really like the Smile game like as a filler. Everything looks beautiful and its easy to play, making Smile a fun thing and something to smile about!

DesignerMichael Schacht
ArtistAtha Kanaani
PublisherZ-Man Games, Inc.
Year Published2017
# of Players3 - 5
User Suggested # of Players Best with 5 players
Recommended with 3, 4, 5 players
(5 voters)
Playing Time30
Mfg Suggested Ages8 and up
User Suggested Ages6 and up
(2 voters)
CategoryCard Game, Children's Game
MechanicAuction/Bidding, Closed Economy Auction, Increase Value of Unchosen Resources, Push Your Luck
Primary NameSmile

Infos courtesy of boardgamegeek.com. More Infos.

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