Duration: +-45 minutes
Distributor: Just Games
Eigen Kweek – Board Game Review
Perhaps this might not be the most modern career choice anymore, but what if your biggest goal in life was to become a potato farmer, as it just feels like it’s your mission to supply the world with the best damn potatoes it has ever seen? What if life gives you the perfect soil to grow your little droplets of heaven? You have everything in place, except for the necessary funds to share your passion with the world, or at least some of the local food chains. Fuck it, just grow some pot first, grab some cash, and then go completely legit. It’s your job to aim high, while making other people get high, to escape the ‘low’ your career is currently in.
- Game board
- Coin purse
- 4 Player game boards
- 14 Character cards
- 16 Field cards
- 35 Coins
- 116 Pot chips
Overall the content of the box looks fairly simplistic but appealing nonetheless. You’ll get treated to a basic ‘playing field’, where you’ll have to build up your fortune, fun looking harvest cards, pot-chips, and very retro looking character cards and coins. In many ways the game feels like it’s referring to a day and age, where weed wasn’t pretty much ‘accepted’, as it is in our current society. Perhaps, the game is simply about running a ‘60s farm for hippies.
In Eigen Kweek you’ll play a dirt-poor farmer, who will have to grow pot to eventually realize his dreams of becoming a potato farmer. The first player to gain enough money, buy all necessary fields, and pay to plow them all to plant potatoes will be the first to win the game. You’ll be pleased to hear that just as the concept, the rules are quite simple, and thus the game is set up in a matter of minutes, and you’ll be playing only several minutes later.
The game works in rounds, and after playing one or two of them, these will become easy to remember and above all, very easy to follow. First of all, at the beginning of the rounds, you’ll be able to draw two character cards, choose one of them, and put the other one back on the stack. This character card is yours to use until it’s time for you to pick a new character again, at least, if you didn’t already use it, or decide to stick with it for one of the future sets of rounds.
After the first round, it’s time for the growth round, which will allow you to grow some of your pot, in case you already bought field cards. The very first set of rounds, this will be a meaningless phase. After that, each of your fields will start growing pot, the cheaper ones only one pot chip per turn, the two expensive ones two or three chips respectively. Keep in mind, you can’t just harvest these at your own leisure.
It’s now time to move on to the gamble round, where each player takes a few of his pot chips, without disclosing them to the other players, and then, when everyone has decided how much they wish to wager, everyone opens their hand at the same time. The player with the biggest bet will be able to choose money from the middle game board first, the others will follow in the order of their wager. If there’s more than one player who placed the same bet, these players will get nothing, but get to keep their ‘green money’. Every new set of rounds the board gets replenished with one coin per free spot (there are four) or one additional coin for those who still have money on them. As the cash is picked blindly from the coin purse, some rounds are a lot more interesting than others.
After the money has been distributed, you’ll be able to decide on your next course of action, but keep in mind, you can only choose one. You can either buy yourself one of the four different available fields, in order to slowly fill your personalized game board with the fields you need. Or you can opt to harvest the pot chips from one field, or plow a field to make it ready for your future career as potato farmer. The latter will render the field useless, and thus you will not grow any new pot during the growth round (the second one). Sometimes it’s interesting to start plowing some of your cheaper fields early on, as when everyone has enough cash, it’s only a matter of who will plow his fields first.
After this it’s deciding, if you still have a character card, to discard it or stick with it. The character card can be used throughout this repeating set of rounds, but many of them have a specific description during which of the rounds you can use them. Certain ones can be used while gambling, as they help you increase your wager or reduce that of your opponents, while other can only be used during the growth phase, and so on.
After all of this, you’ll keep repeating this format until one player has plowed all his fields, and thus is able to become what he truly wanted, a noble potato farmer.
Luck or Strategy?
While luck plays a hefty part in the process as to which character card eventually ends up in your hands, planning is also an important aspect of the game. Which field will you buy, harvest or plow first, and still come out on top. Overall the game finds a proper balance between both aspects, especially when playing with more than two players. In a two player game, it’s mostly the one that gets the most cards to screw the other player over that will come out on top. Nonetheless, a two player game often ends up being very exciting, as it’s often a close call who eventually brings home the gold, or in this case, the potatoes.
The game does an effort to cancel out the luck component, by allowing you to keep mental notes on how many pot chips the other player may have, if you’ve been following the game properly. Also, the fact that you’re able to choose two character cards, and then finally pick one for you to keep during the next set of rounds, also grants you a bit of extra chances to properly plan your next move(s). Holding on to a card from previous rounds may also prove to be a wise tactical decision, but eventually you’ll never know the other players’ hands.
Eigen Kweek is one of those grey mice in the board games community, which, probably because it’s based on a TV show, will only attract fans of said show. Those fans might realize the game is also quite different from their favorite series, and thus they may even lose interest. Those sentiments aside, Eigen Kweek proves to be a lot of fun, thanks to its simple to learn rules, a healthy mix of strategy and luck, its fairly attractive appearance, and its well thought-out theme. Growing pot, gambling with said produce and screwing over your fellow competing pot-farmers, made sure we had a few amusing evenings.