Feast and Famine

FF3
Players:
2-4
Multiplayer:Yes, pass'n'play only
AI:Yes, one level of difficulty
Universal App:No
Purchase for iPhone:None available. Buy an iPad now!
Purchase for iPad:

Price: Free
User rating:
GD Star Rating
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Feast and Famine, 7.1 out of 10 based on 10 ratings

Feast and Famine is really two games in one. You acquire the base game (Feast) for free, and can in-game purchase the expansion of (Famine). For that alone it’s worth the download and acquisition. It’s a game that can be a bit confusing at first but is worth pushing through to learn.

Gameplay

Thematically, the game(s) is set in Ancient Egypt, and centres around the collection of medallions and their expenditure. Feast and Famine represent two distinct games, but they are designed to be played one after the other such that the medals earned in Feast can be a starting advantage in beginning resources for playing Famine. However, either game can be played by themselves.

I found the two games side by side to be a bit disjointed. The first game plays you as a Pharoah collecting resources, and the second game plays you as Hebraic royal families trying to flee persecution. All of this occuring under the auspices of one of the Ancient Egpytian gods. It does take a bit of a mental gear shift. Additionally, I found playing Feast far more intuitive and accessible than Famine, so if you decide to skip Famine in favour of just a Feast I don’t think I’d blame you too much.

Feast is played around a central wheel that displays random resources. Each turn you have a number of labour points that can be spend to collect sets of resources. Each resource (oil, wheat, fish, goats etc) cost different amounts of labour points to collect in increasing cost. However, you collect all that’s available and every taken tile is replaced. So there is some strategy in trying to balance between volume, type of resource, and opportunities clearing will make for you and your opponents. Medals are scored when you either complete a column (have one of each good type), or a row (have the maximum of a single type of good). Though this can be difficult to predict.

Famine is a game about bidding on members of the House of Isreal. You are trying to collect sets of families relevant to Joseph and his three wives, and this is done in an auction style for sets of particular coloured cards. The medals you gained in the first half of the game can increase your spending power in the latter half.

While the game is subtitlted Joseph in Egypt, and the backstory on the game’s website does bring it all together it just feels like something thrown together rather than given careful thought. The game, too, feels a bit too much like an example of religious edutainment. It’s nowhere near as superifiscial as some attempts, but it simply seems to rest on its biblical significance to disguise a lack of substance.

Despite the abovementioned inconsistencies, I did enjoy the Feast section of the game. I also liked the premise of a binary game where one half you’re hoarding for an oncoming famine of the second half – even if it’s a mechanic that falls a bit short of delivery.

Implementation

Firstly, kudos to the developers for offering Feast free and the whole game as an in-cost purchase. It’s better than offering a “lite” version that seems abundant these days. It’s also better than offering a basic game for free. You get the taste of a complete game, but get to wonder about the second half.

The graphics and tableau presentation is very colourful and true to the original artwork. The colouring is vibrant, gorgeous, and eye catching. I can honestly say it was part of the reason that tempted me to investigate the game in the first place. Sadly, there are no animations to speak of.

I think they did let the game down when they opted to explain the game via wall of text, rather than graphically presented explanation or even a tutorial. It’s one more stumbling block to get over to get into the game. I can’t emphasise enough how important it is to ease people into obscure board games, even if they’re free. You can lead a horse to water and all that jazz…

Similarly, there are a number of sections, particularly in Famine, that are very non-intuitive unless you know what you’re doing. This combined with the disjointed nature of the two halves has made me completely forget how to play the second half on occasion, remembering that it vaguely had something to do with auctioning.

Verdict

4/10: A strong premise, a disjointed theme, and only average delivery. It’s hard to give a promising score on this one.



  • Bob

    I’d rate Feast a 9 or even 9.5, and Famine at about a 6. So it’s funny that Feast is the free one – in hindsight I wouldn’t have paid for Famine if I’d known how it plays, but I don’t really mind having paid the developer as a way of saying thanks for Feast, a totally addicting, fantastic game! A game of Feast can be played in about 5 minutes, but it’s absolutely got that “just one more round” vibe that’ll have you playing far more than one game in a sitting.

    I’d rank Feast in my top 10 iOS boardgames, while I haven’t returned to Famine in a couple of months. With Feast being free, there’s no reason not to give it a try!