The bank was robbed, the jewelry lifted, the heist pulled off successfully. Now it’s time for your gang to split the loot. Is there honor among thieves? Will the boss make everyone happy? And can you divvy up everything before the fuzz arrives?
Goodcritters is a negotiation game for four to eight players. It plays best with eight.
Play consists of rounds of loot distribution and negotiation. This continues in rounds until the fuzz card shows up, ending the round, and the game.
Each player will start with a character’s threat marker, five actions cards, and $200. Play starts with the boss (first player) flipping loot (number of players plus 2) to distribute. The boss distributes loot as they choose, face up in front of each player. Not everyone has to receive a card, but all loot cards must be distributed.
Next, players choose an action secretly from their action cards. During this phase, players can make bribes, payouts, and ‘threaten’ another player by placing their marker in front of them. Deals can be made, discussion of the fairness of loot distribution can be haggled over.
Once negotiations have died down, action cards are flipped in turn order starting with the boss. There are five types of actions:
- YES: The player is in favor of the current boss’s deal and wants the loot to remain as distributed
- NO: The player dislikes the distribution and votes against the current boss
- SKIM: Allows the first player to take an additional loot card from the deck if they are the first to reveal a skim
- ROB: A player may attempt to take a loot card from someone they ‘threatened’ during negotiations.
- GUARD: The player successfully counters a rob action and instead takes a card from the would-be robber.
If there are more yes’s than no’s, the loot remains as distributed and the next player becomes the boss. If there are more no’s, then the next first person to vote no becomes the boss. Loot returns to the table center, 2 cards are added, and loot distribution restarts.
The game ends when the fuzz arrives. The player with the highest loot value wins.
How much do you trust your crew? And how much should your game group trust YOU? Goodcritters is all about making deals, getting the biggest cut, the fine art of negotiation to get the biggest share before the fuzz arrives.
Like other negotiation style games, table talk can make or break Goodcritters. The game is less about the mechanic and more about how good you can be at threatening, pleading, cajoling, or bribing other players to agree with your plan of action. Without the deal making, Goodcritters is a pretty dull game of passing out cards and voting to see if that was an optimal distribution.
I’m not sure how I feel about the art style/theme choice. I get where it was going (Goodfellas, mob, gangsters) but I’m not sure how the anthropomorphized animals play into that. It doesn’t add anything to the gameplay, perhaps to family-friendly up the wiseguys theme? (My issue could also be because I think the throwing rotten tomatoes “no” card from the original Tiefe Tasschen is pretty hysterical, though I do like the change in theme from politics.)
The rulebook is laid out well – rules are clear and broken down in play order. Lots of well detailed graphics add further explanation. Additionally, some alternative rules sets can change gameplay for folks that have played a few times (payoff rules, game length, limited boss terms.) The insert is largely useless once the game is punched.
Comparisons may be made to Cash N’ Guns, but Goodcritters has more meat to it. Action cards provide ample opportunities to turn the tables on an opponent or the boss, and negotiation could (and should be) fast and furious.
The few words on cards and tokens are large and clear even across the table. There is some potential for negotiations to make hearing difficult, but this could be mitigated by taking turns to talk. Colorwise most combos in the design work, though the purple and red can be a challenge for some folks with colorblindness (though the symbols make it clear with these cards are without the word.) Having to physically place a marker in front of someone else in a game for these many folks is going to cause some confusion. (You just know someone is going to toss one and it’s going to go flinging across the room, resulting in a break for a game of “where did my piece go”.)
Goodcritters is a fast and furious negotiation game that’s especially good for larger groups. Easy set-up, well organized rulebook, and quick gameplay. With Goodcritters, you’ll find out quickly how good your persuasion skills really are, and whether your friends can be trusted.
Final Score: 4 Stars – Fast paced fun negotiation game for larger groups looking to score big.
• Room for all manner of negotiations
• Variants to mix things up for groups that have played for a while
• Action cards add a further twist to the negotiations
• Animal theme skin seems misplaced
• Minor issues with things like color choice on cards and insert size
“If there are more yes’s than no’s, the loot remains as distributed and the next player becomes the boss.”
Should probably get the rules right if you’re going to say the rulebook is clear.