Note: This preview uses pre-release components and rules. What you see here may be different from the final, published game. This post was a paid preview, you can find out more information here.
As far back as I can remember, there always seems to be some manner of light-hearted aquatic themed entry in pop culture. Between the Snorks, the Little Mermaid, Spongebob Squarepants, and Finding Nemo, it seems my entire life has always been exposed to an undersea world of lovable critters. It is this nostalgia button in my brain that is pressed repeatedly by Gosh Darn Bubbles, the premiere offering from Sandwich Bag Games. In it, you make friends with a bevy creatures who aid you in your search for treasure, while avoiding the bubbles that invariably distract you from your search. Does Gosh Darn Bubbles find the treasure of being a quality title, or does it float away like so many bubbles in the ocean? Keep reading to find out.
Gosh Darn Bubbles is a card game for 2-4 players that plays in about 10-15 minutes. We recommend Gosh Darn Bubbles at any player count, and for all ages.
The rules to Gosh Darn Bubbles are very straightforward – a player plays a card from their hand, follows the instructions on the card, then puts that card in the discard pile. Simple! The cards have a variety of powers, such as allowing players to draw and activate new cards, forcing opponents to discard, randomly playing cards from an opponent’s hand, and other such effects. Many cards force discards from the main deck, which promotes cycling and refreshing the draw deck. However, many of the cards are Bubbles cards, which do nothing other than clog up your hand.
The goal of the game is to collect Treasure cards before your opponents. The primary means of collecting these treasures is by playing Sunken Chest cards, which require you to reveal the top 3 cards of the draw deck. If a Bubbles card is revealed, the Treasure is not found and the turn passes, but if no Bubbles are seen, a Treasure card is collected. Some cards in the deck add more requirements to the Sunken Chest, and other cards allow you to steal Treasure from your opponents. Whichever player collects three Treasure cards first is the winner!
The first and major appeal in Gosh Darn Bubbles is the underwater theme and the dedication of the designers to bring it to life. The artwork from the artists collaborating on this project is evocative of the underwater setting they want players to experience while playing, and while the styles of each artist may differ, they form a cohesive whole that helps support the theme. This is saying something considering that 12 different artists came together to work on this title! We especially enjoyed the names of some of these cards, such as Jerkface Shark!
It is quite easy to have a view of oneself that differs from reality, but Gosh Darn Bubbles doesn’t hit this snag – it is successfully self-actualized in describing itself as a light-hearted and casual card game. The rules are extremely straightforward, and the cards are very self-explanatory as to their purpose and powers, with no outside reference sheets or extra rules references required.
There were a few plays where some players ran into frustration with getting Bubble cards revealed for each Sunken Chest card they tried to play, which also had an adverse effect on drawing the game out. However, the inclusion of some of the possible additions to the game via stretch goals give players the ability to do some deck manipulation to avoid this circumstance repeatedly. Unfortunately, we did not have the chance to play with these extra cards, so we cannot comment on whether they fill that role adequately.
One of the nice things about Gosh Darn Bubbles is the diversity in the players that it can target. With its straightforward rules and gameplay, this game is perfect for a family game night with children or grandparents or a light game to play with non-gamers. It can even serve a nice role as a quick simple-but-possibly-nasty game to play for experienced gamers. Simply stated, Gosh Darn Bubbles is accessible to a wide range of players.
Gosh Darn Bubbles does a solid job of filling a role as a card game with light gameplay, straightforward rules, and a theme that is whimsical and accessible all in one. We think it would work well for all audiences: fans of this genre and style of game, families looking for a new option at game night, as well as experienced gamers looking for a simple, transportable title.
As always, we don’t post ratings for preview copies as the components and rules may change from the final game. Check back with us after the game is produced for a full review. This post was a paid preview, you can find out more information here.