There’s something that my family and I find really fun about push-your-luck games. You know the kind, where you can stop and get points or take yet another step and either win bigger or go bust and end up with nothing. Card games like blackjack are push your luck games: if I have cards worth 16 points in my hand, should I gamble and take another card hoping to get closer to 21 without going over?
The family card game Scavenge fits this mold and has a really fun, very family friendly theme too: you’re all raccoons scavenging through trashcans hoping to stash the greatest treasure before all the trashcans empty out!
Each time you delve into the porch, driveway or backyard trash bin you can get cool stuff, including the fantastic cheeseburger (worth more points than anything else you can find the can!) or you can end up alerting the humans and having to run away with nothing!
The game is basically a deck of custom cards, in a standard playing card size, all with fun graphics as you can see above. Each of the three trashcan decks has 23 cards, a mix of good and bad things. Your turn consists of either stashing the treasures in your hand or digging into a trashcan hoping to find even more good stuff.
Here’s a typical sequence:
I pulled the scratcher card from the trash, which is worth 1 point (once I stash it), then pulled the coffee mug, also worth 1 point. Then I had to decide: do I push my luck and delve yet again into the trashcan, or do I stop. I decided that I’m a raccoon with courage and pulled another, just to have the spotlight triggered! Fortunately, it’s not too bad so I was able to claim the two points cards (e.g. put then into my hand) and end my turn.
Since non-point cards are discarded rather than go into your hand, there’s also always a discard row below the trashcans. The game ends up looking like this:
In this third example, the player has unearthed a comb – 3 points! – and a mirror – 5 more points! – just to find a thuggish gang of marching ants. Not so good, but that means the next card in that particular trashcan is discarded (which hastens the end of the game, of course). My advice to this player: stop now! Grab those 8 points while the going’s good.
That’s about it for the game. Like the push your luck dice game Zombie Dice, Scavenge is quick to learn and fun to play, whether you’re 7 or 27. It’s a great filler game and with a group that knows the game, can be completely played through in 10-15 minutes so it’s great for while you’re waiting for food at a restaurant too.
We’ve quickly become fans of this fun and easy game and I recommend it for families. It’s amusing and helps kids learn the balance between being too aggressive and being too conservative in a game of change. Now, back to the trash bins…
Disclosure: Chou! Games sent us a copy of Scavenge so we could write up a review. Thanks, Marci!