The Muddles is a quick-play, family-friendly set-collecting card game

Pog, Jellycow and Wee might sound like characters from a children’s TV show, but they’re actually fusion animals from The Muddles, an easy to pick-up and play game of set making and card capturing.

Big Potato Games have done it again, managing to make a 15-20m game that’s easy to pick up and understand for most younger players. The Muddles has you hand in a mix of animals in order to claim their value card from a central reserve, or steal it from another player, as you race to get the most points before the table is cleared.

The Muddles is incredibly simple from the outset. Muddled animals, like the Pog (Pig + Frog), Wee (Worm + Bee) and Frug (Frog + Slug), are lined and stacked up in a central area by the points they’re worth. Players then each draw three cards which include the original animals. After that players take turns to either discard down (1 card, or 2 matching cards) and draw back up to three, or to combine two cards in their hand and claim one of the central cards to their pile.

The Muddles

The wrinkle in the ointment is that just because you’ve claimed a card doesn’t mean that you’ve fully banked it. Any other player can take the card from the top of your pile by making that Muddle — meaning that you’ll want to quickly bury any high point cards by securing other combinations. Of course, it’s never quite as easy as that.

It’s this stealing mechanic that makes The Muddles fun even after you’re done laughing at the combinations, because, the secret ingredient to fun in board games is almost always crime.

What else to say? Well, the artwork on the cards are really easy to read and understand, there’s even a little guide on cards showing how the combinations work if you’re not big into portmanteaus. My only criticism would probably be that there should really be a mechanic that allows you to rearrange your banked cards (maybe you have to surrender your turn to do it) — that and maybe the concept of a worm and a slug are a little too close when compared to the other options.

The Muddles is available now from Big Potato Games’ website.

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