Let Them Eat Shrimp! is a game by Steve Finn, published by Doctor Finn’s Games. It is for 2-5 players. In this game, players will be fish trying to swim, spawn and eat shrimp while they try to avoid the sharks. They will be placing fish tiles to gain points. The player that can best increase their school of fish and earn the most points will be declared the winner.
In this review, I will mainly be discussing the basic game. To begin, choose how difficult you want the game to be and place the board pieces together on their proper side, 2 for 2-3 players and 3 for more. For each board, you will take a triangle shaped fish tile and drop it onto the board. You then place it on the space nearest to where it landed. Each player is then given a player shield, 3 egg tokens and 4 fish tiles; 1 of each shape. Players then should place their tiles and tokens behind their shield. The rest of the fish tiles should be kept near the board for easy access. The first player is chosen and play now begins.
On a player’s turn, they will place a fish tile and then take the required action for the place where the tile was placed. When placing a tile, the player must make sure that at least 1 side of the placed tile touches at least 1 side of another tile. If the player has no tiles to place, they must return 1 of their egg tokens to the supply and then may take a tile of their choice to then play on the board. If a player is unable to place a fish tile and has no eggs to trade in for a fish tile, then the player is knocked out of the game.
When placing a fish tile, the player will perform the action of whatever items they cover up. If more than one item is covered, the actions will take place in the following order; fish egg/shrimp, starfish, and shark. When covering up a fish egg or shrimp space, the player takes the corresponding shaped tile from the supply. It is then placed behind their player shield. If a starfish is covered, the player must roll the fish die and then take whatever action the roll results in. If a fish shape is rolled, the player takes the appropriate fish tile. If a starfish is rolled they may take a fish tile of their choosing. If a shark is rolled, they receive nothing. If a shark or even part of a shark is covered, the player must roll the fish die and take an action based on the result of their roll. If a fish shape is rolled, they must take a fish tile that matches the shape rolled from their supply and return it to the main supply. If a shark is rolled, they must return a fish tile of their choice. If a starfish is rolled, nothing happens. If a player is unable to return the correct type of fish tile, they must return an egg token instead. If they have no more egg tokens to return, then they are knocked out of the game.
The game can end in 1 of 3 different ways. The first way is if all the other players have been knocked out of the game, then the remaining player is the winner. Another way to end the game is if at the start of a player’s turn there is no place to legally place a hexagon shaped fish tile, the game ends and scoring then occurs. The last way to end the game is if at the start of a player’s turn there are no more fish or shrimp showing on the board, the game ends and scoring occurs.
Points are given to a player for each set of fish tiles that they have, scoring from 1 to 5 points. Players also score points for any shrimp tiles they acquired. Egg tokens can be used as a wild token for whatever type of token is desired. Once all the points have been added up, the player with the most points is the winner.
The game also has rules for an advanced game. The main differences are in setup and when covering up a shark with a fish tile. Players receive player mats which must be filled with a fish tile of each type at the beginning of each round. They must then place each tile on the main board following the rules of placement as in the basic game. Players can be knocked out if they can’t fill up the tile or return an egg to make up for the missing tile. When a shark is covered, the player has to roll the die for each triangle covered that has a piece of the shark in it. Another difference is that if a shark is rolled the player loses an egg token while a starfish causes the player to lose a tile of their choice. The rest of the game play is exactly the same. Ending the game and scoring occurs the same way with the winner being the player with the most points or being the last man standing.
This game has lots of fishy components. The boards are double sided with one side having less sharks for easier game play and the other having more for harder games. These look nice and are quite thick and strong. The player mats, fish tiles, player shields, shrimp tokens and egg tokens are all made of thick cardboard and are quite nice. I really like the different designs on each of the player shields. Each one has a unique looking surfer on it and makes for some interesting art. The fish and shrimp tiles look like something you might see in an aquarium as they have really nice looking fish pictures on them. The fish die is really quite cool and I love the designs on it. There’s even a little black wooden pawn that’s used for the advanced game for keeping track of the starting player. All in all, I’m really amazed at the quality and uniqueness of the design of this game.
9 out of 10
The rulebook is quite nice and has some really great looking artwork in it. There are several pictures and examples throughout the book. Everything is explained really well and is super simple to read and understand. The advanced rules are a nice addition for ramping up an already good game. There are also some extra variants for swapping up the game a bit as well. The rulebook also includes several FAQs to clarify a few things that might come up while playing the game. The back page has summaries for both basic and advanced games from setup to scoring. I really like how well everything is laid out and the design of the book is quite nice.
9 out of 10
The gameplay for this game consists mostly of a lot of tile placement. I like how that placing a tile can help you gain more tiles to help you out or can completely destroy you by taking away tiles. There is a bit of randomness due to the dice rolls but it’s not that big of a deal as most of the strategy comes through the tiles. I really like that there are several different tile shapes. I think it might have been quite a boring game is all the pieces were exactly the same shape and size. This game is quite fun though. It can be fairly light and simple in the basic game or can be quite strategic in the advanced games. The game doesn’t take that long to play. Most games usually last no more than 20 minutes or so. It’s really a great tile laying game.
9 out of 10
Let Them Eat Shrimp! is a light to medium weight game of fish placement. It’s fairly simple but can involve quite a bit of strategy in the more advanced game. The artwork is beautiful and full of fishy goodness. It’s a fairly short game with most sessions lasting around 20 minutes. It’s simple to teach and learn but can also be taken up a notch through the advanced game or the variants. I highly recommend it and find it to be lots of fun to play. Fans of tile placement games like Carcassone or the like should enjoy this one. This is a great game and one I’m sure you’ll enjoy.
9 out of 10
For more information about this and other great games, please check out Doctor Finn’s Games at their site.