1-2-3 Cheese is a game by Sunrise Tornado that is coming to Kickstarter on August 23rd, which they sent us to review! You may remember our recent look at Boba Mahjong earlier this month which is also a part of that release.
A link to their kickstarter: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/tatewu/sunrise-market
1-2-3 Cheese is a game similar to rummy wherein you try to collect cards of the same color, series and/or number. You want to fill your opponent(s) card piles and leave yours sparse because the more cards you have at the end of the round in front of you, the less points you get. You want to aim to put down multiple cards in a turn because before you know it the round is over! Those cards in your hand at round end will penalize you too but we will cover more on that later.
You can do a few things on your turn. You can “Drop” which is to match cards of the same number like 2,2,2. You can “Cheese” which is to play sets of cards of three or more that are of increasing value like 3,4,5. You can “Drop and Cheese” if you’d like as well if a 5 card is in the mix. You can also “Gobble” which is to take one card from a pile and place a different one in its stead. Gobble always feels kind of defeating but sometimes you have to do so if you don’t have any other moves. We liked the number of options we had for turn actions overall.
1-2-3 Cheese relies a lot on luck. You still need to be aware of what cards you can play in your hand but we found sometimes that a round would run really short with one sequence of cards or much longer with some less lucky cards. Skill helps but sometimes you are skilled and left with a hand you can do everything or nothing with.
Trying to stick with the same color could be really hard sometimes, especially to get rid of that one purple card in hand! This can also be used to your advantage. In a two player game each player starts with two cards instead of one. I made both of my cards the same color and/or number so it was more difficult for my opponent to place their cards. Little strategies like that can help to lessen the chances the opponent has the right card to Drop or Cheese.
There are three cards that break away from the routine of strictly matching color and number types. The Anton mouse cards, which reset color and number are some we like because they can either be standalone cards or notated at the bottom of random cards in the deck, giving more varied use. Then there are the 5 cards which reset both color and number as well. Last there are the 0 cards which count as a wild number but still have to match the color. These card types allowed for more opportunities to potentially get rid of multitudes of cards at once from your hand.
The game ends when one player reaches 12 points. You get more crumbs at round end for having less and less cards and move your meeple along the scoring track depending on the crumbs amount you end up with. Often in a two player game we ended up with a lot of cards each by nature but think this would vary a lot with higher player counts. However because we both had a lot of cards at round end sometimes it doesn’t weigh heavily on either person as much if it is similar for both people. In a larger game this should be different.
The game itself is also small, mostly consisting of cards but has a few more components, some meeples and a little track for points. It doesn’t take up a lot of space and could be taken on a trip fairly easily.
Language Barrier Playability: Once the rules are explained this game could be played with limited language needed.
Replayability: You can replay to try and do different strategies on your turns but a lot of it will also end up being luck based too. It will likely have the most variance with group size for replayability.
Artwork: We liked the cheese art. The track is also cute and we liked that it wasn’t too big. The translucent meeples were also a plus and we liked the way they looked with the game.
Quality: Good quality cards, sturdy.
Strategy: Very luck based but the types of actions you can take on your turn provide opportunities to strategize depending on what you have.
Instruction Manual: We are not sure if the instruction manual is to be changed so don’t want to comment on it as mucb but we had to read over a few parts more than once, but once we understood it we fully understood the mechanics.
Organization: We are not sure of the final design will change, but this consisted of a card deck, and a separate track that is a little bigger and some tokens in a bag so still very portable. However we would like all items to fit in one container but as this is the pre Kickstarter version we aren’t sure of final design.