Happy Pigs

| Your Opinion
Category: Age: 8+ 30 - 45 Min 3 - 6 Players 2013

Game Summary

Set-Up Ease: It’s not so easy to set-up a pig farm.3 / 5 Gameplay Ease: There is more than meets the eye. 3 / 5 Replay Value: Pay attention to your rivals. 2 / 5 Thematic: You will feel their struggle as they grow. 4 / 5
Overall Rating: A fast and delightful economic game 7 / 10

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Goal of the game and gameplay overview

As you may guess, in this game each player takes the role of a pig farmer which tries to maximize his money by raising and selling pigs. There are four sizes of pigs in the game, Piglet, Small, Medium and Big. The game lasts four Seasons (starting with Summer) and each Season lasts four rounds. Meaning that the richest player at the end of Winter will be the winner of the game and the best pig farmer!

During a round each player will secretly choose one of the four available actions to take. One Season card is face up and active each round and determines any special rule that applies during the round and depicts the number of times each action will be taken.
Let’s take a look at the actions:

  • Feed: For each such action you can feed one of your pigs, which will grow
  • Buy: For each such action you may buy a pig or one of the three available “Tools”
  • Sell: For each such action you may sell a pig
  • Breed: For each such action one of your medium or big pigs may give birth to a cute piglet!

The meat of the game is that when more than one person chooses a certain action, the number of available times it can be taken for the round is divided through these players. So if you are the only person that takes a certain action, you will use it for the maximum number of times that it is available that round! The Tools in the game will help you grow your pigs faster through feeding or birth and vaccinate them in order to not die through a season change. A cute but pure economical game.

Personal thoughts

I own the IELLO version of the game which is the latest one. The components of this game are top-notch and there is a huge pile of them! It’s cute and high quality aesthetics are definitely a big plus for me. The gameplay itself is fine, the Seasons have some thematic flavor so you know what to expect more or less (because 2 cards are left out from each Season deck) from each one. Some say that there is a dominant strategy, to raise a big farm of pigs and wait to sell at the end of the game, which always gave me the win. But I think that it is more about to figure out which move will give you the most money, which at the end of the day is to raise as many pigs as you can in order to sell them and if possible at a better price than the default. So the game is all about opportunities and reading your opponents so you can take the best possible action. Which comes to the 2 available strategic Variants of the game.
The first one which I recommend to play with in each game, is to turn face up the Season card that is about to be active in the next round. This adds to your strategy as you know what lies ahead and give you some space to calculate. The second one is a more strategic way to play but less fun for me. It says that each player has to choose their action in turn order, so you can see what the player before you chose as an action and you may decide to take another one because as mentioned, you have to split an action with all the other players that also chose it. In my opinion this variant adds to the downtime of the game as each one has more info to figure out the best move which translates in money. Also it takes from the fun of the game, from trying to read your opponents in order to figure out what action they may choose!
Overall is a game that plays fast but you have to think hard and it is extremely cute and light in appearance at the same time. If you see these Piglets you will understand why I spam the word cute!

The right mood to play the game

This game is not as easy as it looks. It is not hard to learn how to play but it will take you some time to play it efficiently, especially if you are someone that doesn`t play games regularly.
Try not to get frustrated if your farm doesn`t go well or if an opponent outplays you because you must have a clear mind to take important decisions at the right time.
Wake up your business mind and get ready to take care of some really cute pigs, form families and take them to the Pig Fair as when the time comes you will have to say the final goodbye.

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Theofilos K

=Teo K. here= -Freelance game designer. -Ex Game Guru. -Seasonal board game instructor. Topics I like: gamification, game theory, philosophy, phycology. As you may assume, I am a board game addict and will try to share my passion and experience in the Industry with all that love this hobby!

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