Thursday, March 26, 2009

#23: Pop Belly

Pop Belly/Fette Bauche
  • designer: Klaus Teuber
  • publisher: Klee/SimplyFun
  • date: 1999
  • BoardGameGeek rank/rating: 3902/5.71
  • age: 4+
  • # of players: 2-4
  • print status: in print
  • cost: $27.00 (SimplyFun)
The original name of the game (in English, "Full Bellies"), is a little less cute than the pun, Pop Belly - but the underlying game theme & mechanic remain the same: pigs eat too much & explode.

Yes, campers, you heard me correct... it's a game about overfeeding "the other white meat." Players take turns loading their colored food chips into five different pigs (two pigs per turn/2-5 chips) based on a dice roll, hoping not to cause them to pop their bellies. (As someone so beautifully put it in the BGG overview of the game, "this is not considered good pig farming technique.") The biggest decisions you face in the game are:
  • which pig gets the chips first? and
  • how many chips?
When a belly pops, everyone but the player who caused the pork grenade to go off gets as many victory points as they had chips in the tummy of the twisty-tailed Monty Python routine. ("It's only wafer-thin.")

You may be wondering, "Mark, since I can tell from the picture that all the pigs are the same size, how in the world is there any suspense in the game?" I'm happy to report that the designer, Klaus "I Invented Settlers of Catan" Teuber, created a nifty way to keep everyone guessing - the plugs for each of these mini-piggybanks has a different capacity.

Hard to believe you can tease a wonderful game out of such ridiculous subject matter, but it's accomplished with style & flair. The game runs an almost perfect length - long enough to even out a bit of the luck, but not so long that the fun runs out. It plays well with 2, 3 or 4 players... and the age recommendation is perfect.

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