The Dad Game: Checking out “Scavenge” (and Gen Con, too)

The game Scavenge lets you become a raccoon and forces you to decide how much risk you want to take in pursuit of garbage goodies. (Courtesy photo)
The annual Gen Con game convention will take place Thursday through Sunday in Indianapolis. (Courtesy logo)

When I was a kid, I wanted to be a raccoon. Seriously.

They could climb trees, manipulate stuff with their little paws, and they sported a cool eye mask everywhere they went. They’re like the Batman of wildlife.

Granted, I was fuzzy on where they slept and what they ate, but considering the stories my parents told me years later, I apparently ate a few things best left on the ground and fell asleep under the coffee table on more than one occasion.

But all that didn’t make any difference. I felt sure that the cool raccoon eye mask would make up for everything. (In the end, I got a Lone Ranger mask, which resolved my raccoon boy-crush.)

Although my childhood raccoon dreams never came true, I can still give that life a try thanks to Scavenge from CHOU! Games. (For the game website, click here.)

In Scavenge, players are raccoons checking out the neighbor’s garbage cans for fun, food and victory points. Although it’s primarily a “push-your-luck” game, there’s also a good dose of memory training as you try to remember which cards were played so you know where it’s safe to scavenge for goodies.

The game includes three decks of cards representing the trash on the porch, in the backyard and on the driveway.

On each player’s turn, he or she picks one location and begins scavenging by flipping cards from the top of the deck one at a time. Most of the time, you find tasty garbage marked with a point value, but scary things await in there as well.

You can keep drawing from the pile until you either decide to stop and claim your garbage cards by putting them in your hand, or you draw a card like Noise or Spotlight that ends your turn. You could also find pests like dogs, rats, ants and crows that make you (and sometimes others) discard cards from your hand.

Drawing face-down cards is the first place the push-your-luck mechanic comes into play, but it also affects whether you decide to draw new cards on your turn or “stash” the trash you found on earlier turns to score points.

If you keep drawing, you could load up with plenty of points for your stash, but you risk losing half of them if you get caught by a dog. Decisions, decisions!

In another twist I really like, the game ends either when players run out of cards to draw or all three Cheeseburger cards are put into player stashes.

Scavenge works great for families since there’s no direct player competition. It also will engage younger kids (even early readers) since there’s very little text but lots of fun drawings. It gets a solid Dad Game recommendation!

The game is on Kickstarter through Aug. 25, so you can pre-order your copy through there.

IT’S GEN CON TIME

This week, I’m off to Indianapolis for the annual Gen Con game convention. It’s always a great event for seeing friends from all over the country (and a few from around the world), but it’s even better this year since more than 600 new games will be released at the show. For information on Gen Con, click here.

Although the four-day badges are all gone, if you want to give the show a try I recommend coming on Sunday when badges drop to $15 per person. It gives you a chance to see the sights, walk through the exhibit hall and figure out if you want to make a weekend of it next year.

Watch my Twitter and Instagram accounts this weekend for more updates and photos than you may want to see. I’ll give you a full recap of what I found at the show next time!

Fort Wayne resident John Kaufeld is a best-selling author, speaker and dad. He enjoys playing games with his family and letting others know about them. You can email him at john@thedadgame.com.

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