Any company that is producing a card game (and there are a lot of
them!) should follow the standard set by daVinci Games. I first saw
their new style box with the second edition of Bang!, but now they're
putting all their card games in it. The plastic insert holds the cards
in the decent sized box; and while you can't store the thing in your
hip pocket, none of the cards fall out, and everything is stored in a
decent order. Moby Pick (daVinci Games, 2004 - Luigi Ferrini) is one
of a new series of card games produced by the company; and if one
judged by the box alone, it's an excellent game.
Without the box, however, it's a different story. Moby Pick, while
being a rather strange name, is a memory game. If you are unhappy
with such games, such as Mamma Mia!, than this is certainly going to
displease you. On the other hand, if you're a sucker for memory
games, as I am (even though I rot at them), then this is a good one -
able to involve up to eight players. It's fairly simplistic, but
plays quickly; and quick games that accommodate eight players are few
and far between.
A deck of 105 cards is shuffled, with two cards dealt face down to
each player. Players may look at their cards and memorize them, then
must leave them face down on the table, not looking at them again.
Cards either have a red, yellow, or blue background; the name "Molly",
"Polly", or no name; and a picture of a girl, whale, or parrot -
making twenty-seven different combinations. There are also several
green action cards in the deck; if a player draws these, they put them
back and draw until they get one of the other cards. The remaining
cards are shuffled, and an alarm clock card is placed sixteen cards
from the bottom of the deck. One player is chosen to start, and the
On a turn, the player checks to see if they have any face down cards
in front of them. If they don't, they take the top card of the deck,
look at it, and place it face down in front of them. Whether or not
this is done, the player turns over the top card and places it face-up
in the middle of the table. If the card is one of the combination,
the revealing player must slowly say, "Molly, Polly, Moby Pick". Any
other player may touch the card in the middle of the table during the
time the player says this; otherwise, the player who is saying this
idiotic phrase takes the card, memorizes it, and places it in front of
them. If a player touches the card, they must then reveal one of the
cards in front of them. If the two cards match exactly, in color,
name, and picture, the player takes both cards and puts them in a
"dream" pile in front of them. If one of the cards is a "Crazy Dream"
card (has no name), then the player need only match color and picture.
If the cards do not match, both are discarded. In a four-player
game, if everything matches but the name, the player may keep one of
the cards, discarding the other.
If the player turns over an action card, they immediately follow the
action on it.
- Remind card: The player can look at their face-down cards to
remember what is on them.
- Confuse card: The player can shuffle the cards in front of another
player, but only in a limited way, similar to "pea under the shell"
- Reverse card: The player turns over the next card, and players must
match the card, but with "reverse" matching, meaning that the two
cards must be completely different - both with name, color and
When the alarm clock is shown, players tally their points in their
dream piles. Each "Crazy Dream" card is worth two points, and all
other cards are worth one. The player with the most points is the
winner (ties are broken by number of cards).
Some comments on the game...
1.) Components: I already stated that I loved the box, and the cards
are really good quality, also. Sadly, since the game revolves so much
around color, color-blind folk may have a problem with it, although
the colors picked are fairly distinct. The cards are clear, while the
names can easily be confused (only the first letter is changed).
This, of course, is deliberate, and I've found that most of the time
when people mess up, it's because of the name. The special cards have
no text, but there are only three different types, and the pictures on
them make it pretty clear what to do. This game is a nicely produced
2.) Rules: The rules are part of a folded up sheet in the box, in
Italian, English, German, and French - and are well-formatted, with
illustrations and a whole game example. The game itself is extremely
easy to teach, as it is a very simple game. I was able to teach the
game to groups of teenagers and younger children, and met nobody who
had a problem understanding the rules.
3.) Memory: As I stated above, people who don't like memory games
would probably really not enjoy this game. At first, it seems
extremely simple - just memorize the few cards in front of you. But
you would be surprised at how easy it is to forget one attribute of a
card on the table in front of you. And just which card is which?
When a player has three or four cards in front of them, the memory
factor increases, and a lot of confusion can occur. For most people,
this means that the game has a fairly level playing field. It is,
however, possible for someone with a superb memory to do extremely
well at this game, although I haven't run across any yet.
4.) Players: The game works with a few players, but it's much better
with seven or eight players. This is a tremendous game in situations
where you have a lot of people willing to play a game in a short
period of time. It can be taught in probably less than a minute, and
everyone is involved every turn.
5.) Fun Factor: Despite the stupidity of the name (at least that's
what all those I taught said), everyone had fun saying the phrase, and
everyone had fun slapping their hand on the table to touch the card.
Or, almost slapping the card, then having a doubt and quickly pulling
their hand back. I've seen people who bragged about their memory do
poorly at the game, and people who had low self-confidence do quite
well. While not a "gamer's game" by any stretch of the imagination,
the game is a fast, fun one.
My recommendation for getting the game is quite simple; if you're
looking for a quick, lite game that accommodates a lot of people, then
this is a nice one. As long as you don't disdain memory games (and
there are some who do), then you'll probably enjoy the game. It's
lighter than other games in the genre (like Mamma Mia!), and doesn't
really have a lot of strategic options, but it's fast and fun. And
it's a tremendous game for groups of teenagers and children - anyone
with the opportunity to work with young folk should definitely
consider this game.
"Real men play board games."