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Board Game Spotlight

 

Fruit Ninja: Card Master - A Kickstarter Preview

PUBLISHER: Lucky Duck Games
DESIGNER: David Cicurel, Pierre Compain
PLAYERS: 2 - 4
TIME: 20-35 min

Introduction to Fruit Ninja: Card Master

From the Publisher: Fruit Ninja: Card Master is a fast-paced deck building game that allows 2 to 4 players to compete and prove their wit and dexterity. As ninja apprentices, they need to master their arts and prove to Sensei who is the most worthy trainee.

The game takes place over four rounds in which each player has to play their 15-card deck in a real-time match-making showdown. After each battle, players have a chance to upgrade their cards and improve their deck!

I received a prototype version of Fruit Ninja: Card Master. Art and Components are subject to change.

OVERALL GAMEPLAY

One of the really neat aspects behind bringing a Mobile App to the tabletop, is the inclusion of its own companion app! Talk about metagaming! The companion app allows players to see how much time remains in the round. When a player finishes playing all of their cards from their deck, they tap the screen which then gives all remaining players 5 seconds to play as many cards as possible. When “Ninja!” is shouted, the round is over.

Fruit Ninja is played over 4 rounds and each round consists of 2 phases:

  1. Dojo Phase
  2. Buying Phase

Before starting the Dojo Phase, each player will shuffle their deck and place it faceup on their player board. Each round is played in real-time and will last a minimum of 40 seconds.

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Dojo Phase

Players compete to slice fruit on each of the available Dojos. During this phase, each player can: play a Fruit Card -or- play an Action Card from the top of their left of right deck.

Players will shuffle through their deck (like reading the pages of a book) swapping cards left to right or vice versa. This allows players to find the correct card combination to play onto a Dojo. 

Playing a Fruit Card

Slicing and Dicing Fruit is the key to winning Fruit Ninja! In order to cut a fruit, you will need to match the top slice action with the matching fruit on the bottom of a card on a Dojo. Playing a Fruit card successfully will give you 1 point on the corresponding Dojo at the end of the round.

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Playing an Action Card

Action cards have a red background and are played to the central board as opposed to a Dojo. They provide special effects and interactions during the game.

Bombs can either be played by players, as an Action card, or be found on Dojos.When a

If a Fruit card is Bombed, all connected cards from the same player explode and don’t count any point towards winning the Dojo.

The effect of a Bomb from a Dojo or a Token can be negated by placing an Anti-Bomb Token on it. One Anti-Bomb negates only one Bomb effect.

Winning a Dojo

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At the end of a round, check the ranking of every player in each Dojo.

Start by removing all card series that have been exploded by a Bomb, unless stopped by an Anti-Bomb. 

Each card in a Dojo is worth 1 point to the player who owns it (Sleeve color helps to distinguish the owner of the card).

The player with the most points wins the Dojo (first position reward). Other players also receive compensation depending on their positions. They need at least one card that hasn’t exploded in the dojo to do so.

Players earn a number of Victory Points corresponding to the number of Golden Apples or/and Starfruit (Money) based on their final position for each Dojo.

In case of a tie, the tied players win the position reward (i.e., two players in a tie for first place win the first place reward, and the next player will win the 3rd place reward).

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Buying Phase

The player who ended the round starts the Buying Phase. During this phase, players follow these rules:

  • He may buy from any of the Upgrade Cards with the Starfruit Tokens he owns.
  • He can only buy the top card from each stack
  • The cost in Starfruit is written on the right bottom of each Upgrade Cards.
  • Several cards can be bought at the same time.
  • If there are no cards left, you can’t buy any more cards.

Upgrade Cards replace Starting Cards in the Sleeves. The player should always have 15 Sleeved cards.

The next player, in clockwise order, can purchase cards. Repeat until all players have bought their desired cards.

Starting a New Round

To begin a new round, follow these steps:

  • Discard all Dojo cards from the previous round.
  • Each player returns to the box the cards that he removed from his deck (you can’t take them back).
  • Reveal new Dojo cards equal to the number of players plus 1 (3 for 2 players, etc.).
  • Each player shuffles his deck and puts it face up to the left on his board.
  • A new round can then begin.

How to Win

At the end of the 4th round, the game is over.

Each player adds up his Gold Apples. The player with the most points wins the game!

In case of a tie, the winner is the one who has the most remaining Starfruit.
If the tie remains, they share the title of Card Master, or do a rematch to see who is the best!


WHAT MIGHT YOU LIKE?

There is a lot to like about Fruit Ninja: Card Master. For starters, the game is a perfect blend of deck-building and speed/dexterity. While the game hinges on dexterity , players who may not be the quickest should not be alarmed. Calm and collective players will be rewarded if they are both creative (using bombs) and situationally aware of the Dojos and their rewards. Remember, slow is smooth, and smooth is fast.

Fruit Ninja incorporates a surprising amount of strategy for a light-filler, party game and allows players to choose how to upgrade their deck in a variety of ways; including adding nice mix of player interaction in the form of bombs, anti-bombs and movement cards.  

The art is vibrant and fun, immersing players in the chaos of fruit slicing and dicing and the gameplay translates well from mobile game to tabletop. The companion app works well and adds a nice aesthetic, and gameplay touch to the overall experience.


WHAT MIGHT YOU DISLIKE?

 

If you aren’t a fan of dexterity games akin to Spoons, Dutch Blitz, Jungle Speed, etc. then Fruit Ninja is unlikely to be a game you will enjoy.

Fruit Ninja: Card Master is also a light party game filler. If you've read this far into the preview, I would assume you are interested in the game and understand it's target audience, but if you don't, Fruit Ninja is not a heavy game. Players who are looking for a deep game experience will want to look elsewhere. 


FINAL THOUGHTS

Fruit Ninja is a fun, fast-paced dexterity game that incorporates deck-building to keep the game interesting and competitive. If you were to tell me 6 months ago that Fruit Ninja would be translated from the digital realm to the physical, I would have been skeptical. However, having played Fruit Ninja: Card Master, I can assure you that there’s very little lost in translation and the unique theme pairs very well with the overall design.

Overall, Fruit Ninja: Card Master is a great filler that will hit the table often, with the right crowd, and delivers a near seamless transition from app to table. If you’re a fan of the mobile game, you’re likely to enjoy its tabletop counterpart.

You will like this game if: you enjoy dexterity and speed games, deck-building, take-that and cutting fruit without having to clean up the mess, all while acting like a ninja.

You can watch our Druid City Games team live-play below!

Important note: As of writing and releasing this preview, the Kickstarter for Fruit Ninja: Card Master has been canceled and postponed to a later date. You can follow the update here and be on the look-out for the retail release of Fruit Ninja: Card Master in stores in 2018.

Druid City Games and the Board Game Spotlight were paid to advertise, market and preview this game. Our opinions are our own and we remain objective as we play and preview our games for the board game community.  We reserve all rights to reject games that do not meet our standards.