Review: Ducks in Tow

Its an idyllic summer day – the warm sun is high, the foliage is lush, and you’re visiting your favorite park. And the ducks are out! They love to waddle around after you for food, and you know ALL their favorite spots! Take photos, complete formations, and enjoy your stroll around the park while feeding and reuniting your feathered friends.

Ducks in Tow is coming to Kickstarter next week from First Fish Games. Designed by Stephanie Kwok, this charming pick up and deliver game play 2-4 players in about 45 minutes.

Gameplay

Ducks In Two is a tile based pick-up-and-deliver game for 2-4 players that can be played in around 30-40 minutes. On your turn you can take up to four actions to move around the board, feeding ducks to get them to follow you, dropping them off to complete location cards, and adopting ducks.

Players are attempting to feed four colors of ducks and lead them around the park to complete location cards. If a card shows a yellow and an orange duck and the Koi Pond location, you want to get a yellow and an orange duck to follow you to the Koi Pond. But what makes a duck follow you? Feeding them a matching color food cube of course! When you complete a location card, you play it in front of you on either the left or right side of your row of completed location cards, but once played these cards can’t be rearranged.

At the end of the game, you score points based off how long the unbroken strings of ducks on your completed location cards are, as well as if you can overlay clear “duck formation” cards over your location cards. Adopting ducks lets you put a duck meeple on your location cards to help you fill in gaps in your rows and complete formations. The game goes until a player has a certain number of location cards (fewer players means you need more cards), or until all formation cards are claimed. Tot up your score and see if you are the best duck feeder in the park.

Thoughts

At first glance, Ducks in Tow looks like a charming walk through your local park. And while the game was charming, it was no cake walk. There’s strategy to be formed in regards to your path, gathering and distribution, making it more thinky than meets the eye. While we enjoyed collecting ducks, it became evident pretty quickly that planning each turn was a must.

The art in Ducks in Tow is FANTASTIC. Each park scene and location card really is idyllic, and you can easily get lost in all the lovely detail (personal favorite – the Koi Pond). And the front cover features the designer herself! Colored tile markers and card info also contains shapes to help differentiate them for the colorblind. The clear formation cards can be difficult to see for some – players may find it easier to lay them across a light colored surface. (Edit – in the final version formation cards will have a white and black stroke so no matter the surface you’ll be able to see them clearly.)


The rulebook is well laid out and boasts LOTS of pictures to aid with set up as well as as examples and details for each component and instruction. Players also receive reference cards to help set them through a turn and remember actions, a thoughtful inclusion.

Serene theme, gorgeous art, and easy to understand with enough strategy to keep most players happily engaged, Ducks in Tow may be the perfect game to evoke thoughts of warm summer fun while winter creeps in.

Ducks in Tow will be available next week on Kickstarter.