Wonder Forge has come into the realm of tabletop with some really exciting offerings, from the deeply strategic yet accessibly themed Disney Villainous to the fun social party game YEAH Nope, it’s clear the publisher is creating games for all types of players. Ya Blew It! is a new offering from the publisher that goes back to one of the most ubiquitous of gaming mechanics: push your luck. At its heart, Ya Blew It! is a game where players dance on a knife’s edge between luck and strategy, taking advantage of the hand they’re dealt, while simultaneously hoping the luck of their opponents doesn’t hold out.
Within the thematic dynamite-shaped game box, players will find a family-friendly game that accommodates 2-6 players and plays in 20 minutes. And they’re not kidding about 20 minutes; the time required to play doesn’t increase as the numbers of players do. The design of the game makes it a consistent 20-minute experience, and the fun had over those twenty minutes means that if one player had some rough luck, it’s easy enough to reset the game and play again (and you’ll likely want to.)
The game is straightforward: players draw from a Prospector Deck to find gems (used to score) and game-influencing cards. The player whose turn it is is the Prospecting Player – they’re doing the digging and are flipping the cards from the Prospector Deck during the round. All the cards they flip are part of the claim. After a gem card is flipped by the Prospecting Player, the other players get a chance to try to steal the claim or pass on stealing it. If they try to steal, they roll their dynamite die (an 8 sided-die shaped like a stick of dynamite) and try to match a number shown on any of the gem cards. If they’re successful, they get to steal the Claim. If they fail, they’re unable to try to steal the claim again for the rest of the round and are effectively out.
The Prospecting player has an advantage: if all players either fail to steal their claim or pass on attempting to steal it, they can simply keep their claim and add their cards to the scoring area, or gamble. If they gamble, they flip more cards from the Prospector Deck, adding one or two more gem cards to the claim. They then roll their dynamite, and if they roll a number that does not show up on the cards, they win the claim. If they don’t, they lose the claim and all the cards of the claim are placed in the discard pile.
Players score the gem in sets that they’ve collected, but since prospectors are a suspicious lot, each prospector has a “cursed” gem – gems of a particular color are counted against a player in the end game.
There are also a few elements that can tip luck for or against you. The Fire in the Hole cards force each player to discard gems they’ve already acquired that match the number they roll on their dynamite. Prospecting, after all, is a risky and perilous venture. A Safe card can make an entire color set of gems safe from being discarded with Fire in the Hole. Faulty Detonator cards allow players to reroll, and Claim Jumper cards allow the Prospecting Player the opportunity to take the claim before other miners have a chance to steal it.
The nitty gritty is all covered in Becca’s How to Play video below:
With push-your-luck games, the more straightforward strategy is always to play conservatively – keeping claims while they’re modest, trying to steal larger claims when your chances are high, and avoiding gambling. But with big risk comes big rewards, and letting claims grow larger and gambling when you’ve got Faulty Detonator cards in hand, or Claim Jumping can yield piles of gems and may be the path to victory. Because the gameplay is straightforward and accessible, it’s perfect for families and social games that keep you on the edge of your seat.
With its fast and engaging gameplay, it’s a delightful game for families and larger groups (since the game accommodates more than 4 and doesn’t slow down with 5 or 6 players). You can see the game in action in this episode of Game the Game:
Ya Blew It! is available at Amazon, Target, and your favorite neighborhood board game store.
Image Credits: Teri Litorco
This post is sponsored by Wonder Forge.