A to Z 2015 : PIGPEN

From one Filler to the next! Although, despite this next entry being claimed as a Filler game, the one experience I had of it took much longer than what was listed on the box. This may have been because almost everyone in the playgroup was learning the game, but I suspect not. The rules are nowhere near complicated, but I think the way the game plays can cause for lengthy sessions.

Grab your saws and hammers and let's take a look at the Kickstarter game that focuses on building yourself a handy dandy...

In Pigpen players compete by building, well, pigpens in attempts to house the most pigs. Or at least the most valuable ones. In the process of doing this, you will need specific cards to build a predetermined layout before you can capture any scampering squealers. At the same time, however, you will want to try to hinder each of your opponent's progress as well.

These tasks are done by playing various cards like Attacks, Walls, and Gates. Below is a sample of cards you will find in the game:

To set up the game, the Farmer cards and Pig cards are split into their own separate decks, which are then shuffled. Each player is dealt 5 Farmer cards and the Farmer Deck is placed in the center of the play area. The Pig Deck is also placed in the center play area. This is all the prep needed to begin the game. The first player takes their turn.

There are essentially 3 actions a player may make on their turn. They can play up to 2 Farmer cards from their hand, and/or discard a card, followed by drawing back up to 5 cards, before finally ending their turn.

When playing cards from their hand, a player will be building additions to their pigpen — installing either Walls, Gates, and/or Feeds — or attacking opponents with Saws, Hammers, or even Dynamite!

To capture a pig, your pigpen must be built with a specific layout of cards. 1 column of 2 cards that are Walls (Fences, Bricks, and/or Metal), followed by a Gate adjacent to the top Wall and a Feed beneath it, and then another column of 2 Walls. Once you have completed building a pigpen you capture a pig, which is either the top card of the Pig Deck or the loose pig, if there happens to be one.

Attack cards (orange colored) can be played on a Wall type specified on the card. Doing so, successfully, destroys that Wall and it's placed in a discard pile formed next to the Farmer Deck. This is how you stop players from capturing pigs, or letting them loose (where they are placed face-up in the center of the play area). If a player doesn't have a completed pen around their pig(s) at the end of their turn the pig(s) escapes! Some Attack cards target a player's Gate or Feed, as well. If successful, these cards have to be discarded and eventually replaced.

NOTE: Wall cards have a Defense number assigned to it, while each Attack card has an Attack number assigned. For an Attack card to be allowed and played on a Wall, destroying it, its Attack number must be higher than the targeted Wall's Defense number.

Once a pigpen is completed, you can continue building to either side of it, using one of the Wall columns as a mutually shared structure. Be mindful, though, if one piece of a mutually shared Wall is destroyed it affects both pigpen stalls and multiple pigs may escape at once, if you fail to repair it in time.

Above is an example of someone who had successfully built a pigpen and captured a pig (unfortunately Peter Pig just parties and isn't worth any points — indicated by the number in the upper right corner of the Pig cards). It also looks like they had a second completed stall, capturing Pearl Pig, but someone played a Gate Key card forcing the player to destroy their gate. Being unable to replace the Gate by the end of their next turn allowed Pearl Pig to escape.

NOTE: Only one pig can be loose at any given time. If one escapes while one is already loose, the new pig takes it's spot and the original is placed at the bottom of the Pig Deck. If two pigs are set loose at the same time, the one worth the least amount of points goes to the bottom of the Pig Deck.

If the Farmer Deck runs out of cards, the discard pile is reshuffled and forms a new deck. In addition to this, the bottom card of the Pig Deck is removed from the game.

Once the last pig is captured, the game ends immediately and each player has the opportunity to repair their pigpens, if able. The player with the highest value in captured pigs wins! If tied, the player with the most pigs wins!

Full Review Forthcoming

Have you ever played Pigpen? If so, what did you think of it? If not, is it one you think you'd like to try and/or introduce to your playgroup?