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[Review] Fuddy Duddy

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Joined: 03/23/2011

For some reason, I can't get the poem "Fuzzy Wuzzy was a bear…" out of my head everytime I look at the game Fuddy Duddy (Let's Play Games! LLC, 2005 - Joe Bisicchia and Ken DePasquale). Of course, the name makes for all sorts of jokes, about the people who are qualified to play it; yet the game is actually a simple card game, an easy one that anyone can quickly understand.

And that's a very simple way to give my opinion of the game - it's a simple card game which is entirely too simplistic for me. I DO think that the game would go over well with children and older folk, as it's very light on the brain. Fuddy Duddy is a simple card game in which players are attempting to collect one of five sets. There's a bit of angst involved, but only if a player desires it - and rounds are fairly short (the entire game lasts about twenty minutes). I wouldn't ever request it, but I can see how families with young children and/or folks simply seeking a breezy game might be interested.

Fuddy Duddy is made up of a deck of fifty-two cards, in five suits - Red, Green, Blue, Yellow, and Dud. Each card has one to four dots on it, and there are also two "Wild" cards with four dots each. Card distribution is fairly even, except for "4"s, of which there is only one of each color - and the two wilds. The deck is shuffled and four cards are dealt to each player, with the rest of the cards placed in the middle of the table. One player goes first, with play proceeding clockwise around the table.

A player's turn is rather simple - they draw a card, and then discard one. When discarding a card from their hand, they will discard the card face up to the top of one of four piles in the middle of the table - one pile for each number. Play continues until one player gets a winning hand. Winning hands are either "1" through "4" of the same color (a wild "4" can be substituted), or "1" through "4" of the Duds (wilds cannot be substituted). A "Fuddy" (four of the same color) is worth twenty points, while a "Fuddy Duddy" (four Duds) is worth forty points. Each other player loses five points for each Dud card in their hand. Scores are recorded (no negative scores are possible), and play continues. When one player finally reaches 100 points, they win the game!

Some comments on the game…

1.) Components: The game has some very nicely laminated cards with bright colors and circles on them. My only problem with the cards is that it is nigh impossible for a color blind person to tell the difference between the colors. Regardless, the cards seem fairly durable and fit snugly in a tuck-box (the kind I hate, but easy to store.)

2.) Rules: The rules are printed on three cards - both sides. Normally I really don't appreciate the rules on cards, but they are so simple in this game that it's not a big deal. The game is really easy to teach, and young children will easily pick it up and probably do well against adults. It's the perfect type of game when you have Grandma and Junior playing together.

3.) Duds: Trying to get all four Duds will net a player four points, but it's a risk, because a player can also potentially lose fifteen points by doing so. I've played many hands of Fuddy Duddy and still haven't seen someone successfully complete it. Yet the temptation is always there, although it's rather difficult to complete. My opinion is that a "Fuddy Duddy" is only possible if a player manages to get the "4" Dud card, and even then the other players usually catch on. It's fairly easy to stop someone from getting the Duds they need by discarding cards on top of them. Yet, I'm sure that the possibility is there; and while it exists, people will try to get it.

4.) Fours: The strategy of the game seems to be rather simple - get a "4"! And if you have any - even if you don't plan to collect that color, it's usually best to hang on to it until absolutely necessary to give it up. There's a bit of Lost Cities here, but it's actually much simpler, and it's a little more difficult to guess what colors people are collecting, although a player attempting a Fuddy Duddy is often rather obvious. This game has basically the beginnings of strategy and is best used as an intro game for these purposes.

5.) Fun Factor: Fuddy Duddy is a calm, collected game - and that's really not the kind of game that I'm usually interested in. I don't mind slower, gentler paced games, but they should usually have some deep strategy to match. Fuddy Duddy really takes after its namesake and just plods along at an easy, meandering pace. Some people will enjoy this, as it allows for conversation and just a lazy, enjoyable time. There's a bit of excitement when you are attempting to get the final card you need, but the game can be summed up with the word "relaxing."

So my recommendation for Fuddy Duddy is mixed. I would probably never choose to play the game myself, as it's a bit too simplistic and relaxed to be my cup of tea. But I imagine that there are grandparents and kids the world over who would be excited to play a game of Fuddy Duddy and enjoy it. It's certainly a decent family game - just a bit too calm for mine.

Tom Vasel
"Real men play board games"

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