Theme and What is it?
Grackles are loud, shimmering birds. They love to line up on telephone wires at dusk in the Southwest United States. In this light abstract game, players are lining up their grackles on the telephone wire to score the most points.
The game begins with two starting tiles. These tiles have no valid plays so there is not a major advantage to going first.
On their turn, players can do one of four things: draw and place a new tile, place birds to connect two unoccupied spots on the telephone wire that match their bird’s color, extend one of their existing lines or rotate an empty tile (up to five times per game tracked by tokens).
Players are trying to get the most birds as possible on the grid. After the tiles have formed a five by five grid, the game ends when there are no more possible moves. The player(s) with the most birds on the grid win the game.
My favorite color is purple and I love abstract games. So, the purple colored discs and simple look of this game is right of my alley. The rules are one double-sided sheet which is also appealing to me. I like games that I can open up and basically start playing immediately.
Game Build Quality
There are only four components: tiles, player aids, birds and rotate tokens. The tiles, player aids and rotate tokens are the same sturdy cardboard. The birds are round, plastic discs which are very nice.
I don’t feel there is much to the art in Grackles other than the box art which is nice. The tiles are four circles with colors and the plastic bird discs have a small bird indented on them. The tiles do have certain line patterns surrounding them to differentiate for players who are color blind.
This game was a blast. I really enjoyed it a lot. Players have to make decisions to better their game that will not setup other players. In the meantime, other players could rotate tiles, etc. to benefit from that move at a later turn. It is very interesting gameplay. We played with the full four players and all were engaged.
Age Range & Weight
The box suggests players 10+. Younger children could play as the mechanics are simple, but they may have trouble with the strategy. I think that 10+ is the best starting age to understand the entire game without having assistance.
In our first game, a player did not quite understand one of the rules and setup two players with a large lineup right from the beginning. This set the tone for the rest of the game for that player. I mention this because even though this happened, the scores were still very close. There was a tie for second place with only a one point difference from the winner. And, there was only four points separating the last player from second place. So, still much room to make a comeback in this game, however, if you get frustrated easily this may not be your favorite. I personally love these types of games and as I have stated above, I thoroughly enjoyed this one.