The food chain can be rough, especially when you’re at the bottom of it. FORK is a trick-taking game from Sunrise Tornado and designer Ta-Te Wu. The game relies on the structure of the food chain and use terrain types as the 4 suites in the game.
Welcome to the Food Chain
FORK stands for the 4 tiers of cards that you’ll find in the game. Fox, Owl, Rabbit and Kale are the 4 card types and is also a reminder of the hierarchy in this food chain. All players are given the same number of fox cards (based on player count) along with a hand of cards.
Each card has a number value, terrain type (or suit), an animal type and the number of points you receive at the end of the game. The starting player will choose a terrain type for that trick at the start of the turn. Players will play a card based on the terrain type that was chosen. However, the fox can be played in any terrain so this is the most powerful and versatile card in the game.
Unlike many trick-taking games, cards are played face down unless you play a Kale card. These are played face up during the round. This gives players just a little information on what’s available and helps players to play the best card possible.
Like in the animal kingdom, players can be vicious. Playing a fox puts you at the top of the food chain which gives you the most options. The Fox can eat the Owl or the Rabbit but never the Kale. A player who plays a Fox can eat a Rabbit, possibly taking away a scoring opportunity from the player who played the Owl.
Since everyone gets the same number of Fox cards, counting cards is a must. If two players put out a Fox on the same turn, those Fox cards are cancelled out and removed from the game.
Kale, King of the Food Chain?
When a player eats a card, that card is added to their scoring pile and the card they played is removed from the game. These cards are scored based on the number in the star icon in the bottom left of the card. Most cards are a static number of points and the Kale cards are based on how many cards you end the game with.
Playing a Kale card that is linked to the chosen terrain type is scored by the player who played the card as long as it’s not eaten during the round. While Kale seems like the weakest in the food chain, the scoring opportunities here are great. Playing this at the right time and flying under the radar is a way to accumulate points.
Once a player has won 5 cards (7 cards in a two-player game), the game ends.
A Tasty and Portable Trick-Taker
We’ve accumulated a lot of trick-taking games over the years and we definitely have our favorites. FORK has a card hierarchy that we haven’t seen in a trick-taking game before and it feels fresh. Playing cards face down keeps players guessing but it’s not as random as you might imagine. There’s plenty of strategy here and each game plays in around 20 minutes.
Erin and I were surprised that the 2-player ruleset was as fun as it was. Both players get 3 Fox cards and some cards are removed from the game. Players are playing 2 cards during a round (alternating) which makes it feel like 4 players are at the table. Players cannot eat their own played cards which leads to some really strategic plays during a game.
FORK is a really portable game and is a card game that will absolutely be carried around in my pocket.
You can join the Kickstarter campaign for FORK now through March 2, 2023.
A prototype of the game was provided for this coverage. Components and rules covered in this preview are not finalized. Read more about our preview policies at One Board Family.