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Outdoors Bestsellers

Park Life (1-5 players) is a trick-taking game currently crowdfunding on Kickstarter, the campaign lasting until May 21. In this game, you play as savvy sellers in a park who try to exploit weather variations to make as much money as they can.

Park Life: cards
Image source: Kickstarter

The game is played with a hand of 10 cards per player. Each round, each player plays a card, the starting player setting the winning suit (the “weather”) for that round. Players can play any card they want but have to pass if they have no more cards in their hand. The trick is won by the lowest-numbered card of the winning suit (you sold the item at the lowest price, beating the competition), and you can then keep your card for scoring – the other cards being discarded. However, winning a card also comes at a cost and forces you to discard a specified number of cards from your hand (the more points you get, the more cards you discard). Play goes on until no one has any cards left (and yes, one player can typically play alone at the end).

X houses = discard X cards when scoring
Image source: BGG (X houses = discard X cards when scoring)

The solo mode adds an additional spin to it. First, you play two-handed with no hidden information. Second, you have to follow suit if you can. Third, cards that are discarded when scoring must also follow suit. The goal is that each “hand” gets at least 10 points in the end. If you succeed, you can raise the threshold by 1 and see how far you can get this way.


Note that the game comes in three editions: standard, deluxe 'hedgehog', deluxe 'people'.  The deluxe 'people' edition provides a few additional modules on top of the core gameplay.

Hedgehog vs People edition
 Image source: Kickstarter

Personal opinion: I like trick-taking, and this sounds nice. I’m always on a quest for good solo trick-taking games and never found one that gives the thrills of a multiplayer one so far. I seriously doubt this will be the one, and I have so many trick-taking games already. But it does look nice and I like the added spin on the classical formula.


Hedgehog cards
Image source: Kickstarter

One thing that holds me back though is that I’d like all of the contents (so the people edition) but I also like hedgehogs so I’d like the hedgehog cover best. As a result, I will likely pass on it – hedgehog or modules, I just cannot choose.


And of course crowdfunding, with the added VAT and shipping fees, is usually a poor opportunity to get these little games – yet quite often it’s also the only one.

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Hey Zerbique! Thanks for the great write up of Park Life! I know that shipping and choices can be hard, so we made the base game of Pay What You Want. That way, crowdfunding Park Life is cheaper than retail, even after shipping, and each KS account can get either edition without worry. The advanced automata rules will be available as PDF for everyone, so you're not missing out in the solo experience. I need to finish typing it up, but it's a little closer to the multiplayer experience. Everything the automata throws at you becomes whatever the lead suit is, making each play have more risk than the basic solitaire mode. The extra stretch goal cards in the deluxe editions…

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