GAME REVIEW: Gigamons

Originally a French game, this made it’s North American debut earlier this year from Blue Orange.  They specialize in family games, but this one is more of a kids game.  But, I do play with children on regular basis, so I got to try this one out on them.  How is it?  Let’s find out!

GIGAMONS (2016) designed by Johann Roussel & Karim Aouidad; Published by Blue Orange – For 2-4 players and takes about 15-30 minutes to play. 

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The theme is pretty elaborate for how light the game is.  Player’s are about to enter a Wizard’s Guild, but there is a final lesson to master.  You must learn how to summon Gigamons.  Not sure what they are exactly, but they are some kind of magical creature.  And there are different kinds of them too.  The player who summons the most Gigamons will graduate and win the title of Elemage.

Despite that long-winded plot, this is basically a simple memory game.  The goal is to find matching pairs of Elemons (mini-Gigamons).  When you find a pair, you catch them.  Once you have 3 of a kind, you get to summon a Gigamon.  Once a player summons 3 of them, they win.

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To begin the game, place all of the Gigamons to the side.  Mix the Elemon tiles and make a facedown, 3 by 3 square.

On a player’s turn, they will turn over 2 tiles, one at a time.  If the Elemons on those tiles are different, flip them back over.  If they are both the same, then place them in front of you.

If there are ever empty spaces in the 3 by 3 square, place new tiles there.

When you have 3 identical Elemons, discard them and take the Gigamon that matches with the Elemons.

There is a little bit more to it than that.  There are special powers that Elemons can give you when they match up.  Whenever 2 Elemons match, they will give you a certain power.  There are seven different kinds, so there are seven different abilities.

Polymon’s ability is that he can be used as a wild card.  He’s the only one you don’t need a pair of to activate.

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Floramon let’s you take a tile from the draw pile.

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Pyroman let’s you destroy another player’s Elemon.

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Hydroman let’s you secretly look at 4 of the facedown tiles on the table.

Geomon let’s you put a rock tile on a facedown square.  No one can take that until after your next turn.  So it saves a tile for you.

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Aeromon will let you swap one of your Elemon’s with another player.

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Electromon let’s you take another action immediately.

And that’s it.  Once one player has 3 Gigamons, they win.  Or if the draw pile runs out, and there are no more matches available, then whoever has the most Gigamons wins.

Now, this game isn’t meant for serious gamers.  This is aimed strictly at children.  And for what the game is going for, it succeeds.

I should mention that the artwork by Marie-Anne Bonneterre is gorgeous.  I love the look of all the cute creatures.  Almost like Pokemon, a little bit.  Very adorable.

This is almost a straight forward memory game.  All players are trying to remember which Elemon is where when they flip over tiles.  Now, if that’s all the game was, I would say skip this one.  But there is more!

The addition of having each Elemon having their own powers activate when a match is revealed, is the game’s saving grace.  It makes the game more strategic, and not boring.  It gives the game life.  I actually enjoyed playing this with my kid group I play with.  I played with a 3 and 5-year-old, and they LOVED it.

The thing I liked the most about this game is that it is a good introduction to characters with special abilities.  There are many games where players gain special abilities, but I can’t remember any childrens games that have this.  I think this does a great job introducing variable abilities to kids.  Watching the kids I was playing with remembering which Elemons do what, was a treat.  Not only are they remembering where the Elemons were, they were remembering what they do.  I think that this is where the game really shines.

Now, for myself, there are hundreds of other games I’d rather play.  But playing with small children, this is an excellent choice.  I love the concepts it introduces here.  And kids will also love all the cute creatures they can collect.

Blue Orange has done it again.  This is a beautiful, wonderful game.  But strictly for kids,  though parents will undoubtedly enjoy playing this with their children, as they watch them learn.

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