Yay, somebody brought donuts! Quick—grab your favorites before they’re gone, but watch out: all those hands mean that some donuts are gonna get squashed. It’s time to Go Nuts for Donuts!
At a glance: Go Nuts for Donuts! is a quick-playing game by Zach Eagle about grabbing tasty treats for 2 to 6 players, ages 8 and up, and takes about 20 minutes to play. It’s currently seeking funding on Kickstarter, with a pledge of $16 (plus shipping) for a copy of the game. It’s a family-friendly game that involves choosing donuts simultaneously, and has delightfully cute artwork.
- 63 Donut cards
- 42 Selection cards (Numbers 1–7, 6 copies of each)
The Kickstarter edition will also come with the limited edition Bacon card. There are also some stretch goals that will be added at set funding levels, so there may end up being more than 63 donut cards in the box by the time the campaign is over.
The donut artwork by Claire Donaldson is really adorable—they all have cute little faces on them. Each card has a name, illustration, and then a section that tells how many points the donuts is worth or if it has some special action.
The half-sized selection cards are used to pick your donuts and are just numbers from 1 to 7, made to look like donuts themselves.
I’ve been told that the final version will also include some number tiles for the donuts—in my games I’ve been using an extra set of selection cards to mark the donuts.
How to Play
The goal is to score the most points by the end of the game, which you do by collecting the right donuts.
To setup, shuffle all of the donut cards. Give each player a set of selection cards—you’ll only need numbers up to the player count plus 1, so for a four player game each player would get 1 through 5 and the rest go back in the box.
Place a number of donuts equal to the player count plus 1, face-up in a row in the center of the table. I used an extra set of selection cards to label the donuts, but the final version should have some number tiles for this.
Each player chooses a selection card secretly to indicate which donut they want. All selection cards are revealed simultaneously, and then resolved in ascending order. If only one player chose a donut, the player takes that donut and, if applicable, immediately uses the donut’s action. (Note: the donut actions are only resolved when you take a donut from the center row, not if a donut action causes you to get a donut from the discard pile, the deck, or another player.) If more than one player selects the same donut, the donut gets squashed and put in the discard pile. After all selections have been resolved, refill the row and all players take back their selection cards and choose again.
The game ends when there aren’t enough donut cards to refill the center row.
Players add up the points on all of their donuts, and the highest score wins.
Go Nuts for Donuts! is a quick, easy-to-learn game, and it’s been a crowd-pleaser. My kids love it, but I’ve also been introducing a lot of my adult friends to it as well. The basic gameplay is really intuitive: you’re all reaching for donuts simultaneously, and if you grab the same donut, nobody gets it.
The mix of donut points and actions is what makes it really interesting, of course. That part reminds me a little of Sushi Go!, both because of the cute illustrations and because there are different scoring rules for each donut. Some are just worth points, like the glazed donuts for 2 points each. However, many donuts have special scoring: sprinkled donuts are only worth points if you have at least 7 different types of donuts at the end. Donut holes are worth more points if you get more of them. Old-fashioned donuts are only worth points if you end up with fewer than 10 donuts at the end.
And then there are the donuts with special actions: Bear claws are worth -2 points, but they let you swipe a donut from another player. Maple bars aren’t worth any points at all, but they let you take the top card off the deck (good or bad). Red velvet is worth -1 point, but it also lets you take any donut out of the discard pile. Many of the negative-point donuts have more powerful effects, and some of the higher-scoring donuts actually have more limitations or negative effects.
Thematically, it can be a little odd. Why are the plain donuts more points if you get the most of them? Why does the eclair let you take the top card of the discard pile? For most of them, there’s no real explanation (unlike Sushi Go!, which tries to give at least a little bit of a story behind each card’s function). Still, that doesn’t really seem to bother most players in the least—you just figure out which donuts you want and grab them.
Although it’s a simultaneous selection instead of drafting, a lot of the strategy can be similar—you try to figure out what your opponents want, and then sometimes you have to decide between picking the donut you really want, or taking the donut somebody else wants (even if it ends up smushed and discarded). I’ve played some games where a couple players clashed repeatedly, going after the same donuts round after round. If you have donuts that score points for having fewer cards or types of donuts, then you can afford not to take as many cards total.
All in all, Go Nuts for Donuts! is a real treat—it’s a great way to kick off a game night, and chances are you’ll play a couple times in a row, because once everyone is familiar with the types of donut cards in the deck, they’ll want another shot at sweet, sweet victory. The artwork is delicious, the gameplay is a snap to teach, and the chance to smash somebody else’s donut is just icing on the cake–or, I guess, maple glaze on the donut. One caveat: after playing this, everyone’s going to be hungry for donuts, so it might be best to have a box of real donuts ready, too.
For more about the game or to make your pledge, visit the Go Nuts for Donuts! Kickstarter page.