SNAP Review – Gurms
Anitra, what are these little things?
They’re not “things”! They’re Gurms, and they’re contagiously fun!
This is a SNAP Review for Gurms.
Gurms is a tile-placing game for 2-4 players from Bananagrams.
The box says it’s best for ages 6 and up and gives some slight rule modifications for even younger players.
A game plays in about 20 minutes.
Let’s talk about the art in Gurms!
The standees are pretty cute, and a good reminder of what type you’re matching on the tiles.
The tiles are brightly colored and the four Gurm types are all very different – so even players who struggle with colors shouldn’t have a problem matching them up.
Let’s talk about the mechanics and how to play the game.
After placing the special start tile on the table and assigning everyone their own Gurm, each player draws a tile.
The one who most recently had the sniffles goes first. (Aaaah- choo!) I guess that means you.
On your turn, place your tile, touching at least one existing tile. Every edge your tile touches must match. White edges are considered “blockers” and don’t match anything – not even other white tiles! Every edge that matches will complete a Gurm.
If you match two or more sides of your tile, you immediately draw a new tile and take another turn. Otherwise, draw a tile to end your turn.
Your goal is to make connected groups of your Gurm type – either side-to-side or corner-to-corner. Each Gurm in a group is worth as many points as there are Gurms in the group, so the larger, the better!
Of course, your opponents will be trying to slow or stop you from making these connections… and you won’t always get tiles with your Gurm type on them! How can you place those tiles to give as few points as possible to your opponents?
What did we expect from this little game?
Bananagrams always manages to make games that you can set up and explain very quickly. Gurms is really straightforward – place tiles, try to match your type.
One look at the tiles puts you directly into Qwirkle or Lanterns mode, with tile placement in rows and columns, and matching up the sides. So that’s really what I expected out of this game – tile matching and side matching, I guess.
Let’s talk about what surprised us, though.
I was surprised just how often I ended up having to place tiles that didn’t even have my own Gurm type on it. It seemed like it happened over and over again, and sometimes multiple times in a row.
That’s kind of tough, because then you don’t feel like you’re in control of your own game. All you’re doing is blocking all the time. We don’t love games where you’re being negative, but sometimes that’s what you have to do.
Gurms was a lot more tactical than I expected – since you always have to match at least one side and can never match white. So you’ll find yourself looking for ways to minimize or block other players as often as possible.
That was one of the big surprises for me with this game as opposed to a lot of other tile placement games. In most tile placement games, you need to place a tile with a valid edge, but an invalid edge is usually just fine, it just doesn’t help you.
Not only can you not place an invalid edge in Gurms, but there are only four kinds of edges that can be matched. It doesn’t take long before you’re really limited on what you’re able to do.
The way the math works with the scoring – it makes that feel a little complicated, too. There’s a simpler version where every completed Gurm is worth exactly one point, but then that takes away the tactical aspect of the game.
Do we recommend this game?
There are a lot of really great tile laying games out there that we’ve reviewed before – from the simple (Qwirkle) to the fairly complex (Land vs Sea). Gurms definitely is on the simpler side of this mechanically, but the placement restrictions heavily affect every game.
I also think there’s a little bit of a mismatch between the way scoring is done in this game and the simplicity presented to the players. I just don’t see an 8-, 9-, maybe even 10-year-old kid doing the necessary math in this to tally up the score.
Even if they know that a larger group is going to be better for their score, sometimes it’s just too hard to visualize how that group is going to fit together.
You’re doing multiplication, it can just get a bit complicated, and tracking and everything… yeah.
That being said, Gurms is incredibly easy to learn and at under $15 and a small box, is an easy game to pick up while on the go and not fret too hard if something happens to it. It’s a great vacation game.
We’re going to rate Gurms from Bananagrams 2.5 germs out of 5.
And that’s Gurms, in a SNAP!
The Family Gamers received a copy of Gurms from Bananagrams, Inc. for this review.
This post contains affiliate links, which do not change your price, but help support The Family Gamers.
SNAP review music is Avalanche, provided courtesy of You Bred Raptors?
Number of Players: 2-4
Age Range: 6+
Playtime: around 20 minutes