My favourite game? That is undoubtedly Stonemaier Games’ game Scythe. Scythe contains everything I want in a game: high production quality, beautiful artwork, strategic and challenging gameplay, plenty of puzzling, lots of interaction, beautiful components and a rich theme. Scythe and Wingspan kickstarted my Stonemaier Games collection and now every game that has been published by them is a part of my collection. I am not the only one with a great appreciation for this publisher and most of their games are hugely popular. The micro game Smitten allows 1 or 2 players to express their love for Stonemaier with a short and simple game you can take anywhere.
In 2022, Stonemaier Games celebrated their 10-year anniversary. The dream all started with a game about the production of wine, then exploded with a game about a fictional cold war where gigantic mechs played a starring role, after this the sky was the limit with Wingspan and now the assortment consists of some 14 games in different genres, a lot of expansions, promos accessories, frisbees and digital editions of their games. So for Stonemaier Games, it was the perfect time to celebrate their 10th anniversary with the micro game Smitten. Smitten consists of two identical sets of 9 cards. All cards are inspired by different games from Stonemaier Games’ range. Like the game Rolling Realms, which was jointly developed with fans during the pandemic, Smitten is therefore an ode to Stonemaier Games. Smitten was originally given away for free during orders via Stonemaier Games’ webshop, but is now also available for a relatively soft price.
Setup and gameplay
But what exactly can be played with those 18 cards in that paper envelope ( as the game is packaged in a paper envelope and completely ecologically produced)? Smitten is a cooperative micro game for 1-2 players, where players have to work together, with only a limited flow of information/communication, to make two identical grids of cards 9 cards (3 by 3). At the beginning of the game, all 18 cards are shuffled well and one card is put aside by the players. The remaining cards collectively form the draw pile and each player receives a number of cards depending on the difficulty level chosen and players are ready to play.
Players will play a card or cards each turn to complete the grids. At the beginning of a turn, players decide which player gets to play a card. Players do not know what cards the other player has in their hand, but may indicate whether they would like to play a card, perhaps, prefer not to, or not play a card at all. The card played contains instructions, effects, and/or conditions for playing cards. Often the instructions suffered for the other player. Usually, this player then also has to play a card. In this way, players jointly try to complete the two grids and complete the picture. If players cannot play a card when they should, they have lost. Once the grids are complete, players have won.
Smitten is a simple cooperative game with limited communication between players, making it similar to games such as The Mind. What is unique about this game are the different cards and the accompanying instructions/effects that players will use to fill the grids. Above all, Smitten is a nice short game that has a small footprint in more ways than one, making it easy to carry in your pocket and play in almost any location. The artwork, by Vincent Dutrait, is beautiful as always and the cards and envelope are of high quality.