GUBS Game Review

The Basics:

  • For ages 7 and up (box suggests 10+)
  • For 2 to 6 players
  • About 20 minutes to complete

Geek Skills:

  • Counting & Math
  • Logical & Critical Decision Making
  • Reading
  • Strategy & Tactics
  • Risk vs. Reward
  • Hand/Resource Management
  • Emotional Coping Skills

Learning Curve:

  • Child – Moderate
  • Adult – Easy

Theme & Narrative:

  • GUBs are small, cute, and terribly fragile. Protect your colony of GUBs from other players and keep them safe to the end of the game!

Endorsements:

  • Gamer Geek approved!
  • Parent Geek approved!
  • Child Geek approved!

Overview

GUBS: A Game of Wit and Luck is a fast paced card game that will keep the players on the edge of their seat as they try to protect their GUBs from being stolen or lost. Players must constantly reevaluate their level of risk vs. rewards and attempt to out think, out maneuver, and distance themselves from their opponents as quickly as they can or quickly fall prey to the many traps and hazards that plague the GUBs constantly. The game is ever shifting and there is no such thing as a “sure winner”. Play fast, play smart! The GUBs are counting on you!

GUBS is comprised of 70 cards. All the cards are very colorful with excellent illustrations that portray the world of the GUBs. The text is easy to read and the cards are thick and durable. Within the deck of cards are Letter, GUB, Barricade, Event, Hazard, Tool, Trap, Tool or Hazard, Wild and Interrupt cards. These cards are described briefly below.

  • Letter Cards: Three cards that spell the word “GUB”. These cards randomly appear when drawn by a player and end the game immediately if all three Letter cards have been revealed. Letter cards are consider Event cards.
  • GUB Cards: These cards represent the little creatures the players will be attempting to save and to horde.
  • Barricade Cards: These cards are used to protect and shelter the GUBs in play.
  • Event Cards: These cards immediately trigger their effect once drawn. These effects are never beneficial and impact all players, shifting the power of play quickly.
  • Hazard Cards: These cards allow the players to attack and steal their opponent’s GUBs.
  • Trap Cards: These cards trap and temporarily lock your opponent’s GUBs. Trapped GUBSs are not counted for points at the end of the game.
  • Tool Cards: These cards counter and remove Trap cards.
  • Tool or Hazard Cards: The player can decide if these cards help or hinder, as they see fit.
  • Interupt Cards: These cards can be played at any time and specifically counter Events and Hazards.
  • Wild Card: This card can be played as any Tool, Hazard, or Interrupt card of the player’s choice.

The effects of each card are not documented here. There are simply too many to summarize!

To set up the game, remove the “G”, “U”, and “B” cards from the deck. Find and deal one GUB card in front of each player, face up. This is the player’s first GUB. Shuffle the deck and deal each player 3 cards. Each player should look at their cards and determine if they have any Event cards (marked with a lighting bolt icon). If they do, have the player trade in that card and given them another random card. Continue to do this until all players have 3 non-Event cards. Then, shuffle the “G”, “U”, and “B” cards back into the deck. Set the deck in the middle of the table in easy reach of all players. You are now ready to play the game.

Note: The set up instructions above differ from those in the game rule book. The set up describe in this article is a streamlined version of the written rules that reduces the amount of time it takes to get the game started. The end result of the game set up is the same if you follow the above or the game rule set up instructions included with the game.

Draw a Card

On a player’s turn, they can choose to draw one card or not. There are times when a player would not want to draw a card for strategy reasons. However, a player cannot skip drawing cards more than twice in a row and cannot draw after playing cards. If the card drawn is an Event card, its effect is immediately played and the card is put in the discard pile. The only exception to this rule are the Letter cards which are placed to the side for everyone to see. The player does not get to go again if the card drawn is an Event card.

Play Cards

After the player has or has not drawn a card, they can play some, all, or none of their cards out of their hand. Again, strategy might call for not playing any cards at all or playing the entire hand to take significant advantage of the table. There might be times when a player is unable to play cards because the conditions to play the card are not present or the player simply has no cards to play. All cards are played either in front of the player, on their opponent’s cards, or to the discard pile. All GUBs come into play unprotected, and the player must play Barricade cards on the GUBs to keep them safe from Hazard and Trap cards. A player need not protect their GUBs to put them in play, however.

Discard

Once the player has played as many or as few cards as they like, they must discard down to 8 cards. A player cannot discard by choice if they have eight or less cards in their hand. The player’s turn is then over and opponent directly to the player’s left goes next.

While a player has very few steps to follow on their turn, the cards they have in their hand will require them to carefully think about how they want to play the game. Each and every card in GUBS is powerful and will either harm, hinder, or help. Timing is everything. Play a card too soon and its impact will be slight. Play a card too late and the opportunity to jump ahead is lost. GUBS requires the player to constantly reevaluate the cards on the table, the cards in the player’s hand, and the possible cards in the opponent’s hands. It is a true thinking game that would set the novice player quickly down the path of analysis paralysis if it weren’t for the fact that the game moves at such a fast pace.

Winning

Play continues until all three Letter cards have been drawn and set aside. The letter order need not spell “GUB”. The winner of the game is the player with the most free and protected GUBs in play in front of them. GUBs that are trapped or still in the player’s hand are not counted for points.

If there is a tie, whichever player has the GUB card “Esteemed Elder” in play wins. If the “Esteemed Elder” is not in play, a tie is broken by counting the number of cards in a player’s hand with the victory going to the player with the fewest.

Prediction

GUBS is beautifully illustrated, colorful, whimsical, and quick to play. I have no doubts that this game will go over very well with my oldest little geek. The necessary reading will be difficult at first, but the text on the cards is easy to read, short in length, and the words are not difficult to pronounce or understand. I do expect, however, the game length to increase as he reads his cards. While he is getting better and better at reading everyday, he still takes his time and is not one to be rushed.

In hopes of reducing the time it will take to play the game and any confusion, I talked about all the different cards with my son, pointing out the different border colors that represent what type of card they were, described how the cards interacted, and how a player could steal cards from others. This last part in particular really interested my little geek.

We also played several games open handed, putting all the cards in front of the player who owned them, face up, and walked through all the different things he and I could do. My oldest little geek learns very well this way, but he also has the temperament for it. My middle little geek would quickly loose interest if I were to attempt to teach the game this way to him.

After he and I felt he had the basics of the game down, felt comfortable with the cards, and how the game was played, we shuffled up the cards and played the game as you would normally. While I shuffled and dealt the cards, I asked him his thoughts on GUBS so far. His response…

“The card pictures are cool to look at and I like how the cards can attack and block other players. I am not sure about everything, but I know I can take your GUBs!” ~ Liam (age 7)

Smirking, I finished the deal, and looked at my hand. I rolled my eyes as I saw that I didn’t have much in the way of protecting my GUBs. My little geek, however, giggled evilly…

Final Word

My oldest little geek is starting to get into Pokemon. At first, he was only interested in the illustrations. He would collect and then trade them with his friends at school, at the playground, and on the living room floor with is friends who came over. It wasn’t until a couple of months ago that he started understanding the game behind the cards. For his birthday this year, his geek parents gave him his first Pokemon Portfolio so he could arrange his cards, read them easily, and start the process of building decks.

This jump from “card” to “game” was an interesting one to observe. He traded the collected the cards like a game already, but when the real game was introduced to him, it was like peeling back an onion layer and finding pure gold underneath. As a result, he began to look at the cards with a much more critical eye, taking note of the card’s strengths and weaknesses, how the cards interacted, and establishing the basic bedrock of building a deck of cards that were meant to play with versus showing off to his friends.

I therefore came as no surprise to me that my little geek loved GUBS. He greatly enjoyed how the game unfolded before him, how quickly GUBs were lost and won, and the way you could attack and steal from other players. He did struggle a bit with the cards, but I believe this is the cause of nothing more than lack of game experience. I remember the first time I played Magic: The Gathering, for example. I just focused on attack/defend tactics without paying attention to overall strategy. The same can be said for my little geek, but by the time we played the last game for the evening, I noticed he wasn’t drawing cards when he could, was keeping cards in his hands, and was only playing GUBS when he knew he could protect them. This showed me he was learning the strategy and tactics, timing, and keeping his eyes on the short game while thinking about the long game, too.

I could’t be prouder.

Before I knew it, my little geek was stealing my GUBS!

GUBS is fast and furious. It is also completely unforgiving and will penalize a player who is not aggressive or paying attention. This aspect of the game really appealed to the Gamer Geek in me. I greatly enjoyed the frantic nature of the game that never tipped headfirst into chaos, but kept shifting all the same.. There was always something that could be done and I never felt like the game was so random as to not allow the players to make choices, act upon them, and play the game they wanted. You could play with strategy and tactics, but you had to think quick, risk much, and reap the rewards quickly before the other players did. From a Gamer Geek perspective, GUBS is fast, fun, and light.

As a Parent Geek, I greatly enjoyed how much interaction the game not only provided, but demanded. There never was any downtime keeping all the players in the game and engaged. This kept the table lively and fun. The game encouraged participation and required the players to read, think, and roll with the punches. From a parenting perspective, this was an excellent exercise in emotional coping skills. Whenever a little geek felt picked on, we made sure to stop the game and talk it out.

GUBS is fast and fun. There is enough meat in the game to make it interesting to the Gamer Geek, promotes togetherness and growth making the Parent Geek happy, and is fast and easy enough for the Child Geek to learn and appreciate. All in all, GUBS is a great game!

This game was given to Father Geek as a review copy. Father Geek was not paid, bribed, wined, dined, or threatened in vain hopes of influencing this review. Such is the statuesque and legendary integrity of Father Geek.

About Cyrus

Editor in Chief, Owner/Operator, Board Game Fanatic, Father of Three, and Nice Guy, Cyrus has always enjoyed board, card, miniature, role playing, and video games, but didn't get back into the hobby seriously until early 2000. Once he did, however, he was hooked. He now plays board games with anyone and everyone he can, but enjoys playing with his children and wife the most. Video games continue to be of real interest, but not as much as dice and little miniatures. As he carefully navigates the ins and outs of parenting, he does his very best to bestow what wisdom he has and help nurture his children's young minds. It is his hope and ambition to raise three strong, honorable men who will one day go on to do great things and buy their Mom and Dad a lobster dinner Cyrus goes by the handle fathergeek on Board Game Geek. You can also check him out on CyrusKirby.com. Yes, he has a URL that is his name. His ego knows no bounds, apparently....
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3 Responses to GUBS Game Review

  1. Pingback: Psight Game Review (prepublished version) - Father Geek

  2. Laura says:

    Help! We just played this game but were confused about the Feather Card. The card itself says it may cancel any Hazard or Trap Card. However, the Card Guide does not mention The Feather Card as a card to destroy a Trap; the two Traps are Rings, which need a Haki Flute card to shatter them & Sud Spout, which needs a Spear. So, it then seems that a Feather can only be used on any Hazard. so why does the Feather card have Hazard AND Trap – this is a misprint…

    • Cyrus says:

      Greetings, Laura.

      I would suggest that the Feather card, being an interrupt (i.e. “canceler”), can only be played at the same moment a Hazard or Trap card is played. If a Hazard or Trap card is already in-play, the Feather card cannot be used to destroy them. You’ll need the Flute and Spear cards to free your Gubs. My reasoning is based on the card’s wording which states “Cancel any Hazard or Trap card when it is played“. Which, again, suggests to me that the Feather card only becomes useful when a Hazard and Trap card is played.

      Yes, Feather can be used on ANY Hazard and on ANY Trap. That’s powerful, but the Feather card is rare (as far as number in the deck goes) and the player must have it in their hand when a Hazard or Trap card is played, which limits the power of the card further. Hope that helps!

      REMEMBER! Every game comes with rules, but that doesn’t mean you have to follow them! If you don’t like a rule, change it! These are commonly referred to as “House Rules”. Write them down and add them to your game box.

      Good luck saving your Gubs, Laura!

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