By November 7, 2007

Pecking Order game review

While Tanga has been letting me down a lot lately with their once-a-day deals, every once in awhile a game will come up at a sufficiently low price that I can only shrug and say, “Why not?” Such was the case with “Pecking Order,” which I knew literally nothing about except that it was made by the same dude who started Magic: The Gathering. Even that much I learned in the Tanga write-up. However, the price was right and it was a strictly two-player game. Most of the games in the house are multi-player, or play best with three or more players. Pecking Order was inexpensive and met my criteria for number of players, so there you have it. The purchase was made less than sixty seconds later.

But is it any fun?

I’ve only had a chance to play one full game (four rounds) of Pecking Order with Stilts. I haven’t had anyone over brave (or bored) enough to try out a game about two warring clans of predatory birds. That’s pretty much the whole backstory of the game: each player has twelve birds and one jaguar. Each bird is numbered one through twelve, with the Twelve Bird being the most powerful. The jaguar acts as an assassin card, more on him later. The object of the game is to maintain control of as many perches as possible. There are twelve perches on each side of the board, with perches ascending from left to right in greater point value.

Game play is straightforward. If the opposing side of a perch is empty, you choose a bird from your hand and place it face down on a perch. If there is a bird on the other side of the perch, you must challenge the bird with your card. The opposing player flips his card face up, if applicable. There is a bit of strategy here, as it is you might want to sacrifice a low-point bird in order to reveal your opponent’s bird. There are special perches, like the one-point perch that allows you to win ties as a defender (normal rules dictate that defenders lose ties).

I enjoyed playing Pecking Order, but it wasn’t interesting enough for me to consider it a main staple in my gaming library. However, it is another two-player only game, which means other games like War & Sheep can take a break from time to time.

I bought Pecking Order for $11 shipped. Most e-tailers like FunAgain Games has the game listed at nearly twice that amount. Would I pay $20+ for Pecking Order? Probably not. If you can find it on a future Tanga event, or in the bargain bin at your local game store, you might want to check it out. Otherwise, I recommend a pass.

Pecking Order, I peep out:
Three out of five STFU mugs!

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2 Comments on "Pecking Order game review"

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  1. Ooh, I like the look of the art. Maybe we can play next time I’m passing through. How long does a game run?

  2. drfaulken says:

    I think Stilts and I ran through a match (four games) in about an hour. I have a spare copy that Tanga sent me by accident, so if you really like it and want a two-player game, it’s up for grabs.

    I also forgot to mention a weakness in the game’s industrial design: the cards are printed on a very thick, tactilely pleasing cardstock. The problem with such a thick card is that it bends easily. Stilts was trying to shuffle the cards like real playing cards, and bent one. There is a very obvious crease right in the center of the #6 bird, which takes a fair amount of the guesswork out of things.