One of my favorite two-player games of recent years has been Morels, first published in 2012 by Two Lanterns Games. Now there’s an expansion currently up on Kickstarter called
Morels Foray expands designer Brent Povis’ mushroom hunting game to include rules for playing with up to four people (the original was only for two players). There are some other additions as well, so let’s dive in.
I’m not going to spend a lot of time on the description of how to play Morels. For more on that, see my review of the original game, which includes a comprehensive overview. This overview will mostly focus on the differences to the original game.
One of the things included in the new version is a new type of mushroom – the Lion’s Mane, which is worth two points or 3 foraging sticks each when cooked. The decks are also set up a little differently based on the number of players – removing a moon and some baskets, adding some cards, and players will all start with a basket (meaning that your hand limit starts off at 10). The three player game adds bonus actions – this is done after your regular action but before cleanup, and is basically anything that does not result in you getting new cards from the Decay or Forest. In the four player game, you only need to cook or sell two mushrooms at a time instead of three, and play proceeds in rounds rather than in turns. At the start of each round, players will choose what they want to do on a compass (take slots 1-8, the Decay, or play a card from their hand). These are then resolved in turn order, and if what you wanted to do is no longer available, you can pay for a different slot or take a hand action.
The game will also come with solo rules, based on the variant presented here by BGG user GameRulesForOne. Those aren’t included in the rule book yet.
The big new thing in Foray is the inclusion of Foray cards, which are new action cards that change things up. And here they are:
- Rainstorm: Play this card immediately when you pick it up (you’ll get another turn right after this). It starts a new 8-card row known as the Rainforest below the regular Forest. It will never refill. If you take a card from the Rainforest on your turn, it will decay and the regular Forest will not. The reverse is also true – taking from the Forest does not decay the Rainforest. When the Rainforest is empty, it’s gone forever. You will not use this in a four-player game.
- Forest Fire: You can only take this from the Forest. When you do, you’ll immediately discard the entire Decay as well as the first four cards in the Forest. You’ll then declare if you are adding 0 or 1 Morels to the game, and after refilling the Forest, place it on top of or on bottom of the draw deck. You’ll get an extra turn after this. If the Fire enters the Decay, discard the Decay and do not decay a card next turn. Don’t use this in a four-player game.
- Panther Cap: This is another immediate play card. Discard two cards from your hand to peek at the top card of the Night Deck, or one card to peek at the bottom card of the Night Deck. If there are any combination of two Panther Caps and Destroying Angels in the Decay, you may not take it, nor may you take a Panther Cap if a Destroying Angel is in your system.
- Farm Girl: This one can be played immediately, or it can be taken into your hand and saved for later. It allows you to collect all Honey Fungus or Lawyer’s Wig from the Forest and place them on your Farm Girl. These cards aren’t part of your hand size, but still may be cooked or sold.
- Chef: You can play this immediately or hold onto it for later use. It’s like a pan, but you can cook 3-4 mushrooms of the same cooking value rather than identical mushrooms. You must cook at least two mushroom types.
- Farmer’s Market: This is played in front of you when you take it, or saved for later. This allows you to sell a single mushroom for double the stick value, and you may use it twice before discarding it (keep sold mushrooms on the FM so you know how many times it has been used). You may not use it twice on the same turn unless you’re playing three-player and have a bonus turn.
- Thief: If you play when you pick it up, give up to three cards from your hand to an opponent and steal a cooked mushroom from them that has a cooking value up to the number of cards you gave.
- Shiitake Log: You can play immediately with 1-4 shiitake mushrooms, or can save it for use at the start of a future turn. The number of shiitakes you play indicates the growth potential of the log, which is indicated by rotating the log. On each of your next X cooks, where X is the growth potential, you’ll add a shiitake to the log. Once the growth potential is exhausted, discard the log but keep the shiitakes.
- Map: This is played in front of you. At the beginning of a future turn, reverse the order of the Forest.
- Eccentric: The first player to enact a Thief, Panther Cap, or Destroying Angel is awarded the Eccentric. This allows you to take one card from the Decay, either during cleanup on your turn or during another player’s.
- Eureka: After completing your first cook, take a Eureka card. You can use it once a game to take two sequential cards from the Forest. You’ll only need to pay for the first card if necessary.
So that’s Morels Foray. You can add on some handcrafted pieces if you want, and if you don’t have the base game, this is a good chance. It sounds like it will add some good changes to the system, and while I’m curious to see how 3 and 4 players work, I really like two-player. So we’ll see. If you’re interested, the Kickstarter campaign runs until May 10, and you can get your own copy of Foray for $19 (the base game can be added on for $23). Thanks for reading!
Disclaimer: This post was made by a fan of Morels, and is not sponsored in any way by anyone involved with the Kickstarter project. I’m just trying to get the word out for what looks like a fun expansion to what I consider to be a great game.