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Quirky Circuits: Penny & Gizmo's Snow Day

Help Gizmo sweep up all the dust bunnies and Penny race around ice and snow to capture all the flags. Complete your goals and bring those robots home before they run out of batteries.

Published by Plaid Hat Games, and a follow-up to the original Quirky Circuit, Penny & Gizmo's Snow Day! is a slightly smaller, less expensive game than its predecessor, although the gameplay is much the same.

Gameplay

The game comes with a scenario booklet with ten scenarios inside. You pick the scenario you are going to be playing and open the booklet to it. The left page will list things such as which components you will be playing with or will have rule reminders, while the right shows the game board. Each scenario uses one of the two robot miniatures. You take the robot mini indicated and place it at the start location on the game board. You also place tokens around the board on indicated locations.

In order to win each scenario, players are working together to have the robot move around the board picking up all tokens of a set type by moving onto or through a space with a token on it, and then returning to the start location before its batteries run out.

The deck is shuffled and each player is dealt a set number of cards. Cards are either turn or movement cards. You cannot show your cards to other players or tell them what you have, but you can see on the back of each card whether it is a move or turn card.

Each turn, players must collectively play at least five cards, face-down in a row. Once a card is played, you may only play a new card to the right of it. Each player must play at least one card, but there is no turn order and if a single player plays multiple cards they do not have to be in a row. Players cannot communicate about strategy, what they have played, or what they want other players to do.

Once everyone has finished playing, you reveal the cards and perform their actions in order from left to right. Every card will move the robot around the board, having it turn or move forward or back a certain number of spaces. The direction the robot is facing is important for determining which direction the robot will move in. The robots will also interact with objects on the game board in different ways. For example, Gizmo will turn left when he hits a barrier, while Penny will slide over certain obstacles which will cause her to move forward until she hits a barrier.

If something on the board causes the robot to stop (such as hitting a barrier) you stop resolving the current card and move onto the next one.

After resolving all the cards, you then move the battery tracker down a space towards zero. If it hits zero, players have lost the game. Otherwise, you take all the cards that were played, shuffle them back into the deck and deal cards to players until everyone is back up to hand limit.

As you proceed through the scenario, more rules are introduced and there are more objects on the game board that players will interact with in different ways. Quirk cards are also added to each robot’s deck. If you have one of these in your hand you must play it that round.

Quirky Circuits: Penny & Gizmo's Snow Day! Components

Review

Quirky Circuits: Penny & Gizmo's Snow Day! is a charming game. From the theme, to the artwork, to the ways players work together, it is a delightful, fast-playing game. It’s enjoyable to try to predict what other players are doing and satisfying to slowly improve at working as a team. When you all manage to make that little robot do exactly what it needed to do, it feels great.

Each scenario clips along at a nice pace. Even the more challenging ones do not increase too much how long the game takes. Also, while there are scenarios in this game, this is in no way a campaign game. The scenarios increase the complexity of each mission and introduce different rules, but there is no story you have to follow. Once you’re familiar with the game, you can easily dip in and out of different scenarios, making this a good fit for casual players who may not wish to commit to a game that has multiple levels.

Once you have reached the final scenarios and unlocked all the mechanics and rules, the game still does not get too complex. The game certainly becomes more challenging, but there are still only a handful of rules and interactions to remember. It’s fun to figure out how to use quirk cards to your advantage or see the way the robots interact with each board and discovering ways to use that.

The game also looks nice. The miniatures for the two robots are adorable. The scenario book is fun to play with and does a good job of reminding you bits of information. The iconography in the game can sometimes be a bit confusing and in a bit of a strange choice, the subtitle Penny & Gizmo's Snow Day! is not featured on the box front, so it would be easy to be confused and think you were purchasing the original game, especially as both covers are fairly similar (although the original does not currently appear to be readily available).

This is an excellent, casual movement programming game. It works well across multiple player counts. It’s bright, it’s colorful, and it’s good fun. It’s a cooperative game where no one player can take over, and the theme is quite engaging. If you enjoy this genre, we recommend giving this one a try.

Pros: Components and artwork, player interaction, a cooperative game where no one player can take over, speed of the scenarios

Cons: Iconography sometimes is not clear, cover does not list the subtitle