Created over a hundred and fifty years ago the classic children’s game of Snap has been around for ages under various forms and names. Basically the premise of the game is that each player gets a pile of cards and players take turns revealing the top card from their own pile. When this card is revealed all of the players analyze it and the previous card to see if the two match. If they match the players either slap the cards or yell out some phrase. Depending on the game the first or last to respond will take all of the cards played to the table. The game ends when one player either runs out of cards or controls all of the cards. This genre of children’s card games have been around for so long that there have been many games created over the years that have utilized this mechanic or a very similar mechanic. Today I am looking at a newer entry in the genre Avocado Smash. Avocado Smash is a fun little family speed pattern recognition game that doesn’t really do anything to distinguish itself from any other game in this already crowded genre.
How to Play Avocado Smash
- Shuffle the cards and deal them all out equally to the players.
- The youngest player will start the first round. Play will then move clockwise.
Playing the Game
A player will begin their turn by taking the top card from their deck and placing it face up in the middle of the table. Players should turn the card face up away from themselves so they don’t get to see the card before the other players. As the player reveals their cards they will continue the current count out loud. The first player will begin with “one avocado”. The second player will continue with “two avocados”. This continues until “15 avocados” where the count reverts back to one.
As soon as the card is played players have to analyze a couple different things.
First if the number of avocados on the new card is the same as the number that was on the previous card the players need to slap the pile of cards as quickly as possible. The last player to slap the pile will have to take all of the cards from the center pile and add them to the bottom of their pile of cards. This player will begin the next round by flipping over the top card from their pile.
Second if the number of avocados featured on the card matches the current count, the players will have to slap the pile of cards. This is handled in the same way as if the cards matched.
Third if a Smash! card is revealed all of the players are forced to slap the pile following the above rules.
If at any point a player slaps the cards when they weren’t supposed to they will take all of the cards from the pile and add them to the bottom of their own pile. If multiple players do this at the same time all of these players will share the cards from the center of the table.
There are three types of special cards in Avocado Smash.
The first is the Smash! card mentioned above. Basically the Smash! card needs to be slapped by the players as quickly as possible.
The second special card is the Change Direction card. This card immediately changes the direction of play. If play was moving clockwise it will now move counter clockwise and vice versa. If two of these cards are revealed in a row the players will have to slap the cards like any other match.
The final special card is the Guacamole! card. When this card is revealed all of the players must race to yell out “guacamole”. The last person to say it will take all of the cards from the center of the table. If a player(s) slaps the card though they will take the cards even if they weren’t the last to say the word.
To add more difficulty to the Game you can add these additional rules.
When a Change Direction card is played players will also reverse the count. If the count was increasing with each player it will now decrease and vice versa.
If there is a situation where there are two reasons to slap a cards the two reasons offset one another and players shouldn’t slap the cards. Anyone who slaps the cards will have to take the cards from the center of the table.
End of Game
When a player runs out of cards they have the opportunity to win the game. In order to win the game they must survive the next smash/slap. If the player is forced to draw cards the game continues like normal. If they don’t have to draw cards they will win the game.
If two players run out of cards before someone wins, the first player to slap the cards correctly breaks the tie.
My Thoughts on Avocado Smash
Avocado Smash owes a lot of its inspiration to a long line of games that predate it. Games like Snap, Slap Jack, Tutti Frutti, and probably at least a hundred other games predate Avocado Smash with very similar mechanics. There are a few slight differences, but the main mechanics are all the same. Player take turns revealing cards and trying to react as quickly as possible when a match is revealed. Over a hundred years later and this mechanic is still being used in new board games. Avocado Smash has a couple unique twists on the formula, but it doesn’t really revolutionize the genre in any meaningful way.
While I would like to see a game do something drastically different with this genre, it is not all that surprising that pretty much every game in the genre doesn’t stray too far from the basics. It makes sense as why risk breaking something that has worked for over a hundred years. I would like to see some more variety in the genre, but I still find it to be somewhat enjoyable. There is something enjoyable about trying to quickly spot matches and react before the other players. It is really satisfying being able to beat the other players by seconds. There is a reason that this genre has been popular among families for so long. Fans of these type of games have no reason not to enjoy Avocado Smash as well. Those who have never liked this genre of speed pattern recognition card games are unlikely to change their opinion for Avocado Smash.
One of this genre’s greatest strengths is that the games are so simple to play. This is no different for Avocado Smash. The game is a little more difficult than your typical game because there are more things that you have to keep track of. The game is still really easy though. You could honestly teach the game to new players within a minute or two as the rules are really basic. Basically the whole game boils down to see/hear a match and slap the cards. The game has a recommended age of 6+ which seems about right. The only reason why kids even younger might not be able to play the game is due to the fact that you have to count up to fifteen and you need a somewhat fast reaction time.
The main gameplay of Avocado Smash is pretty much like every other game in this genre. I would say that there are two main differences between Avocado Smash and all of these other games though.
First the slapping is handled a little differently. Most games in this genre only give credit to the first player to react accordingly. They will get to take the cards which are a benefit as you don’t want to run out of cards. The reverse is the goal in Avocado Smash as you want to get rid of all of your cards. Thus all of the players have the opportunity to react to a match. The last player to react takes all of the cards. Instead of rewarding the player with the quickest reaction time, you instead punish the player with the slowest reaction time. Therefore to do well in the game you don’t need the fastest reaction time, but you need to be faster than at least one other player. The main gameplay is still the same, but this makes it play somewhat differently. This rewards consistency over just having the fastest reaction time. In some ways I think this improves the game and in other ways I think it makes it worse.
The other major difference is that you have several different things to keep track of at any given time. Many games in this genre have only one thing that you have to keep track off. You are only looking for direct matches in order slap the cards. This is also a major mechanic in Avocado Smash. The difference is that there are several other things that you need to keep track of in Avocado Smash. In addition to matching cards you also have to keep track of the current count. If a card is played that matches the current count you also have to slap the cards. There are also the special Smash! and Guacamole! cards that you have to react to quickly. All of these different mechanics lead to players having to keep track of quite a few things at the same time. This makes the game more challenging which keeps it interesting for longer. With so many different types of things that you have to react to you have to always be on the watch.
I think these additions both help and hurt the game. On the positive side it keeps the game fresher as there are more mechanics to the game. Instead of just doing one thing over and over again there are a couple different things that you need to always be aware of. The main problem is that the changes can also lead to Avocado Smash dragging at times. If all of the players are at about the same skill level it is going to be hard to finish the game. As the player who responds last is the only one that matters, players that have around the same reaction time will likely switch off being the player that has to pick up the cards. This leads to the cards being passed around from player to player. In this situation the only way the game ends is if one player gets lucky. After a while the game can become a little repetitive as players just pass cards back and forth. This type of game is best as a five to ten minute game. Most games will still be in that range, but I could easily see games taking at least twice that long.
Another problem with Avocado Smash is something that it shares with all of these type of games where all of the players are trying to slap the cards at the same time. Players are likely to slap the cards at the same time. This can lead to players hurting their hands. This is especially true if some of the players are overly aggressive. I don’t really see any major injuries occurring. Players need to be conscientious of other players though and try not to slap too hard because they were overexcited.
One problem with these types of card games is that they are generally prone to quite a bit of damage to the cards. This is kind of expected as all of the players are trying to slap the cards as quickly as possible. Cards will be creased and damaged in other ways as players try to slap them. Like all games in this genre this is an issue for Avocado Smash as well. I think the cards hold up better than most games from this genre though. The cards feel thicker and are constructed in a way which makes them feel like they will take less damage than your typical game from this genre. It will still happen from time to time, but I think the cards will hold up better than I initially expected. I also found the game’s artwork to be pretty good as well. The artwork is cute and the cards get right to the point without a lot of extra unneeded information. I thought the idea of making the outer case into an avocado is cute as well.
Should You Buy Avocado Smash?
Avocado Smash is very similar to your typical game in the children’s/family speed pattern recognition card game genre. Like any other game in the genre players try to slap the cards as quickly as possible when a match is revealed. The main gameplay is basically the same as every other game from the genre. There are two more minor differences though. First instead of racing to be the first to correctly respond, players are just trying not to be last. Otherwise the game gives you more matching opportunities which means that players need to keep track of more information. These additions don’t drastically change the gameplay, but add a little variety. The gameplay is not particularly deep, but there is something satisfying about beating the other players in slapping the cards. The game also takes maybe a minute to teach. If players are equally skilled though the game can overstay its welcome.
My recommendation for Avocado Smash comes down to your feelings about this genre of speed pattern recognition card games. If you have never really cared for the genre or you already own a similar game, I don’t really see anything unique enough about Avocado Smash to warrant a purchase. Fans of this genre though who want something a little different should have some fun with the game, and should consider a purchase if they get a good deal on it.