A to Z Gaming: Let Them Eat Shrimp

We spawned different colors of fish and ate shrimp while trying to avoid sharks in Let Them Eat Shrimp, the next game in our A-Z game shelf play-through.

Basic Info: Let Them Eat Shrimp
Players: 2-5
Time: 20 Minutes
Designers: Steve Finn
Artists: Giorgio De Michele
Publisher: Dr. Finn’s Games

Let Them Eat Shrimp is a tile placement game where players are eating shrimp and collecting sets of fish. At the same time, players try to avoid sharks, who will eat either one of the player’s collected fish or their precious eggs. The game continues until all but one player loses their three starting eggs or there are no ways to legally place the (big) yellow fish tile. Whoever has done the best job of collecting shrimp and sets of fish wins.

There is an easier and harder way to play this game. I’m going to cover the very basic version, with a note about what the variant adds below.

The game is set up with two of the game boards placed together in the middle of the board to form a single board (lower numbered boards are easier). The supplies of fish tiles and shrimp are placed nearby. Each player receives a shield, three eggs, and one of each of the fish tiles — yellow, red, blue, and green. Additionally, the die is placed nearby. Finally, two of the green (triangle-shaped) fish tiles are randomly placed on the board.

On their turn, the player choses a fish tile and places it on the board with one side touching a tile already on the board. They watch to see what they cover up in the process, which represents what they get for placing that tile. There are four different colors of eggs on the board, which will get the player new fish tiles when they cover them. Covering a shrimp gets them a shrimp. The starfish gives them a roll of the die, which could get them one of the fish tiles or possibly nothing.

Covering part of a shark, on the other hand, also requires a die roll, but this time the die result tells what the shark eats. If the player doesn’t have what the shark wants, they lose an egg.

Players continue until all but one player has lost their three starting eggs, there’s no legal placement of the yellow (6-sided) tile, or there are no eggs showing on the board anymore. At that point, anyone who didn’t get knocked out by losing their eggs looks at how many sets of tiles they have…with their starting eggs standing in as wilds. A set of four is worth 5 points, a set of three is 3 points, and a set of two is 1 point. Additionally, each shrimp is worth 2 points. The player with the most points wins.

Those are the very basic rules, but there is a variation that makes the game a bit more challenging. In this version, each player gets a player board depicting each of the tile types. At the beginning of the game, players put their four starting tiles on this board. The game is then played in rounds in which players take tiles from their board and place newly-acquired tiles behind their shield. Each shark segment covered by the tile nets a die-roll, making it potentially perilous to cover sharks! At the end of the round, players re-seed their board with one tile of each type from behind their shield. If they’re missing any tiles, they have to pay an egg to add one back to their pool. In addition, the start player rotates each round.

My spouse picked up this game when he saw it come to Kickstarter a couple years ago. In addition to the base game, we also got the “Fish Friends” and “Swim Alone” expansions. The Fish Friends adds cards with special abilities that players choose each turn — things like ignoring a shark space or placing a tile corner-to-corner.

This is a fun, light, quick tile-placement game. I especially like playing it by the advanced rules, which requires a lot of planning to make sure that you have a new set of tiles to start the next round. It’s also easy to forget that the shrimp give you points on their own, but often I get almost half my points from shrimp (I mean, it *is* in the name of the game!).

How is it as a 2-player game? Let Them Eat Shrimp works great as a 2-player game. The board fills up a bit less quickly than with higher player counts, but many of the decisions are the same — do I get more fish for my tile, or another shrimp, or maybe risk a shark to get that great treasure trove of eggs near it?

How about the art and component quality? The art looks good (though the sharks look a little funky to me…), and they’ve used shapes to indicate the eggs on the board in addition to color to make it clear for all players. The tiles are a good quality cardboard. The game boards, though, are perhaps a bit thin — they get the job done, but I worry that they’ll break down with a lot of use.

Will this stay in my collection? Yeah, this will stay. It’s perfect for a quick game fix or a filler between heavier games on game night.

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