Kickstarter Corner – Berrymandering

Hello and welcome to another edition of Kickstarter Corner, where I highlight a current Kickstarter campaign that I find interesting. Today’s feature takes the political concept of gerrymandering and puts into a delicious, easy to comprehend board game format.

Berrymandering is a game designed by Eliot Aretskin-Hariton and Justin Gray from Ohio, a state that is often victim to the gerrymandering process, where politicians manipulate voting districts to benefit their cause. Berrymandering looks to explain the process without all the political connotations and instead of using different political districts, this game uses two familiar foods: strawberries and blueberries and the “I cut, you choose” mechanic.

The state of Ohio represented by the berry tiles in Berrymandering

Each side in Berrymandering has an equal amount of berry tiles, each showing from 1 up to 4 berries. These are joined by 6 mystery tiles, which are randomly revealed during the game. To start, the player who most recently ate cake gets to choose their side. The other person will be “cutting” the tiles first. The berry tiles and mystery tiles are shuffled and placed into a 6×6 grid.

An example of a potential starting setup

Next, the player who is “cutting” the tiles makes groups of 4 tiles without moving the tiles out of their position or leaving any “orphans” (those in a group less than 4). The other player then chooses one of these groups to eat. If there is a mystery tile in the group, one of the mystery berries is revealed. The player with the most berries in the group that was eaten receives a candle on their cake (a victory point). The tiles are then reset with the chosen group being flipped over as they have been eaten. The “cutting” player and the “choosing” player then switch roles and continue play for 9 rounds. The player with the most candles on their cake at the end of the game is the winner.

The components of Berrymandering

Berrymandering is primarily a 2 player game, but the rules also give rules for solo and 3-player variants. The rules are simple to understand and I could see it getting tense as you try to grab groups that benefit you instead of your opponent. The mystery tiles add yet another layer of strategy to the game.

This is the first Kickstarter for creator Eliot Aretskin-Hariton, but he has previously designed a game, Obelisk. The artwork for Berrymandering, done by Joe Mauro, is a unique blend of realistic and more cartoon-like. I think it fits the feeling of the game.

The cover of Berrymandering. Note the realistic berries in contrast with the cartoon-y font.

For a $5 USD pledge, you can get a print and play copy of Berrymandering. For $15 USD, you will receive a published copy of the game. There is also a pledge level for classrooms who wish to receive Berrymandering to use it as an educational tool. As of this writing, the campaign has raised $1,483 USD of its $4,000 USD goal. If you want to check out the full Kickstarter campaign for Berrymandering, you can see it here.

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