Game: The Whatnot Cabinet
- Publisher: Pencil First Games
- Designed by: Eduardo Baraf and Steve Finn
- Illustrated by: Beth Sobel
- Ages 8+
- 2-4 players
- 30 minutes
Remember when you were younger and would go outside? The fresh air was like a stirring to the soul, encouraging us to explore. Along the many paths we’d take there would be little trinkets. A smooth stone here, a little toy left behind, maybe a leaf that had turned a beautiful red shade would come across you as you went along. Some things you would take home to put on a shelf, and that collection of trinkets and knickknacks would pass into memory…
The Whatnot Cabinet brings back that feeling of being a kid again, and sharing those feelings with our own children has been a great reminder of our youth.
In The Whatnot Cabinet, you are collecting objects and scoring points for having the best Whatnot Cabinet.
Each player receives a Cabinet and a pawn of their matching color. (In a two player game, the player will use two pawns.) Then each player will place their pawn on the action board according to their position. Over the course of six rounds (three for two player), players will be collecting curio tiles, items of value such as gems, bottles, small animals and leaves, in hopes to fill their cabinet with the best collection. These items may be found in the curio tile bag or the outdoors, an area where adventure awaits.
In order to collect tiles, the player must pick one out of the five possible actions. These actions could be adding to your collection from the bag, adding to the outdoors and then to your collection or even resetting the great outdoors and collecting two tiles from the newly available pieces.
Scoring on your cabinet depends on colors and objects. A row of similar objects (ie all gems) will result in 3 curio tokens (points). A row with different objects will result in 1 curio token.
Columns are based on colors. Different colors equals 2 curio tokens while the same colors equal 4 curio tokens. How you place your tiles makes for an interesting strategy that will succeed or fail miserably depending on how you play.
Once players have all played on an action spaces not taken by another player, they will clear the outdoors and reset. Then they will move their pawns to the turn order space matching the action spaces.
Throughout the game there are Wonder Cards and Curiosity Cards which could help a player find a strategy to win. Curiosity Cards are cards that can be claimed by a player who has met a condition. For example there is a card with conditions of playing each color on the cabinet. Once someone has done so, they can take the card as their own and score for it at the end of the game. Wonder Cards are cards that give an edge to all players as it pertains to having certain objects. These objects will gain extra points for each one you have.
Lastly there are tiles with crowns and point/clearing tiles that you will encounter. Curio tiles with crowns get you more points. Point Tiles will have you do certain conditions and then place outside of your cabinet. The clearing tiles will have you resetting the outdoors and claiming tiles from there.
Once all rounds are complete, players will score their cabinet, wonder cards, crowns, curiosity cards and where they are on the turn order spaces at the end of the game. The player with the most points is declared the winner!
This artwork is beautiful. Each tile has just the right amount of detail and the cabinet looks like a Kallax shelf, perfect for a board game enthusiast. The pawns are a nice wooden design and the overall production is well worth having at the table.
One note, we were able to play with the Fascination Expansion and it adds a challenge to collect specific colored objects. This is a nice addition to change up strategies.
Our Family’s Thoughts
Abigail (not a hoarder or particularly fond of animals, but appreciates quality time together): it was a good game, easy to learn and easy to play and fun. It is fun with the family or just 2 players. Recommendation: Try it.
Beth: I feel like this game had a little bit for everyone. I was focused on strategizing placement while my kids had fun with their collections and we still had fairly similar scores. It was important to remember the cards that give you extra points for accomplishments, those gave the extra edge to the game. We enjoyed it and it went quick enough that everyone stayed focused (big plus for a family game). Recommendation: Buy It!
Chris: I love this game. It’s quick to play, easy to teach and fun for the whole family. There is something great when you get that feeling of your younger days. This game brought back memories of collecting sticks and leaves and seeing as my kids have done the same on walks. The artwork and gameplay fit well with our family and I would recommend this be a game your family backs. Recommendation: Buy It!
Daniel (11 year old hoarder of anything collectible): I like how the game is about collecting things because I like collecting rocks and gems and finding things that are unique. I liked the design of the tiles and the cabinet looked cool with the pieces in it. Recommendation: Buy It!
Elijah (9 year old with a cat obsession): I liked how there were kitties in it. I collected gems and animals because the gems looked cool and I like kitties. Recommendation: Buy It!
The Whatnot Cabinet deserves to be on your table. It’s a quick filler full of fun and we give it a 4.6 Goodlets out of 5.