Publisher: Space Cow
Designer: Laurent Escoffier
Duration: 20 min.
Oh no! The once peaceful island where the animals have gotten to eat anything they wanted is in trouble! A big hungry giant, Ferdinand, has arrived and is eating ALL the food. Everyone is in a panic… but that’s where you come in. You, the mighty pelicans, are the only ones who can save them. You’ll have to brave some bad weather, but you’ll go in and airdrop food to keep the animals full and then save them! But be careful, cause if you miss the animals the giant will find the food and eat it! You better save them all before the giant eats all the food and dooms the island forever!
Ok, it all sounds a bit too tense, cause this is a kids game after all. Yum Yum Island is a co-operative kids game where you all work together to feed the animals and save them, But the trick is… you have to do it while wearing a special blindfold. But don’t worry, the other players can help guide you… unless its bad weather and there’s no communication! Can you work together and save all the animals, or will you crash and let the giant eat all the food?
What’s in the box?
Inside the box there’s one giant, one giant turtle, 4 trees, 12 different animals, 70 wooden food tokens (pink for the carnivores and green for the herbivores), one custom wooden die and 5 pairs of aviator goggles.
Im really impressed with the quality of the components. The cardboard is nice and thick, and I love how it’s recessed and holds the tokens so well. The art is extremely vibrant and colourful, and it feels really sturdy which is important for a kids game. Space Cow is the kids imprint of Space Cowboys, which published Splendor, so it’s no surprise that what’s in the box is high quality. Most kid’s games we play have great components, but Yum Yum Island is probably one of the best I have experienced. Extremely well done and enjoyable!
So how do you play?
To set up the game, place Ferdinand the Giant in the middle of the play area, and the 4 trees at the tips of his hands and feet. Place 6 of the 12 animals around Ferdinand and leave the rest in the box. Place the turtle launchpad in front of the first player, and fill it randomly with the food tokens (mix it with green and pink tokens). Lastly, hand out a pair of aviator goggles to each player, and the die to the starting player. Now you’re ready to begin!
During each turn, the active player will role the dice and apply its effect. The effects are listed below:
- The word bubble with a pink and green token require you to place a green and pink token in Ferdinand’s mouth, but they will allow the other players to help you out on the current turn!
- The word bubble crossed out doesn’t make you place any tokens in Ferdinand’s mouth, but players cannot help you on your current turn.
- The Island will allow you to instantly rescue an animal, as long at it has ONE food token in its mouth. Then turn the dice over the direction of the arrow and perform the action on it.
After you apply the dice effect, then it’s time to take off and feed the animals! To do so, look at the state of the island and memorize it: then put on your goggles and it’s time to go! With one hand, pick up as many tokens as you can in one hand and pick them up… now remember, you can’t see anything with the goggles on… right? Then lift up your hand and “fly over” to the animal of your choice and drop the correct coloured tokens in its mouth. Simple… isn’t it?
Not so easy… every wrong colour cube in a animals mouth, or any that miss their mouth immediately go into Ferdinand’s mouth! And even worse… if you fly too low and hit the floor, Ferdinand or any other animal, you crash and you lose your turn immediately. And… as soon as Ferdinand is full… the game is over, and you’ve lots. Unless you rescued all the animals that is! Whenever an animal gets the appropriate number of food tokens in it’s mouth that it requires, its rescued and set aside. Rescue all 6 before Ferdinand eats all the food, and you win!
A point of note is you can touch the trees, and definitely use them to your advantage. But be careful, if you knock them over you have to remove it from the game, meaning you lost some of your advantage. Also, some of the animals have their requirements written in yellow instead of orange, which cause an effect when they are rescued. Some are good (for example, the spider allows you to sort the food tokens so colours are split) and some not so good (like the gorilla, who gets a little too loud when rescued and you have to remove green tokens from each animals mouth). That’s pretty much all there is… happy flying!
Is it any good?
We love co-op games here, especially kid’s co-op games. There’s a pretty high standard set with games like Karuba Junior, and Whowasit? and even non-kids games like Pandemic Iberia and Burgle Bros. . So when a new co-op game comes to our collection, it’s gotta be a good one. So how does Yum Yum Island fit in?
The good news is, Yum Yum Island is a great kid’s game. It looks great on the table, easy to set up and the actual gameplay is spot on. If I can get one negative first… we definitely lost for the first few times, but once we found the groove and kinda figured it out, we are pretty good at it now. Of course, that doesn’t make it easy, because it comes with 12 animals and you only use 6 each game, so there’s not only replay value but some of the animals are much harder, meaning that the game can increase in difficulty. Which is awesome.
No matter what the gameplay is like… the components are awesome. We already covered that earlier… but the more I play, the more impressed I am by how great they are. The art is just awesome and I love when cardboard pieces are recessed like that. The are is pure vibrant, and it feels like no corners have been cut in the process. I’ve always been happy with how great Space Cowboy’s games have been, and I’m glad that has carried over to their kid’s line.
I also like how the theme is implemented in the game. When you are playing with kids, there has to be some sort of theme to get them engaged or even a little story, and Yum Yum Island does that really well. The “goggles” really help with that (another kudos to the components), and it really feels like it was well thought out with even components like the trees and such. It feels like a great marriage between theme and mechanics.
The only other thing that isn’t my favourite is the dice. Not the dice itself: it’s really nice, but it kind of adds a random element to the game, which can really make it more difficult than it needs to be. Sometimes it works in your favour, but sometimes it makes the game much harder and puts you in a corner, like when you roll multiple times with no communication and you just miss. It’s part of the game for sure, but it can hurt a little, especially as you’re figuring it out for your first few games.
Yum Yum Island is fun at all player counts. I’ve played it mostly with 2, but have done 3 and 4 player games and they’re just as good. It’s nice when you’re able to help the other players at higher player counts, and while it hasn’t been played with 5 here, I’m sure there would be no problem at all. It’s really great that it does go up to 5, as most games cap out at 4 players and kudos for Space Cow to include that extra pair of goggles to make it go up to 5!
So overall… Yum Yum Island is a great kid’s game. Ever since we got it, my daughter has been requesting it all the time, and it feels even better now that we’ve gotten the hang of it. It’s great for young kids (5+ is a perfect age), and even us adults can enjoy it. It’s quickly becoming one of our favourite games here and with it’s high replay value, I don’t see that slowing down. Great job Space Cow, you really took off high with Yum Yum Island! Now let’s go rescue those animals again!
- Stunning components!
- Really great mechanics
- The theme is extremely well done and implemented
- Lots of replayabilty with the different animals
- As much as it’s hard at times, it’s always a lot of fun to play
- There’s a lot of luck involved with that dice
- It’s pretty challenging first, but once you get a groove it gets easier
*Thank you to Asmodee Canada for providing a copy of Yum Yum Island for this review, and you can find more about them and their games by clicking here.*