Preview: A.D.A.P.T.

Remember when you were younger and you created animals like a Dolphsharktopus, combining all the best parts of dolphins, sharks and octopuses? No? Maybe that was just me. Either way ADAPT allows you to not only create those awesome creatures, but fight with them too! Let’s all create and fight with a Whassuppie!

Adapt, a 2-3 player, 30 minute card and dice game by John Wrot is a game with never ending variability (ok, theoretically it can end, but it is a whole lot of variability) where you are trying to create the best battling fish to dominate the ocean. In order to create the toughest fish your task will be to adapt your starting guppy by adding body parts/abilities normally found on other fish, including shark teeth, whale blubber, bio-electricity, etc. You will eventually upgrade the fish body itself in order to get even more advanced characteristics. Each part will provide unique benefits to your fish, making your fish a better fighter, a better defender, or possibly tougher allowing it to take a lot of hits.

The game play itself is pretty simple. On each turn you have a choice between five actions: buy new body parts, adapt your fish to add previously bought body parts, clear the “gene pool,” use special abilities that are unique to your fish or fight. The longer you wait to buy new parts, the more experience you gain, allowing you to wait for the perfect new addition to your fish instead of being “stuck” with the current options.

courtesy of BGG
A Sworshufferfish! – courtesy of BGG

When the decision is made to fight, each players rolls dice according to their fish’s abilities. The attacker rolls to see how effective their attack was and the defender sees if they could dodge all or part of the attack. What is rolled will depend on the skills. Unlike many other games in this weight, each player will get a set of 7 polyhedral dice. Some abilities will allow you to roll the d10, while others may use a d4.

courtesy of John Wrot
courtesy of John Wrot

The Good

  • Let’s just get this out of the way and say the dice! How many games this size get 21 polyhedral dice including in the base game? I’m not even a huge dice guy, but these are pretty awesome. The fact that they add a bit of randomness to the fighting totally fits the theme too. Sometimes, even if you have all the skill in the world, you fail and sometimes the defense gets a bit lucky…that’s called life! I was pretty impressed with the integration of these dice into the game.
  • The play time is short enough to play during a lunch break and that is probably the perfect length for this type of game. Any longer and the game would feel like you are never going to be able to destroy your opponent. It is long enough that you feel a progression in your fish over time, but not so long that it goes on and on.
  • The art stands out to me in this game and I quite like it. I like that is is cartoony as they could have gone another route and made it way more realistic, but that could have lent itself to a much darker feel. The lighter art fits the theme well and makes me think about this game as a part of an actual cartoon.

The Not So Good

  • I wasn’t the biggest fan at three players. That’s not to say it is a bad game at three players (or even possibly higher player counts if you buy two sets), but it can lend itself to double-teaming one player. That being said, it could be my game group and has nothing to do with the game at all.
  • The graphic design left a little to be desired, but John has said he has plans to improve it, so I won’t hold the prototype graphic design against the game, but it is worth mentioning.
  • Sometimes it is a bit tough to find a good new addition to your fish in the gene pool which can cause some frustration, especially if the other player “lucks” into getting good options every time. The game length mitigates this a bit and being able to wipe the gene pool (especially since you gain experience when you do that) helps as well, but sometimes, as with most games where new cards come out for purchase, one player can get a bit lucky.

The Best Part

  • You may have called my favorite part, but it’s the combos you can make that get me the most excited about this game. I would probably rename my fish every time I add a new body part. Again, it lightens the mood up a bit and makes it a fighting game that isn’t always so serious.

The game continues until one fish remains. Will it be your Whassuppie, or my Sworshufferfish?