Title: Plankton Rising
Designed By: Patrick Marino
Art by: Stephen Hillenburg
Published By: The Op
Player Count: 1-4
Time to Play: 45-60 Minutes
"F is for friends who do stuff together, U is for you and me, N is for anywhere and anytime at all down here in the deep blue sea!" Gather your pals for a brand new Spongebob adventure from The OP. Plankton is at it again, he is trying to team up with Bikini Bottom's most troublesome villains to steal the secret recipe for the Krabby Patty. It's up to you guys to stop him! Work with friends like Gary, Patrick, Bubble Buddy, and more to help keep the secret recipe a secret!
Start by setting up the Krabby Patty making sure all the computer sides are facing down. Place the orange cubes (aka theft counters) nearby. Shuffle the Plankton card and put them nearby.
Put the dice, white cubes (aka time counters), and the spatula tokens (face down) within reach of all players. Place the Krusty Krab board and Plankton figurine in the middle of the players too.
Have each player select a team and collect the matching home base card and team deployment tokens. We don’t recommend using Patrick in a two-player game. The home base cards indicate the player starting dice pool as well as the starting friend or team leader, which the player should collect from the Krusty Krab deck before beginning the game. As the dice will be shared between players, players should not take the dice until it is their turn.
Shuffle all of the other Krusty Krab cards together and place them near the game board. Deal out eight cards face-up four on the top near the kitchen and four on the bottom near the dining room. You are now ready to begin.
How to Play:
In Plankton Rising the goal is to complete seven customer orders before plankton carries out his plans to steal the secret Krabby Patty recipe. While there is only one way to win the game there are several ways in which you can lose. First, if plankton steals all six parts of the Krabby Patty recipe he wins. Next if collectively more than ten friends are defeated you lose. Lastly, if one player has all of their friends on their team defeated you lose. As plankton rising is a cooperative game if one player loses everybody loses however once the 7th recipe is fulfilled everybody wins.
Gameplay passes from one player to another with each player taking several actions on throughout their turn. Select a starting player and have this person start by placing their team token in a location of their choice whether it be in the dining room or the kitchen. Next, that player will flip over a Plankton card and resolve the text either moving Plankton into the kitchen, dining room, or back to the Chum Bucket and potentially increasing his progress on discovering one of the ingredients for the secret Krabby Patty recipe or interacting with villains or friends. Next, that player will roll and assign friend dice. Friend dice are determined based on the initial dice pool for each character as well as any friends that you have collected. Some friends will add dice, some friends will not and they will have different powers instead. Make sure that you have all the dice you need before rolling. Friends can be used to gain new friends, complete orders, or battle villains. Once all the player's dice have been used their turn is over and play passes to the person on their left.
The game will continue until the players either complete the 7th recipe or have lost the game. Difficulty can be increased by requiring players to come and complete more orders up to 11 total. There is also a way to decrease the difficulty of the game if you are playing with younger players.
Plankton rising is extremely eye-catching and wowed us from the moment we saw the box art. When we opened the box, we were awash in a world of color. We love the little plankton statue that you got to move around throughout the game. It is even better than getting a mini since it’s already printed in full color. The game itself looks amazing on the table and takes up a large amount of space while you’re playing.
Fans of SpongeBob are sure to love Plankton Rising as the whole crew of your favorite characters are in this game from Grandma SquarePants, to Barnacle boy, and Squilliam. As fans of Spongebob, almost every character we could think of made it into the game. The components themselves are really well made with nice thick chipboard that was easy to punch out.
We tried Plankton Rising both as a solo game and as a cooperative game and enjoyed it immensely both ways. As your hand is open in a cooperative game, the solo game has a very similar feel since no information is shared that you wouldn’t have seen in a cooperative game. In a solo game, you play as two characters rather than one. We tested a variety of character combinations and found all of them to be enjoyable, with the exception of playing a two-player game with Patrick. His character does seem a little bit more limited when only playing with two, however, he works well with larger player counts.
Plankton Rising is a great introduction to engine-building games as well as card-drafting. The characters that you are selecting help you to be able to take more actions or manipulate your actions or dice on future turns. It could be a great opportunity to introduce people to some of these concepts before playing games like Everdell or Roll Player. As you play with open hands Plankton Rising is a good choice for families, as you can help your children see what opportunities they may have missed while working together to teach them some new board game skills.
However, just because it is Spongob Squarepants themed it does not mean that this is just a children’s game. The pressure throughout the game felt well balanced and there are a bunch of different ways to kind of keep the game moving along and keep that intensity going. Even when playing with just adults the pressure was still there to make sure that we were able to actually complete the orders in time. And that was just on the easy mode. With the advanced mode, it is even more challenging as you have many factors to keep in mind to make sure that you are not losing characters up or letting Plankton get too far in discovering the secret formula.
As you dive into the game the engine you build by collecting friend cards will pick up as the game progresses. The more friends you have, the more abilities and things you will be able to do each turn so while the game may start off, slow by the end you’re doing a lot every round and you have a bunch of really interesting choices. We enjoyed that every dice had all of the options however depending on the colors that you’re using the amount of each option varies so your odds change depending on the different colored dice that you are allowed to roll each round. There is even some mild asymmetry as each character you can play as have their own special abilities that you can use throughout the game.
Overall, Plankton Rising is a fantastic introductory Co-op that your whole family is sure to love!
Pudgy Cat Games makes no profit off reviews. Should you wish to purchase Plankton Rising, you can help support us by purchasing the game through our Amazon Affiliate Link below. It will cost you nothing extra, but will help support our site! More information can be found on The Op's website.