Master Fox is one of the free games we got as an admission gift for SaltCon 2018. It’s really fun, simple, and great for kids who are a bit older. Master Fox is similar to a dexterity game, and relies heavily on each player’s ability to feel the difference between wooden tokens.
See Master Fox’s Board Game Geek page.
In Master Fox, players take on the role of apprentice thieves who are vying to fill in for Master Fox when he’s away. Each player chooses a mask that features a picture of a fox. The masks cover your eyes during the action of each round, so that you can’t see what you’re grabbing. After each player has a mask, players have to shuffle a small deck and deal out three cards. Each card shows a type of animal or food that all of the aspiring thieves must collect during that round. Next, set aside the special tokens (some foxes, snakes, and a hammer) because these are only introduced during later rounds. Toss all of the remaining tokens inside the game box, close the lid and mix them up.
After the tokens are mixed up, the fun really begins. All of the players lower their masks, ensuring they cannot see the box. Then one player lifts the lid of the box away to reveal the tray with all of the wooden tokens and says something to the effect of “Go”. Then all players stick one hand into the box, and start rummaging around for the tokens they want.
However, players can only collect three tokens, and can only do so one at a time. Once you grab a token you want to keep, you transfer it to your other hand (called your bag). Then you dive right back in. Once someone has three tokens in their “bag” they call out for everyone to stop. Anyone with tokens in their hands have to drop them back into the box and everyone lifts their masks.
Players score points based on the tokens they’ve collected. For each token you collected that matches one of the revealed cards, you get one point. You also gain points in special ways with the specialized tokens. Additionally, you lose points for having more than 3 tokens, and a couple other conditions.
Master Fox’s Best Points
Master Fox is fun. Plain and simple. That’s probably the best thing about this game. There’s something satisfying about digging around at a bunch of tokens while the other players are digging around with you. Distinguishing between a horse and a cow requires that you pay attention to the shapes and relative widths of the tokens.
The components included with Master Fox are really great. The masks are sturdy and the expressions of the foxes on them are great. It has awesome personality. The cards are well made, and all of the artwork is consistent and really fun. Additionally, the box is solidly built, and the insert supports the game perfectly. Because the box is part of playing the game, the insert is simply angled cardboard, ensuring that nothing gets stuck in corners. It’s simple and elegant.
Probably my favorite components are the wooden tokens. Each token is nice by itself. They are all similar to one another in one aspect or another, but have enough distinguishing features to make it possible to quickly and easily pick the right token out of the box while blindfolded. One of my favorite things about the tokens is that each is slightly wider or shallower than the others. It makes it easier for a savvy player to pick the right tokens out of the crowd.
Master Fox’s Worst Points
Although Master Fox is fun, it doesn’t feel entirely sanitary. Throughout the entire game you’re digging around in a common box with other people’s hands. Everybody is touching the same tokens, often multiple times. Although that’s intentional, and I enjoy it, I also recommend having a bottle of hand sanitizer nearby. Oh, and as always, wash your hands before you eat.
Master Fox is also going to be a bit difficult for anyone under the age of 6 or 7 to play. Distinguishing between shapes while blindfolded can take practice and a bit more abstract thinking than most 5 year olds are used to. Even so, my son really enjoys this game.
Buy Master Fox
I like Master Fox, and if you get a chance to pick up a copy, I’d say go for it.
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