Brainwaves: The Astute Goose
Playtime: 15 Minutes
Brainwaves is a series of card games developed by neuroscientists and published by KOSMOS. These neat little games are designed to help build episodic memory for children and help adults to retain theirs. With enough play, these games are intended to train brains for a healthier livelihood. The Astute Goose is a Brainwaves game for one to five players.
There is a crowd of burglars and the players need to identify a specific one using just their memory. Cards will be laid out in front of the players, and each burglar depicted on the cards has a few unique traits. Their appearance, clothing color, and animal accomplice will all be different. After some time is spent memorizing the cards, they will be flipped over. Play then begins with a player rolling the dice. The dice will indicate a burglar and either the animal, clothing, color associated with that burglar. The player needs to identify that item and then flip the card. If they remembered correctly they will claim the card for scoring. If not, another player will get a shot at stealing the point.
I enjoyed Brainwaves: The Brilliant Boar quite a bit because of its quick pace and short turns. While The Astute Goose also features quick turns, it didn’t click with me the same way. It felt less like a game and more of an exercise. The other Brainwaves games are more quirky, which makes them feel more interactive in a group setting. The Brilliant Boar feels like the level of enjoyment doesn’t change whether you are playing alone or with a group. It’s not unenjoyable, but it’s not nearly as fun as the other Brainwaves titles.
The Astute Goose relies on the player having a bit of luck as the game progresses. In every game played, there was always a player or two that got to benefit from lucky dice rolls. Every time a burglar is successfully identified, a new one if flipped up for players to memorize before it joins the other facedown burglars. It feels a bit cheap than for the dice to instantly indicate that burglar, giving the turn player easy points. If players are competitive, they will likely find it hard to enjoy The Astute Goose to the fullest. However, if all players want to just work their memories in a casual setting, this can be a great tool for that.
The Astute Goose features a few difficulties to help players grow and improve their memories. The difficulties allow for The Astute Goose to be a great tool for improving memory for adults especially. It’s enjoyable enough and has a fine amount of replayability added to it. It’s more difficult than The Brilliant Boar, so that is something to consider.
The art in The Astute Goose is simple and shares the same aesthetic as the other games in the series. The dressed-up animals are instantly recognizable and are useful for recognition. The plain backgrounds contrast well with characters on the cards, allowing the player to focus on what they need to remember. Going for a more sophisticated aesthetic could have had a negative impact on the player’s ability to memorize, so this is a great artistic decision.
The Astute Goose is a great tool for building memory, but it isn’t exactly a great game. It’s serviceable, and some will certainly enjoy it quite a bit, but it doesn’t have universal appeal. Still, this can be a fun time if the players come in with the right attitude.
The Astute Goose
The Astute Goose is a great tool for building memory, but it isn't exactly a great game. It's serviceable, and some will certainly enjoy it quite a bit, but it doesn't have universal appeal. Still, this can be a fun time if the players come in with the right attitude.