Have you always wanted to be a gopher rancher? Well, what if you just like constructing long passages out of puzzle pieces? If you answered "yes" to either of these, you should check out Burrows, a game of tourism and critters.

Burrows has a simple premise and almost as simple rules. Tourists are coming to the small town of Gopher Gulch, and they'll want to see gophers. There are three types of gophers: red (with a radish symbol), orange (carrot symbol), and purple (turnip symbol). There aren't enough gophers for all players, so the players try to lure the best gophers into their warrens for when the tourists come by.
Each turn three tiles with different burrows are put out: These have twisting and turning passages, sometimes an end with one of the symbols mentioned above, and sometimes a bus. On each player's turn they can either hold a tile without a bus symbol (to place along with another tile on a later turn) or add a tile to their current warren. If a player has the same symbol at both ends of a burrow and that burrow is longer than any other player's burrow for that symbol (by the number of tiles it crosses), that color gopher moves into the new burrow -- and stays there until a longer burrow of that color is created.

Oh yes, the bus. There are a row of pieces that show the Tour Schedule for tourists, made up of Schedule Pages. While early Pages are blank, soon they show a color gopher and 1-3 Complaint Symbols (frowning faces). Each time a player plays a tile with a bus, the bus piece advances on a tour track (three spaces in a 2-4 player game, four spaces in a 5-player game). When the bus reaches the end of the track, the player with the least number of the color gopher shown on the Pages get the piece with the Complaint Symbols, then the bus goes back to the start of the tour track. After the last Schedule Page is finished, whoever has the least Complaint Symbols wins! (A player also loses one Complaint Symbol if they had a tile waiting to be played.)

There is some planning to Burrows, between putting together longer and longer burrows and looking ahead at Schedule Pages to figure out the best time to steal a gopher away from someone and when to play bus tiles to stick other players with Complaint Symbols. This game is a bit simple, though, as the only real strategy after the beginning is building the longest burrows and advancing the bus once you do. Burrows is pleasant, and even a little interesting, but at its core this is mostly a simple puzzle game of twisting and turning passages.

Overall grade: B-
Reviewed by James Lynch

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