Published by: Kids Table Board Gaming
Designer: Peter C. Hayward
Art Design: Josh Cappel, Shawna J.C. Tenney
Playtime: 15-30 minutes
Player count: 2-5 players
A copy of Bugs on Rugs was provided by the publisher for review. This does not mean they paid for my opinion, it means they respect my opinion. My reviews will always be fair, honest, and respectful.
As wee little Jeremy, I remember catching a spider outside of my aunt’s house and hiding it in a jar. It was my pet and I’m sure you can imagine the look on my aunt’s face as she’s staring at a what I believe was a black widow spider in her home. She will never let me forget about that moment. I’ve always been fascinated with the different types of bugs in existence and the ridiculous amount of work they do just to survive daily. When I saw the cover of the Bugs on Rugs, I immediately answered the request for reviewers and I’m glad I did. Bugs on Rugs is an easy to learn family weight set collection and hand management game. It’s designed by one of my favorite card game designers, Peter C. Hayward. His previous designs include, Ninjitsu, Village Pillage, Dracula’s Feat, and one game in the Lady and the Tiger package of games. So, a bug themed card game by one of my favorite designers should equal awesomeness. Is it good or does it bug me?
The gameplay is really simple. Players take turns drafting cards from the floor (table) one at a time until one card is left. The remaining card is placed on the wall, which is displayed next to the deck. The wall power for the remaining Bug card is activated, the first player token moves clockwise, and a new set of cards are laid out. The gameplay continues until the end card pops up when creating a floor for the next round or because of a wall power. One last round is played and then score are calculated. The person with the most points wins. The end of the game is unpredictable due to the setup. Based on player count, the end card is placed in between decks and you never know when it will pop up. All you know Is somewhere in the 90 cards the end game will trigger. It’s possible to predict when the end game will trigger, but that might take your attention away from the game.
Best Bug Collector
Bugs on Rugs all boils down to how you create sets and how to use wall powers to your advantage. Here is a list of what each card can do and some tips on how to use them:
You score 1 point for every bug type you have exactly one of. This card is the least exciting and probably the remaining option during drafting, but it’s a low key way to generate end game points.
Wall Power: The first player reveals a card from their hand and that wall power is activated.
A pair of Mosquitos can be used as a wild substitute for a bug that you already have and it’s the most important cards in the game if you’re one or two away cards from completing sets with higher scoring options.
Wall Power: Each player swaps a card from the wall that’s different than the one they used. The card also has to be different if it’s possible. The timing of this wall power becomes very important based on what’s available and swapped out by the other players.
If you collect 4 (no more or less) of them you receive 25 points. This one is tricky. Since everyone is aware of how many you need to score, using wall powers that allow you to pick up Lady Bug cards might be your best shot or the luck of the draw.
Wall Power: Each player draws a card from the deck in turn order. Hey, you might get lucky and pull a Ladybug.
Players receive points according to who has the most ants. Points are awarded for 1st (5 points) and 2nd (3 points) place and the remaining players receive one point. This seems like the easiest set collection to chase, go for it!
Wall Power: You draw a bug from the deck and use its power. I keep saying this, but the luck of the draw could really work in your favor here.
Spiders score 7 points only if they are fed a fly card. This is the most important combo to focus on. To be honest, I don’t think you can win without having at least one or two spider/fly combos.
Wall Power: Each player in turn order adds a card to the end of the wall and takes the first card from the wall to their hand. Think of this as an exchange program that may or may not work out for you.
Flies are worth two points each, but they can contribute to feeding spider’s making them worth seven points. As I stated before, I felt like Spider and fly combo is the best scoring option in the game.
Wall Power: All players at the same time pass one card from their hand to the player on their right.
Beetle cards are score based on if you’ve collected an even (score more) or odd number of cards. When to pursue this path or cut it off is a big choice. Beetles help rack up point easily and deciding when to cut off taking another one.
Wall Power: All players pass a card to their left at the same time.
You receive one point for each different colored rug in the background. Each Bug card has a different background, which is something you have to be aware of. It’s a hard one to create a strategy for, but it’s also an easy way to get a rack up a couple points.
Wall: Each player chooses a card from their hand and creates the floor for the next round.
This is the only card in the game with an instant action. If a player ever has a pair in their hands, they can discard them and take any one bug from the wall. Each Larva is worth three points if a Mosquito card is discarded, otherwise the card is worth nothing. I’ve never used these cards to my advantage and that might explain why I lose so much.
Wall Power: If two Larva cards are ever on the wall, they get discarded to the bottom of the deck and a new card is drawn and activated. Prepare yourself for a surprise!
Teachable Moments and Audience
Bugs on Rugs is the perfect game for teaching a combination of set collection, planning and memory. When you plan on teaching your children this game, you definitely want to familiarize yourself with the iconography and sprinkle in some hints of potential scoring combos. I could see younger players missing some scoring opportunities because they don’t understand simpler scoring combos that work in their favor. This game is not hard at all, but a little prep work will keep your head out of the rulebook and into the flow of the game. I get the feeling this will be in heavy rotation at family game nights due to its light learning curve. Casual adult players might get into this game too.
What’s So Cool?
- The art is suuuuuper cute buggy art!
- Kids and casual gamers can learn the basics of set collection and memory.
- The play time is perfect. A game that can be taught and played in 30 minutes and has a smaller table gets some bonus points from me
- I’m sure the price point is very affordable
Not So Cool
- I wouldn’t recommend this as a two player only game. I felt like it was hard to find a real strategy is almost too straight forward. For instance, I know you want Ladybugs and you took two already, my goal is to make sure you don’t get the other two you need to score 25 points. It just seems like the path to victory is almost too clear and not as strategic. If an eight and 10-year-old are playing together, what I’m saying might not be an issue at all.
- As much as I don’t mind looking at the back of a book, I would really appreciate a player aid. I’m a seasoned gamer, but I had to check the back of the book more than I wanted to. Good rule book by the way
I Can Recommend Bugs on Rugs
Bugs on Rugs is a cute game that doesn’t overstay its welcome on the table. I think this is a good game for families and I’ll leave it up to you to decide if this the right fit for your casual adult audience. I think it’s a solid game for adults, but I had some lukewarm responses to it from several adult only playthroughs. For parents, consider the age of your children and the type of games you’ve played with them before purchasing Bugs on Rugs. I appreciate a well-rounded experience that teaches memory, card drafting, and set collection. You can have a lot of fun in a short window of time and I’m a fan of games like this. I get the feeling that over time that Bugs on Rugs will be one of those games that stays in heavy rotation for the family game nights. I will keep this one in mind for as a suggestion for families looking for their next gaming purchase. Thank you for your time party people!
My reviews are rated on a recommendation basis and I do my best to make my opinion clear. I can recommend Bugs on Rugs.
- Highly Recommend
- On the fence
- Not feeling it
- Hard pass