Essentially, you take turns adding fish to the “pot.” Once you add a fish, you then have the option of declaring a purchase of all fish in the set. One component I love about the game is the chance to affect other players’ purchases. When a player declares he/she will purchase the set of fish on the table, all other players may then play cards to affect the fish in the set or the cost of the set or both! Want to be a jerk and double the cost? Do it. Want to trash the fish the purchaser wants the very most? You got it. Want to halve the cost and get a coin in return? Sure thing. In my view, the swap-one-fish-for-one-of-your-fish is the most valuable card in the deck!
Ugh, the feeding! Do…not…forget…to…have…enough…food. As natural a consequence as nature itself, your fish die if you don’t feed them. In my first couple of games, I pushed hard to build up as massive a fish collection as I could (the more the better, right?). I’d stretch my purchases as much as possible then would lose several to starvation. Then I’d stubbornly do it again…and again…and again resulting in almost no fish in my grand aquarium at the end of the game. Finally, I learned my lesson and wouldn’t buy whatever I could with whatever I had (good life principle, too!). I started planning ahead to make sure I had enough food to feed my fish. The catch? You randomly draw the amount of food necessary to feed each fish. It could be one, two, or three for each feeding. Oh, and don’t forget to invest in the aquarium plants to help you feed your fish! Rarely will someone win the game without at least a couple of plants.
I really like the expansion components where you can add the Fishybank (to get more money/food), the Breeding Tank (to, you know, facilitate fishy baby-making!), and the special Rainbow Fish. These are fun components that add variety to the base gameplay.
Overall, this is a fun and fairly simple game. The replay value is moderately high for me, particularly because of the expansion options. A couple of point detractors for me are feeling a constant pressure to have enough food/money over building up an awesome aquarium as well as the time length of the game itself sometimes seems to drag a bit. I give it a 6.5.
Disclaimer: I received this game for free in exchange for my review, but believe me, I post authentic reviews every time and will be brazenly blunt if needs be.