I picked up a copy of Eye Sea / I See by Amigo Games because it literally caught my eye. I was walking through the mall, ironically on Tabletop Day (June 1st), when I did a double take at a window display that was looking back at me. The ocean blue colours and bold graphics were enough to get me inside the store. And once inside, it didn’t take long for me to find a copy of the game. It was the back of the box, with its simple description of the game and brightly coloured sample cards that convinced me to buy. And based on the enthusiasm of my play testers, it might be one of my best purchases of the year.
Another bit of trivia about me is that I have a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. It’s not something I have the opportunity to use very often, but in this case I can scientifically explain why everyone wants to play this game. Whether on purpose or by accident, the way the game is designed appeals to two things that the human brain does automatically: recognise patterns and interpret symbols. This means that if you look at the cards for more than a few seconds, your brain is probably already playing the game, even if you aren’t. It’s a good thing Eye Sea / I See is set up for up to ten people to play at once.
So what is this game that is so simple that even your subconscious mind can play it? The goal is to combine the symbolic drawings on the cards to form, well, anything: a movie title, a song lyric, or just a common phrase. For example, can you look at a cloud and a chemistry set and see “acid rain”? How about balloons and a clock for “party time”? The images are so open to interpretation that the possibilities are endless. The more creativity you have, the better you play, and the more fun you will have. The game rewards those kinds of people who think just a little bit differently.
The best thing about this game is that there are no turns, once the grid of 9 cards is revealed, whoever sees a pairing first picks up the cards and gets a point. The game is also very democratic. There is no one judge to decide if an answer is “right”. Instead, if even one person in the group “doesn’t get it”, then the player doesn’t get a point and cards go back to the grid. Finally, there is no set number of points that wins the game; you just keep playing until the full 120 card deck runs out.
When I introduce a new game to my gaming group, there’s always at least one person who asks to just watch. But not this time; for this game, everyone wanted to play. In fact, the winner of the first game was the one person who is usually the least likely to participate. It’s that good. There is only one complaint that I can think of for the whole game. Because there are no turns, and everyone is shouting out what they see, someone has to replace the cards. And whoever is putting out the new cards (me!) loses the opportunity to guess.