The Hall of Einar Sunday Review #16

Hello and welcome to my Sunday Review. Every week I read great wildlife and nature books, see engrossing websites and hear wonderful new music – this is my chance to bring you all the best I’ve experienced – every Sunday.
If it’s folk, or independent, or about wildlife, nature or Orkney I may love it, and so may you.

Fungi – card game by Brent Povis

Fungi is a game I bought a while ago and have not had chance to play. That’s one of the least important impacts of the coronavirus. It’s a two-player hand management set-collection card game where you collect similar mushrooms and gain points by ‘cooking’ them in a pan, with cider and butter if you have it. It’s entertaining and competitive. Take a journey through the forest and collect and cook the best mushrooms to win.

There are plenty of interesting game mechanics. You have a limit to the number of mushroom cards you can hold in your hand which can be increased by getting baskets. You can only pick mushrooms at your feet in the forest but you can sell pairs of mushrooms to buy sticks to go walking in the deep forest to pick mushrooms to complete your set. You can choose to get the points at any time you have enough of the same type of mushroom, but once cooked you can’t add more raw ones.

The rules make sense, the game is well balanced and is perfect for autumn nights as winter approaches. A nice touch is that the person who last ate mushrooms starts the gameplay.

Highly recommended. You also don’t have to like the theme or even like mushrooms to enjoy it. It takes 20 to 40 minutes, or longer if you’re desperate to win, and is suitable for 10 years and over.

Collins British Mushrooms & Toadstools

Mushroom season is nearly upon us. I found my first Porcini yesterday and there will be Chanterelles and… well, I’d like you to join me in the appreciation of wild fungi, and not just the edible ones.

Where do you start, though? Firstly, join a local fungus society or mycological club or whatever they call themselves. There’s nothing quite like surrounding yourself with experts to provide some comfort in identification. Then, get a decent book. I recommend the Collins Complete Guide to British Mushrooms and Toadstools as a great starting point. It’s not too expensive, the photographs are clear and the text simple. They’ve thought of the inexperienced naturalist by giving a handy guide to trees at the end, as so many fungi are specific to a single species of tree.

The Collins Complete is very reasonably priced, will allow you to identify the vast majority of species you’ll come across and is accessible enough for young people to enjoy. I’m delighted I bought it and use it as first point of reference for most species I see.

And the final bit of advice is never eat anything you’ve found unless you’re an expert or you’ve had the identity confirmed by an expert. I only ever eat a handful of species and they’re ones which couldn’t possibly be confused for anything else.

Enjoy your mushrooming!

That’s it for this week. I’ll be back with more reviews of things you might adore next Sunday.
In the meantime, I wish you a great week. Keep safe, everyone.

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