List Price: $29.99
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(Worth 2,699 Funagain Points!)
from 5 customer reviews
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Take turns placing pieces on the board. You can gobble up your opponent's smaller pieces. The first player to line up 4 pieces in a row wins!
Don't play this game with really smart people or 10-year-olds! Otherwise, you'll have a great time.
This is one of those few 'just one more' games that will keep you and your family taking turns trying to best one another. And even if you lose, it's a blast thinking through this multi-dimensional tic-tac-toe on steroids.
Beautifully-produced wooden pieces/board/storage box only adds to the appeal. Fun for all ages, but no matter how sound your strategy, a 10-year-old always seems to be holding the killer piece.
This is a clever twist to the tic-tac-toe theme. Three sizes of pieces nest inside each other, so you can move to an empty space, or cover a smaller piece (your own or you opponant's). As the game moves on, you'll need to remember what you're covering, as moving one piece will reveal another. It's trickier than it sounds, and makes for a game more challanging and memory-intensive than you'd expect. Do follow the 'you touched it, you have to move it' rule though.
After my review of the Out of the Box game CoverUp, I was deluged by comments and emails that pointed me to Gobblet (Blue-Orange Games, 2001 – Thierry Denoual), a game that was remarkably similar. Some even went as far as to say that CoverUp was a clear copy of the original game – something I’m not certain of, or even really care about. I actually received a copy of both games within a short time frame of each other; and after a few plays, immediately enjoyed CoverUp more.
However, having played Gobblet more than a dozen times since, I find that it is growing on me to become one of my treasured short but tactical abstract games. With extremely high production standards and a quick playing time Gobblet takes the idea of Tic-Tac-Toe, adds a bit of memory to it and produces a fascinating game that I can play time and time again.
A board that consists of a four by four grid is placed on the table,
and each player takes twelve gobblets in four sizes – placed in three
stacks with the largest covering the next largest, etc. One player is
chosen to go first, and then play alternates between the players. On
a player’s turn, they may
- choose one of their gobblets from the TOP of one of their stacks, placing it on any empty space.
- move one of their gobblets on the board to any other empty space.
- move one of their gobblets on the board to gobble a smaller gobblet of either color on the board.
- choose one of their gobblets from the TOP of one of their stacks to “gobble” a smaller gobblet on the board – however this may only be done if the opponent has three gobblets in a row.
Gameplay continues until one player gets four of their gobblets in a row – at which point they win the game. When a player touches a piece on the board, they MUST move it, because ofttimes they will reveal a piece – perhaps a piece from the other player underneath. If a player uncovers an opponent’s piece that gives them four in a row, their opponent will win unless the player can place the touched piece in another spot to stop the row of four. Draws are also possible if players do three identical moves in a row.
Some comments on the game…
1.) Components: Gobblet is a real work of art, coming in a wooden box with a lid that is actually the game board. The gobblets themselves are “white” and “black” according to the rules, although in reality it’s different shades of wood color. The gobblets easily fit around each other – with the smallest simply being a cylinder of wood. The entire setup looks really good and would make a nice coffee table display. All the pieces are quite large and easy to handle.
2.) Rules: The rules come on a single large sheet in two-toned color, quickly and easily explaining the game. There are examples and illustrations, as well as notes on play to cover all situations. The game is extremely easy to teach – anyone who’s played any kind of “x-in-a-row” type games will have no problem at all. The only rule that is slightly unusual is the ability to “gobble” a gobblet when the opponent has three in a row. This happens rarely, however, as most wins are accomplished by a player placing one of the two middle spots.
3.) Memory: The game heavily relies on a player remembering which gobblets they have covered up with their pieces. This seems easy at first, but pieces are moved around quite a bit, and the penalty for forgetting is often the game. Some people might object to this element in the game; and I can understand that it might detract from the experience, although I found it great fun. Many times I’ve been in a position where the opponent has three in a row, and I need to block with a piece on the board; but I can’t remember what is under each of my pieces. This creates a neat tension that would be annoying in a long game, but thrilling in a short one.
4.) Time: One of the best features of Gobblet is how quickly it plays. Players can knock off a game in about ten minutes – longer if they agonize over their choices, shorter if a player makes a foolish move. Still, a quick game nonetheless – it’s always nice to have an abstract game that can be explained and played within fifteen minutes.
5.) Fun Factor and Strategy: For me, the enjoyable aspect of the game is the variety of moves a player has even within the confines of the sixteen spaces of the game. Because gobblets can cover each other up, players have more strategic moves than they might suspect – even covering up your own piece is a neat idea, if uncovering it later on in a game can surprise your opponent. Quick, fast gameplay, memory elements and more combine to make this a very enjoyable experience.
6.) CoverUp: I have to compare the two games, since they are awfully similar. At first, I was prepared to say that CoverUp was the better game, since it had more restricted movement and a large board. But Gobblet has a better level of tension (not to mention nicer components). I’m not sure that it’s worth owning both of them, although I could live with either one. But in the final decision I’d have to go with Gobblet, even though the price point is certainly higher.
Gobblet is a nice looking game, with short, simple gameplay that masks a decent amount of strategy. Tic-Tac-Toe this is not, as players who come in flippantly will find themselves decimated by a careful, wiser opponent. Some people may not like the memory element – and indeed, if you don’t you should probably steer away – but for those who like a game that really meets the requirements of “a minute to learn, a lifetime to master”, then this one certainly meets the requirements.
“Real men play board games”
NOTE: This review was first published in Knucklebones magazine
Truth be told, Gobblet is a game that I normally would bypass as I am not normally a fan of abstract games. However, I am very happy to have discovered this fast-paced, challenging gem from Blue Orange Games.
Gobblet is a 2-player, abstract strategy game wherein players attempt to get four of their pieces in a row. The goal is nothing original, but the game itself is quite novel. Why? Well, the pieces nest together, sort of like those Russian “Babushka” dolls. When placing these pieces, players can cover smaller pieces that have previously been placed on the board. Further, they can move pieces already on the board, but this can uncover previously covered pieces. This adds an entirely new dimension to the game and makes it quite intriguing.
The first thing I should mention is the attractiveness of the components, board and case. Everything is made of wood and it is quite fetching. The wooden box doubles as the game board, and everything fits snuggly inside. It is an impressive set and is one of those games that you can leave on your coffee table as a household decoration.
The board depicts a 4x4 grid, upon which players will place their pieces. Each player receives 3 sets of nesting pieces, with each set containing four pieces. These are arranged so that with each set, players will place their pieces to the board in largest-to-smallest order. However, they do not have to place one complete set before beginning to use another set. They are free to change the set they will use on each placement.
The rules to the game are extremely simple. On his turn, a player may place one of pieces onto the board, or move one of pieces already on the board to a new location. A player is allowed to cover a previously placed piece provided the new piece is larger and fits over the other piece. That’s it. When a player manages to get four of his pieces in a row, orthogonally or diagonally, he wins. A typical game can be played in 5 – 10 minutes.
As mentioned, the ability to cover (“gobble”, in game parlance!) other pieces, as well as uncover them when moving a piece, is what gives the game its novel appeal. Players must properly manage their off-board pieces to make sure they have some larger pieces available to cover their opponent’s pieces and thereby halt threatening situations. Of course, moving a previously placed piece is not without its dangers, as it will uncover a “gobbled” piece. As such, it is important to remember which pieces may be hidden.
No doubt, the game is simple and the goal is similar to that of other games. Couple these factors with my usual aversion to abstract games, and the result of this combination should be an unsatisfactory experience. Much to my surprise, however, I really enjoy the game. I find it truly challenging, and enjoy the thinking involved in managing my pieces and attempting to achieve victory. Bolstering my opinion is the short duration of a typical game: 5 – 10 minutes. The combination gives me that “one more game” reaction each time I play. That’s a very, very good indication that a game is fun and addicting … and Gobblet is just that.