Toc Toc Toc!
AKA: Knock! Knock!
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In this game you want to have the best Halloween party in the neighborhood. Of course your guest selection is the most important thing, as the organizer, to think about. You must make sure that only the most prestigious guests attend, while ensuring that the unwanted ones go to your opponents. Don't be fooled, everybody wants to get into the party. You need to be smart and send the bad ones to the other parties. It will not matter anyway, they take anybody.
Players: 3 - 6
Time: 10 - 20 minutes
Ages: 12 and up
Est. time to learn: 5-10 minutes
Weight: 106 grams
Language Requirements: Game components are language-independent. Manufacturer's rules are printed in English. This is an international edition or domestic edition of an imported item.
Average Rating: 3 in 1 review
Bruno Faidutti is one of my favorite designers, so even though I heard that Knock! Knock! (Jolly Roger Games, 2004 -- Bruno Faidutti and Gwenael Bouquin) was mostly a bluffing / children's game, I was interested in trying it out. And, I must admit, I'm always on the lookout for fun games to play with kids -- bluffing or no.
Knock! Knock! IS a simplistic game, and it is best for children. The game is basically a one trick pony with the same thing happening again and again and again. Fortunately, the game lasts only about twenty minutes, before it gets tiresome; and each time I've played it, it seems that the game ends exactly before all the players get bored with it. Adults, while finding the bluffing idea interesting, find the game tedious, but teenagers and kids have had a blast when I taught it to them. As a small game that can be easily taught and played in a quick amount of time, Knock! Knock! qualifies as a "teen filler."
Up to five players can play, and each player is dealt two random cards which they place face-up in front of themselves. These cards are either ghosts, monsters (Frankenstein), or vampires. All the rest of the cards are shuffled into one deck, which is placed in the middle of the table, after which each player is dealt a hand of five cards. One player is chosen to go first, and then play proceeds clockwise around the table.
On a player's turn, they simply choose a card from their hand, slide it face-down across the table towards another player, and say "knock, knock". The player they are offering the card to has a choice; they can "open the door" (accept the card) or say "go away" (refusing the card.) If they accept the card, it is flipped over, with its effects applied to them. Refusing the card returns the card to the sender, who flips it over and applies its effects to themselves. The different types of cards are...
- Ghosts, Monsters, or Vampires: These cards are simply added to the player's stack of that type of creature. They are worth one point at the end of the game.
- Rocker: There is one rocker of each of the three type of guests (ghosts, monsters or vampires). When added to a party, they double the value of that type of guest at the end of the game, making them worth two points each.
- Vamp: There are five vamps of each monster type. They steal a guest of their monster type from the party they attend (if there is one), giving it to the other player. Vamps can affect rockers and bouncers.
- Nerd: The nerd causes the guests of the most numerous type to leave the party and go to the other person's party.
- Grim Reaper: The Grim Reaper causes the guests of the most numerous type to die. They are discarded and everyone weeps for them a little.
- Headless Horseman: He is a normal guest but is worth three points at the end of the game.
- Bouncer: There are two bouncers of each guest type. When placed with a group, they protect that group from Nerds and Grim Reapers.
The game continues until the last card is drawn from the deck. At this point, players continue to play the cards from their hands; and when the last card has been played, the game ends. Final scores are then tallied. Each player gets one point for all normal guests (two if they have a rocker of that type), and three for each headless horseman. The player with the most points is the winner.
Some comments on the game...
- Components: I wasn't a huge fan of the tiny box the cards (which are normal sized) came in. It's easy to carry around but is very prone to damage -- my box looks like it's been through the war, and I've only carried it around to gaming events. The cards themselves are of decent quality, and the artwork on the cards makes the monsters look like a bunch of "hip" teenage monsters. Most of the cards have icons in the top corners so that you can tell what they do, or what monster group they are part of, but I thought that the well-drawn artwork on the cards worked just as well. Five blank cards are included with the game for players to make their own cards with. I won't use them (I'm satisfied with the game "as is") but some might like the expandability factor. The game comes in a small package, and therefore carries an inexpensive price.
- Rules: The rules are printed on a single sheet of paper which is folded up to fit into the small box. It's adequate and explains the rules well. I've found the game easy to teach, as people easily understand the offering another player a card mechanic. Once players know what the rocker, bouncer, Grim Reaper, and nerd do, the game goes incredibly quickly. Knock! Knock! is an example of an excellent theme, as it's very intuitive what each card does -- obviously the Grim Reaper causes death, etc. All that I've taught the game to have picked it up rather quickly.
- Bluffing: I'm really bad at bluffing games; and so when someone offers me a card, I usually have no clue whether it's a good card or bad one. Yet I find the choice fun. The only bit of strategy I've found is that once a player has amassed a decent amount of points, refusing every card offered to them is a smart move. Yes, that means you won't gain some extra points, but you won't lose the ones you have. This still doesn't protect a player totally, because you may have bad cards in your hand, and other players will then refuse those cards, hurting you. In short, there is practically no strategy in the game, it's all about bluffing the other players.
- Fun Factor: Teenagers and kids (even my five-year-old) really enjoyed the game for what it was. They had a lot of fun, and enjoyed bluffing each other, something some of them were surprisingly good at. The designers did a good job when they created the game, because just as I can sense that my kids are starting to tire of the game, it ends. Players don't often ask for a repeat of Knock! Knock!, but they enjoyed the game when it was being played. It's fun, but not repeatable fun.
There's not much else I can say about Knock! Knock! -- it's a simple little bluffing game that is mediocre for adults but fairly fun for children. It makes a great game to play in between more thought-provoking games and is simple to play and teach. Knock! Knock! won't get played every week at my gaming club, but it will get played, because the kids will remember the funny game and occasionally request it. For a game of this size, that's not a bad thing.
"Real men play board games."