WBG Score: 8
Player Count: 2-6
Published by: Big Potato Games
Designed by: Ed Naujokas
This is a free review copy. See our review policy here.
Big Potato games are building a very strong catalogue of happiness. Every game they make hits the spot with me as they seem to build games with a simple philosophy. Fun + colour + simplicity = joy. You can check my review of some of their other games here. Block Party is the latest in the line of Big Potato releases, and it looks like this will be no exception to the joy equation. Let's get it to the table and see how it plays.
Place the scoring board into the central playing area along with all the building blocks and the challenge cards. Each player then takes a building board in their chosen colour and places one building block of the same colour onto the starting space of the scoring board. Each player is dealt one building card and given one steal token. Choose a starting player and give them the guesser token. You are now ready to play.
How To Play
The guesser now reveals the top challenge card and reads aloud the challenge and allotted time for this round. Each player then chooses one of the ten things on their building card to try and build. You can only build each thing once, so think about what may be easier for other challenges and/or time frames in later rounds. Try not to leave yourself short.
When everyone is ready, the guesser starts the timer on their phone, or any timing device, and everyone else starts building. You can only use one hand to take blocks and you can only take one block at a time. It is up to your group how tightly you police this!
When the time is up, that's it, no more building. Well, get a few more bits done whilst no one is looking, obviously. But stop as soon as people start to point and shout. Then the guesser will go around the circle, trying to identify what each person has built. If they guess correctly from one guess, both they and the builder score a point. If they don't get it right, other players can use their steal token to have a guess of their own. But you can only use this token once per round.
When everyone's construction has been guessed, the bonus point is award for that rounds challenge. You only qualify for this if your construction was correctly guessed. Players will be looking for the tallest object, or the fewest colours etc. Some work well with some objects, others less so! The guesser token moves around the table one space and the next round begins. You can play so everyone acts as the guesser at least once or to a points target or time limit. Totally up to you. We generally play for hours!!!
Is It Fun?
This game is essential pictionary using blocks. The issue with pictionary is some people are not good at drawing. Or do not enjoy doing it. Using blocks levels the field and makes the game a lot more open to more players. Now, some will still feel it is beyond them and won't be able to get their head around how they can turn a bunch of coloured cubes into a volcano, but for most, I have found the blocks makes this a much more even and approachable game across all levels of artistic skills!
It may be that some can envision things easier than others. But then, can the guesser see what they were trying as well? Probably not, as I found out. But the reduced time limit means that no one can create anything spectacular or overly complicated anyway. It is a case of trying to quickly form a clear representation of whatever it is you are building so that it can be easily guessed by the person currently acting as the guesser. This can be stressful for some. The time limits are very short in this game. But I found that with a few adjustments, this worked for most people we tried with. For example, when playing with younger kids, we always gave them an extra 20 seconds or so after everyone else finished. And for younger children guessing, we allowed them three guesses. We also gave people the chance to change their cards. However, I think the most fun comes from working your way through a card and being forced to make everything on each one.
The game has a very simple adjustment so you can play a cooperative two player version. Simply flip over the score board and place a block onto the level one space and a red block on the ten space on the lives bar. Take three steal tokens and then play through each level, trying to guess each others attempts in turn, with both players building each round. If you are successful in guessing each others attempts, simply move on. But if you get a guess wrong you lose a life. If you ever want to get a hint, play one of your steal tokens onto the hint space and then your partner can give you a one word clue. Notice that between some levels there will be bonuses to reclaim lost lives or get extra building cards.
I really enjoy the process of building in this game. But found guessing to be a little more stressful! It's funny how clear something can be in your or other peoples minds, that are just completely baffling to other people. It depends on the object, time limit, and the person as to how this works, but you can make things that look quite obvious to some, baffling to others. At times it can become quite abstract.
Take a look at the two below. These are reconstructed from a game I had recently. The top one was guessed by the guesser, but the others around the table thought it was something else.
Take a look. What do you think this is?
A fish! Of course it is. But others thought this was tumour, bolognaise, and one even thought it was a heart. I suppose I shouldn't have used red?
What about the one below? Any thoughts? This one wasn't guessed correctly by the guesser, but was by another player who used a steal token.
A Chessboard! Obviously!! Now in the game, you don't get to look at the card to see the options. I have just done this hear for illustrative purposes. You are supposed to keep your card secret. But I suppose there is an element to the fact that players could learn the cards and find it easier to guess the more they play. But there are a lot of building cards. 40 in total. However, there are only six challenge cards, so they become a little old quite quickly. A few more of those would not have gone a miss.
One final thing to praise Big potato on is their eco packaging. Zero plastic. Minimal waste. Functional design. Well done Big potato. .
I can see this game being a massive hit in our household for many years to come. It has been proudly placed alongside my other party games in the front row, ready to be played at every possible opportunity. I would recommend this game to anyone who enjoy party games and likes having the opportunity to flex their artistic muscles in games. This is a game I would play with pretty much anyone, and the games on that list are not very long. It is just so simple to teach and grasp. It works with any person, group or environment. And it is so fun to play.