Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Got’Em!: A meaty little filler game.   

Got’em is a game where you attempt to trap your opponents pawn using walls, while trying to keep your pawn alive.   The game has two styles of play, one of which is very strategic, and the other has a bit more luck.  I found the two different styles of play to be an interesting idea for appealing to two different demographics of players.  And how they accomplished this felt natural, rather then very “after the fact” and “forced” like in some games.

The game starts out with four pawns on their predetermined spaces on the board, denoted with a white dot.  Each player has a hand of three cards, these cards say things like “place a wall on a red square, then you may move up to two squares”.   You pick one of these cards from your hand and play it into the discard pile, following what the card says.  Then you draw back up to a hand of three cards.  That’s it for the easy version of the game.  It’s very straight forward but can still have a fair amount of strategy, as you scamper around the board trying not to be trapped.
The harder version of the game is very similar, however, it requires you to flip the board over.  Instead of all the colored squares, this side is all white.  The cards can go back into the box, they are not needed for this style of play.  This time, you may play your wall on any square you like.  Movement however is slightly more complicated.  You may move your pawn a number of spaces equal to the number of walls that surround it at the beginning of your turn.  So if you have a wall to the left of your pawn, and a wall to the back of your pawn, your pawn may move two squares this turn.
I do have two major complaints about this game, one about the components and one about the multiplayer game play.
First, the components.  The walls in this game are a pain to make stay on the board.  Essentially the walls are nothing more then thin strips of white plastic that have been cut to the appropriate length.  As a player, you need only wedge this strip of plastic into it’s snug little groove on the board.  But have you ever experienced trying to “wedge” something into a small hole as being easy?  Of course not, and I haven’t either.  Trying to get the walls in the proper spot on the board, without accidentally taking out half the board was trying.  All of my players struggled with this, which takes some joy away from the game.
My second complaint is really a plea for mercy for whoever goes last.  It becomes extremely easy to gang up on the fourth player, and they have very little recourse.  My group of players can be pretty competitive and thus when they see a weak link in someones’ defenses, it’s like piranhas smelling blood in the water.  On average our fourth player only got two to three turns before they were toast.  This seems like a design flaw, but maybe this game just doesn’t play best with this many people.
Despite these two complaints, my players and I enjoyed this game.  It’s simple, but thought invoking, and is a short game, which makes it a nice little filler.  It’s hard to find filler games that have some meat to them, because meat usually takes time, but this game did a pretty good job of accomplishing this.

One Response to “Got’Em!: A meaty little filler game.”

The following is a message from the designer of Got’em. I thought that the information conveyed here would be of interest to our readers. Enjoy!
Thank you for doing the review! We are excited that you like the game : ) I would like to Address you concerns you do have… the first and foremost in my mind is the 4th player complaint. In reading your review, on the “Brainy Side of Got’Em!” the movement rule is not be relayed correctly and if you played the way you outlined the rule, the 4th player may be at a disadvantage.
In the review, the movement rule is explained as
“You may move your pawn a number of spaces equal to the number of walls that surround it at the beginning of your turn.”
The rule actually reads:
“A pawn my move 1 square plus a number of squares equal to the number of walls on the square it occupies.”
If the game was played as written in the review each player is playing at a disadvantage as the “Number of walls plus 1 rule” greatly helps in negating the piranha issue. Also, in the first round of gameplay, no pawn can end the round with more than a single wall on it. Between the 2 rules, the game plays very balanced for 2-4 players : )
On the “Bright side of Got’Em” the issue is addressed in the cards by allowing players to “Move through walls” or “Remove walls” from the board. It is true that this is a luck of the draw, but the odds are reasonable (1:8) w/o destroying the “skill factor” in the game.
Regardless of which game players choose, it’s very important that they understand the need to always occupy a space that has a number available slots equal to the number of players… and that’s the real challenge to Got’Em!
As far as the insertion of walls into the board, we tried extremely hard to get that right. We had versions that the walls were loser in the board… they fell out much more often and made the game almost unplayable. Providing a snug fit (assuming the wall is completely seated in the slot) prevents walls, for the most part, from being knocked down. I do agree though, if you have larger hands like I do, it can be challenging to get the wall to seat properly.
Thanks again : )
Ray Wehrs
Calliope Games
I hope this sheds some more light on the game for everyone!

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