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Review: Dobble (card game)

OFFWORLD - OTHER

Shadowlocked gets fast and furious with the fabulous Dobble...

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The best games usually turn out to be those with the simplest of concepts, and this is certainly true of Dobble. Essentially snap with a fearsome twist, the Shadowlocked board game crew (consisting myself, resident Shadowlocked photographer Deborah Cosgrove, and Tavis and Keziah Gibbs) assembled around the table prepared to do battle, not one of us willing to come anywhere but first.

Dobble consists of fifty-five circular cards, each of which has a selection of eight out of fifty possible symbols or pictures in varying sizes. The neat twist is that each of the cards has just one symbol or picture - be it a cat, car, clown, exclamation mark, spider's web, apple or any of the other options - that is also on another card. (I pity the fool, sorry, genius designer who had to think this up and decide how many cards and symbols/pictures to place on each.)

dobble cardThe game itself is played in rounds, of which there are five variations, each of which affords various scoring opportunities. The first is Got To Get Them All which starts with one card being dealt to each of the players face down and the remainder placed face up in a stack in the middle of the table. After a countdown the players turn their cards over and begin frantically searching for a match between their card and the one in the centre.

Once a pair of symbols/pictures has been spotted the player must call them out (which lead to much diversity and hilarity as we yelled out the first thing that came into our heads - “maple leaf”, “Canada symbol”, “leaf”) and grab the middle card to add to their pile.

Of course when two or more of us matched symbols simultaneously there were heated instances of cards being wrestled back and forth before somebody eventually and grudgingly yielded (thankfully the cards are very robust – perhaps as a result of equally heated play testing!) and the round rattled along at a cracking pace. Once the final card had been claimed points were awarded for the number held, with a bonus for the player with the most, and we moved on to round two.

dobble tinThis one, called The Well, was a variation on the first one, except all the cards bar one which remained face up in the middle of the play area are dealt out to the players. This time the object was to get rid off all your cards first by once again matching the symbols/pictures, calling out the match and placing your card face up on the one in the middle of the table. As with the first round, the concentration and tension as we stared intently at the cards searching for matches was intense.

The remaining three rounds were further variations on the theme, but after giving each of them a go we all decided that the first two rounds were really the only ones we needed (the rules do allow you to play as many or as few of the five options during a game) and was passed an entertaining hour or so before our brains began to melt.

Dobble is a great party game, one to break out along with a case of beer and a bottle of Captain Morgan's Spiced Rum, and passed the Shadowlocked review crew's criteria for a great game; it was fun, we laughed, it was easy to pick up and we will definitely be playing it again. Plus it packs away into a handy little tin that you can stick in your pocket and take with you to pass the time wherever time needs passing.

Manic, infuriating, frantic and fast, Dobble deserves to be in every household.

Highly recommended.

5 stars

(Thanks to Daniela at Esdevium Games for supplying our review copy.)


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