09 November 2012

Get Your Flick On - Crokinole Review

This is what our board looks like
Ever since I started doing searches on Board Game Geek (BGG) and listening to gaming podcast, I kept hearing about this game called Crokinole. First, what an odd name for a game. Second, the fact that it was game made completely of wood, that people would display as a trophy on their walls intrigued me. Then, I saw that these things start at $150--I was bummed. There was no way I was dropping that kind of cash on a game that I have never played before, and then where would I put it? I guess that is why people hang them on the wall. Either way, it was a pipe dream for me.

Then, it became a pipe dream for us (Mrs. Games with Two and I). Back in May, we attended our local convention (Geekway to the West), and had an opportunity to give Crokinole a try. We were both immediately hooked. Mrs. GwT was saying we have to get this game, but then I told her the price and she was sad. Luckily, we were able to obtain a board quicker than expected. Through the sale of some of our games in an auction, we made enough money to purchase the board at a cost of about $10 out of pocket. This made us happy. So, what is Crokinole? He is the rundown.


Overview
Some boards have beautiful artwork - Death Star Crokinole
Crokinole is a game for 2 or 4 players (you can play with 3 but it's difficult). It is a dexterity game that takes about 30 minutes to play. The designer for the game is uncredited on BGG, but it is believed the game was originally designed in Canada in the 1860s. I like to think of Crokinole is tabletop shuffleboard or curling. The board is a circular piece of wood with a hole bored out in the center. There are a series of three circles that go out from the center and get progressively larger. The first circle is surrounded by a series of pegs, but the two outer circles are pegless. The circle also split into four equal quadrants (think 4 pie slices). If you are playing with 2 each player gets 12 disc to try to shoot into the center hole. While a four player game consist of 2 teams with each player receiving 6 disc. Players then alternate turns attempting to get their disc into the center hole or as close as possible. You opponent(s) must then try to knock your disc away from the center or off the board. This goes back and forth until all the discs have been shot (shooting is done by flicking your disc from the line that is furthest back [the last circle]), and then the score is tallied. Players receive 20 points for each disc they shot into the whole, 15 points for the smallest circles, then 10, and then 5 respectively. You then take each teams score and subtract the lower score and the difference is the higher team's score for the round. You continue in this manner, until a team scores 100 points.

Note: This is a very basic rule breakdown. There are some differing rules based on region, and house rules. And since the game has been around for a 150 years, there are plenty of variations.


Review
Components
This is a beautiful Hilinski Board
The components of this game are hard to breakdown because every board is different. The game is public domain so everyone is making different boards with different wood, specs, etc. Personally, we purchased a Mayday Games edition of the game. All I can say is that our board works well, and it functions for our purposes of in home use. There has been a lot of complaints about these boards and how Mayday has handled them, so I would use caution, if this is the route you choose to go. Our board has some slight scuff marks on it, but they are under the finish, so they don't effect the play of the game. Other than that, our board is fine. If you are just wanting something to play on, I would say that Mayday is the best option. However, if you want a board that looks nice, and plays nice you will have to go with a different company or build one yourself.

The only other real problem component wise with this game is the price, and this is an universal issue. These boards are not cheap at all. You can get a used antique one online for about $100, but then you don't know what you are getting. Mayday has also had some sales on theirs, but I believe they are the reject boards. So, you really have to watch with these. I think the cheapest option would be to build it yourself, but then you need a good wood worker and the proper tools to make it. It's just sad that the cost of these is so high.

Game Play
The game play for Crokinole is amazing. We received our copy at the end of July and I think we have already played this game over 20 times. It is just a blast. It is very easy to learn, and then the back and forth just makes you want more. Our only problem is that sometimes we get too into the game. Mrs. GwT has threatened to "flip the game", but then she realizes how heavy and expensive it is. If you like dexterity games, I just don't think there is a better option out there.

The only problem with dexterity games, and this is usually a universal problem with them, is that they are a skill game, I would say 90% skill 10% luck. So, if you are significantly better than someone else, you will consistently beat them to the point where they may not want to play with you anymore. So be careful. If you are playing teams, try to even out the skill levels. If you are playing one-on-one, you may not want to crush your opponent into submission, as they may never want to play with you again. Just something to keep in mind.

How is it with Two?
Well, we love it with two. There isn't any thinking involved in the game, expect where you want to shoot your disc. This makes it really easy to break out and play after a long day, where your brain is just turned to mush. So with two kids and work this one comes out early and often (the kids like to get it out and flick discs around too). I really think that we have been getting our money's worth out of this one.

Crokinole has made it into several of our Top 10 lists. It is really one of our favorite games, and I don't see it leaving anytime soon. There is just something about flicking disc that gets the adrenaline flowing. I know it's not for everyone, but it is for us. If you think you may enjoy this one, but you are afraid of dropping the money before you buy it, or you just don't have the money for it; I would recommend you try Sorry! Sliders, it is an option that gives you a similar feel, without the $150+ price tag.

If I didn't answer all your questions about Crokinole, or you just want to see what other's are saying. I Slay the Dragon has a review of Crokinole, and Board Games Reviews by Josh has also taken a look at the dexterity genius that is Crokinole

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