Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Breaker Blocks Review


Quick Look:


Info:

Designer: Jake Vander Ende
Artist: Jake Vander Ende
Publisher: Spriteborne
Year Published: 2015
No. of Players: 2
Ages: None Listed
Playing Time: 10-30 minutes
Find more info on BoardGameGeek.com
I’m a sucker for strategy games! If you could mix the challenge of chess, with the depth of Stratego, the learning curve of Checkers and a game time of UNO, you’d have this great little game.

Breaker Blocks is a two-player game where each player tries to feed the most power to the most circuits by the end of the game. The game consists of a starting tile with three circuit locations. Each circuit has at least one spot that each player can feed with power. One player has two feeder spot on circuit one and the other player has two feeder spots on circuit 3.

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Starting tile with three circuits. The goal is to control at least two of them at the end of the game.

There are three sets of tiles that can be played into these slots. The first two sets are identical sets of the numbers 0-3. One player draws from the orange player tiles and one player draws from the blue player tiles. The numbers on these tiles represents the amount of power that gets supplied to the circuit that they get placed in. A third set of black tiles can be drawn from by either player and include action tiles that have special effects on the game, Be careful with the tiles you choose though because they can close off your circuits from being played on further (the 3 point tiles have no spots where the circuit can be continued.

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The different tile types in the game. The players each use their own colors to draw from and the black tiles are neutral and can be drawn or played by either player.

On a player’s turn, they can make two actions from the following three options: 1. Draw a tile from your own numbered tiles or the neutral draw pool; 2. Play a tile from your hand onto the circuit board (and take it’s action if it is an action tile); 3. Rearrange a tile that is on the end of the circuit (no tiles plugged into it) on one of your circuits. You cannot draw a tile and play it in the same turn, and you can make two of the same options on your turn (for example you can draw two tiles).

Each player starts with their two 0 tiles. And play begins with the first player making two actions and then the other player making two actions and so on. On the black tiles are 7 different actions which affect game play. Anything from drawing extra tiles, rearranging your opponents circuit, destroying tiles already played and so on. Some of these tiles (the ones with 4 arrows pointing in) are authenticate tiles which have no immediate action, but when two are played the game is over.

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Early in the game, the orange and blue players have played zeros on circuit three and orange has played a 0 on circuit one. Each player has several tiles in their hand. Notice that the zero tiles have three spots to plug other tiles into while the one has two spots and the two only has 1.
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In this game orange is feeding circuit I with 2 powers, circuit II is tied 2-2 and orange controls circuit III 2-1. If the game were to end now, orange would win 2 circuits to 0.

Review:

Rules and Setup:
The rules are good and it is a quick game to learn. We all felt like a reference card with the meaning of the action tiles would be helpful, but they were all memorized very quickly.

Setup was easy. Sort the tiles, place the starting tile on the board and begin playing. Clean up is pretty easy too, as there is a bag to hold all of the tiles.

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There’s the whole game.

Theme and Mechanics:
The theme is supposed to be electrical circuits, but any electrician will tell you that electricity doesn’t work this way. But if it did, electricity would make the most sense here.

The game mechanics are easy to grasp. The fun of various input locations on the different tiles keep you thinking about your setup.

Game Play:
Game play was easy, but the strategy is deep. All tiles are face up the whole game. There is no luck component whatsoever which is good when it leaves enough variables to make the game good. The game played quickly lasting in the range of 10-30 minutes listed by the designer.

No age was listed but I would say an 8 year old could play it (better if they are competing with a matching skill set, but playable and enjoyable).

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This game has ended (see the two authenticate tiles). Circuit I goes to orange 5-2 (notice blue got cut off), Circuit II goes to blue 9-2 and Circuit III and the game, goes to orange 5-1

Artwork and Components:
Artwork isn’t really anything. The one thing I would mention about this game is the presentation of the tiles. The tiles are SO glossy that it is hard to read them at certain angles under lights. I would also say that the symbols for actions are a little cryptic as to what the action actually is.

The tiles are thick and sturdy and just great. I think they would hold up to even my family playing with them consistently. They are pretty high quality!

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What’s in the bag.

The Good:
Probably my favorite game this year. Great depth with ease to learn rules. I’m always looking for two player games that have something more, and this one hit the spot.

The Bad:
The only negative at all (and it is picky) are the couple of items I talked about regarding the printing on the tiles and the reference card.

Final Thoughts:
I’m a sucker for Breaker Blocks. It has already found a spot on my shelf and will live there a long time. Go pick this one up for yourself if you love a good two player strategy game.

Players Who Like:
Easier than chess, deeper than checkers, best two player game I have played in a long time.

I am giving Breaker Blocks 9.5 out of 10 super meeples.

9.5 10

Check out Breaker Blocks on:

        

About the Author:

Dave Merrell is a Professional Structural Engineer who specializes in Zip Lines and Challenge Courses. When he’s not swinging in the trees (or sharpening his pencil) he’s playing games, most often with some or all of his 5 kids. Dave lives in beautiful Flagstaff, Arizona.

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