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Cock Block Kickstarter Preview


Quick Look:

Designer: Thierry Demers
Artist: Etienne Legault Surprenant
Publisher: Kevin’s Got A Gun!
Year Published: 2018
No. of Players: 2-4
Ages: 13+
Playing Time: 15 minutes

Find more info on BoardGameGeek.com

WARNING: This is a preview of Cock Block. All components and rules are prototype and subject to change. Reviewer’s Note: In an effort to avoid having the website flagged by any Internet filtering software, I will henceforth be referring to the above titled game as simply “Block”.


Review:

Rules and Setup:
Cock Block is a hand-management, bluffing, capture and deliver game where players assume the role of one of four roosters vying for the attention of one of four chicks. Players progress to the end of the board to meet a chick. Once a chick is wooed, the player must return back down the board and out of the barn with the chick. First player to leave the barn with a chick wins.

Play begins with the players from one of four rooster cards: Lil-Wing, Kentucky Rogers (homages to Lil Wayne and Kenny Rogers, respectively), Superdouche Trent Cooper, and Eggy Silverspoon. Each character has a special skill that allows them to increase their movement speed when paired with certain cards, and help them with wooing one of the four chicks. The player meeples are placed outside of the barn at the bottom of the board. The four chicks are placed at the top of the board in the “friend zone”. Each player is dealt seven cards and the remaining cards are placed beside the as a draw pile. The cards can be categorized as move, attack, and defense.

Playable characters L-R: Eggy Silverspoon, Lil-Wing, Superdouche Trent Cooper, and Kentucky Rogers. Final artwork subject to change.
Move: Players use their cards to determine the number of spaces they can move (forward or side-to-side). Skill cards, the most prominent in the 110-card deck, require a pair of identical cards to move one space, unless the skill card matches the skill of the player’s character. In this instance only one card is necessary for movement. Players may also use a wild card to complete pair. The “Get 2 Drinks” and “Got Bread?” cards can be played by themselves for one or two-space movements, respectively, with the latter allowing players to jump over other players or block tokens. Additional movement cards, “The Rumor” and “Moment of Glory” allow a player to move an opponent’s meeple back two spaces, and play 3 actions, respectively.

If playing as Kentucky Rogers, player only needs one "Best Joke Ever" card to move one space, rather than requiring a pair. Final artwork subject to change. 
Attack: There are three different attack cards (blocks) that can used to block an opponent’s progress. When a block is played, the player places the corresponding block token on the board. Block tokens must be jumped, circumvented, or countered by a defense card. Another attack card, “Drank 2 Much”, is given directly to an opponent. The recipient will not be able to play either the “Get 2 Drinks” or “Got Bread?” cards until the defensive “Corn Pills” card is played.

Attack cards players can use to place block tokens on the board. Final artwork subject to change.
Defense: For each block card, there is a corresponding counter block card that can be played as soon as a block card is placed in that players column on the board. Playing a counter defense card allows the player to move the block token one space in any direction so long as the space isn’t occupied by a player. Special defense (Legendary) cards can be played to move all of the corresponding block tokens, and the aforementioned “Corn Pills” card can be played immediately to counteract the “Drank 2 Much” card. The final defense card, “Tomahawk God” removes all block tokens from the board.

Defensive counters to help off-set a block. Final artwork subject to change.
Theme:
The theme of the game revolves primarily around the game’s title, with players attempting to woo a chick in a barn and have her leave with the player, while their opponents are trying to impede their progress with various blocks. The theme is prevalent throughout the game. Block cards and tokens, action commands in the rules, and other cards include further innuendos and puns that one would expected from a game with this title.

The chick tokens. Players must woo a chick token at the top of the board in the "Friend Zone" and lead her out of the barn. Final artwork subject to change.
Game Play:
The game is accurately marketed as a quick, 15 minute filler. Of the times I played, we only exceeded this time frame once. Once familiar, play moves quickly as each player has only two actions per turn. These actions may include any two of the following actions detailed above (move, attack, defend, and/or discard), with the one exception being that if a player chooses to discard twice, they can discard up to three cards and draw three new cards from the draw pile. Movement can be forward or side-to-side, and players may move off the side of the board to warp to the other side of the board on the same row.

If a player moves onto a space with another player, a fight ensues with the victor being determined by one of two ways – Cool People Fight, and Geek Fight. Cool People Fights are settled using the two sets of included dice. The first player to score two hits wins. Geeks Fights are decided by each player placing up to four cards from there hand to score the highest total. The points of each card are determined by the cards rarity in the game with points ranging one to five. Based on the rules, we could not determine which fight happens when, and as we played, we allowed the fight type decision to be the instigators.

Artwork and Components:

The above-average artwork primarily consists of cartoonish, anthropomorphized chickens appropriate for the game and theme. The 118 total cards are standard size, and the text is large and easy to read. The cards and tokens also include icons for matching so that players with color-blindness do not have to rely on color matching to determine pairs. However, if a player is involved in a “Geek Fight” the points are determined by the rarity of the card’s color type, which may potentially inhibit their ability to play the best hand. The game board is small, yet big enough to comfortably fit all meeples and tokens, and sturdy enough for frequent play.

Final artwork subject to change.

The Good:
There are two big things that stood out to me during game play. First, I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of strategy packed into a small package. Despite the sophomoric theme, Cock Block is surprisingly strategic, requiring players to not only manage their hands, but consider how to impede the movement of their opponents, while also considering how the block tokens may restrict their own movements later. Players can quickly trap opponents with block tokens, but in the process, block themselves on the return trip down the board. The game requires a foresight and strategy that most filler games lack. The bluffing mechanic was used more than I would have guessed. The more I played, the more I viewed it as a quick strategy game, rather than simply a filler to pass the time between heavier games. In the case of Cock Block, the mechanic is the star, rather than the theme. More on that in a bit.

The other thing that stood out was the rule book. Though the game is simple, the rule book - with the exception of the which type of fight do you choose to resolve players on the same space - did a great job of outlining the actions, providing illustrated examples of the moves. The rules made this game quick to learn, quick to teach, and thus quick to play.

Rule book with examples of game play. Final artwork subject to change.
I do think that the game offers plenty of replay value, and given the right audience, could become a regular filler. 

The Bad
:
My game group is a mixed group of men and women, and this game, based solely on the theme, was received by the women with eye-rolls at best, and one abstaining from play at the worst. Though this game could fall under the “dark humor” category, there may be women at your table that live out this game in real life when they simply want a night out with their friends. One female player went on to state that, “being on the other side of this behavior doesn’t make it any less annoying or creepy.”

Only you know the dynamics of your group and whether this theme would go over well or not, but you should still be mindful that what some may find humorous, may be met with disdain from others that are all too frequently on the receiving end of this games theme in real life.

"Why are the material possessions valued higher than a sense of humor? I know which I value more and it's not a guy's ability to get me drunk." - Female play tester. Final artwork subject to change.

That being said, after a few plays and an overall consensus from the players that the mechanics were solid, we were able to bring everyone back to the table by simply downplaying the theme as much as we could, avoiding an action command that required players to say the name of the game prior to placing a block token on the board. Everyone played and enjoyed the mechanics, but the game is not independent of its theme.

Final Thoughts
:
Attempting to tone down certain thematic elements worked and I’m afraid that is Cock Block in a nutshell - great mechanics hidden behind a “meh” theme. The game is easy to learn and easy to teach, yet allows for a great deal more strategy than one would expect. I would suggest to not judge a book by its cover, or in this case, a game by its theme, but the theme is so interwoven into the game play that it’s hard to ignore if you wanted to do so. That being said, I know that there is a market for this type of game as validated by the success of certain white-text-on-black-cards-type games, and the influx of “after dark” variants. To be clear, this game does not contain profanity, sexual imagery, or things that would give it a "R" rating had it been a movie.

However, the main mechanic is still capture and deliver. This mechanic, paired with the theme of getting a female out of a bar is not going to be for everyone. But if it is you or your groups genre of choice, Cock Block may find a place in your collection that keeps to that genre while adding more strategy than the others.

Final, final thought - as a father of a daughter, the thought of anyone viewing her as just a prize that must be collected and delivered back to their home makes my skin crawl to say the least. As the father of a son, I would never want to give him the impression that women are for his taking and leisure. I know that this game is about chickens and not people, but one must consider the type of behavior and mindsets that are being reinforced if playing with a younger audience.

Players Who Like
: (Thematically) Cards Against Humanity, “After Dark” variants, (Mechanically) Loot N' Run, Deep Sea Adventure, Dark is the Night.


I am giving 5.5 out of 10 super meeples.


Check out Cock Block on:

https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/237585/cock-block    https://www.facebook.com/KevinsGotAGun/   https://www.instagram.com/kevinsgotagun/?hl=en   

On KICKSTARTER between now and December 22, 2017

About the Author:
Nick is a compliance consultant by day, a board gamer at night, and a husband and father always. When he is not bringing a game to the table, he is running (most often to or from his kids) or watching the New York Yankees.
Cock Block Kickstarter Preview Cock Block Kickstarter Preview Reviewed by Nicholas Shipley on November 28, 2017 Rating: 5

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