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Second Chance Review

Quick Look:

Designer: Uwe Rosenberg
Artist: Max Prentis
Publisher: Stronghold Games
Year Published: 2019
No. of Players: 1-6
Ages: 8+
Playing Time: 15 minutes

Find more info on BoardGameGeek.com

Second chance is a light puzzle game from Uwe Rosenberg (Patchwork, Caverna). The goal is to shade in more spaces on your grid than any other player. Each round, you have two shapes to choose from. If you can't use either one, you get to draw one more card that only you can use (i.e., a second chance). If you still can't add it to your grid without overlapping or going off the board, you are eliminated. Whoever has the least unshaded squares at the end wins.

Rules and Setup:
To set up, shuffle the starting deck and deal each player one card (left stack). These have a different back for easy identification.

Put the 3 reference cards somewhere everyone can see them. Give each player one sheet from the pad and something to draw with. Shuffle the main deck. Done!

The rules are short and precise. You can teach this in under a minute.

Theme and Mechanics:
There isn't a theme. You color in shapes and try to fill in as many squares as possible before being eliminated. Your starting card will show a shape that must be added to your grid with one of its squares being the center. Starting shapes are large and a bit awkward, so it gives you something to have to work around.

Each following turn, someone will draw two cards and place them face-up by the deck. All players will then shade in one the shapes on blank spaces in their grid. Everyone goes at the same time and chooses from the same two cards. Players who can't add one of the shapes without overlapping or going outside of the grid get to draw one more card that only they can use. If they still can't use it, they are eliminated, but that doesn't mean they lose. When the last player is eliminated, whoever has the fewest uncolored spaces wins. The first eliminated player writes a 1 on one of their blank spaces. That player wins in a tie.

The first few rounds your grid is wide open. You can add shapes anywhere. Shapes can be turned or mirrored. There are 34 different shapes, hence the reference cards.

If you don't have a photographic memory, you might want to grab some cubes from another game to use as markers. It's a good idea to use different shade patterns or colors for each shape. It looks better and keeps everyone honest.

After eight to ten rounds, your decisions will become more difficult. Everyone is usually eliminated within two rounds of the first elimination. There's not a whole lot you can do to plan ahead. It's less a strategy game than a relaxing way to fill time.

Artwork and Components:
The cards and pad are of good quality. Pencils are not included. There's not much in the way of artwork. It's simple and attractive.

The Good:
  • Quick to teach and play.
  • No downtime.
  • No break down after the game. Just toss the cards back in the box.
  • This is a great gateway game for little kids who love to color.
  • The reference cards have mirrored shapes on the other side.
  • This comes with a bonus mini-expansion for Cottage Garden.
  • It's easy to squeeze in when people start talking about heading home.

The Bad:
  • Winning boils down to luck and common sense.
  • The pad will eventually run out of sheets.
  • There's not a lot to it.
  • The colors of the shapes on the reference cards don't mean anything, and it makes it harder to find the one you're looking for.

Final Thoughts:
There have been a lot of Tetris variants over the years. There's nothing new here except for its extreme simplicity. Aside from that, this is pretty enjoyable. My wife loves it because she gets to color. She even described it as elegant. I'm lukewarm, but light games aren't really my thing. I think this would be a perfect game for teaching little kids structure. They can learn to color inside the lines and that rules can be fun in some contexts.

For Players Who Like:
Tetris, puzzles, coloring, and quick games.

Check out Second Chance on:


Stephen Gulik - Reviewer

Stephen Gulik is a trans-dimensional cockroach, doomsday prophet, author, and editor at sausage-press.com. When he’s not manipulating energy fields to alter the space-time continuum, he’s playing or designing board games. He has four cats and drinks too much coffee.

See Stephen's reviews HERE.
Second Chance Review Second Chance Review Reviewed by S T Gulik on September 03, 2019 Rating: 5

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