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Ramping Up the Fun: Drop Squad Review

Quick Look: Drop Squad: The Escape

Designer: N/A
Artist: N/A
Publisher: Bush League Games, LLC
Year Published: 2019
No. of Players: 2-5
Ages: 5+
Playing Time: 15-30 min.

From the publisher:

DROP SQUAD™️! takes inspiration from classic games like Pachinko, while giving players more control over the board and providing a more controllable experience that rewards skill over luck. Players can pivot ramps to help reach the goal, make use of power-ups and each character’s abilities to make a great escape. 


I received a copy of Drop Squad for the purposes of this review, but the opinions here are my own, and those of the family and friends who played with me!

Review: Drop Squad: The Escape

Drop Squad: The Escape is a giant dexterity- and physics-based board game experience where the players take on the roles of mice trying to escape a laboratory, using ramps to direct the marbles to just the right spots.

Components and Setup:
This game is BIG. As in won't-fit-on-any-of-our-shelves big! Be prepared for the experience as you slide it out of its sleeve, lift the lid, and find the giant Plinko-style board along with marbles, ramps, goals, scoring pegs, and a deck of cards.

Kids are drawn to it from the other side of the house and love the little lidded containers that hold the marbles. It's the kind of game that is almost a toy, something that kids like to fool around with and experiment on even when they're not actually playing the game.

Find a nice, wide-open spot to play the game--we usually set it up right on the floor.

Carefully add the plastic kickstands to the back of the game board so that the board will stand up at an angle.

Each player chooses a character--Cheeks, Brutus, Trixie, Roo, or Stretch--and the goal and marbles that match the character's color.

Deal each player a starting hand of cards and you're ready to play.

Gameplay and Mechanics:

Drop Squad is all about aiming the marbles into your colored goal. Take turns playing a card that will let you add or pivot the ramps to change the look of the board, then everyone gets to drop a marble and hope it lands in their goal! Score points for any marbles that land in your goal, no matter the color, so you can work to divert your opponents' marbles, too.

Each turn is broken up into two main rounds:
  • Card Play Round, where each player plays one card to add a ramp, pivot an existing ramp, or earn an extra ball to roll
  • Drop Round, where each player gets to drop a marble from anywhere along the top row (and drop an extra ball, if that was the card played)
The number of players will determine how many turns you play, and after that many turns, the player who collected the most marbles in their goal is the winner!

The super-sized instruction book gives some clear examples about fair and unfair placement--you can't place a ramp directly over another player's goal, for example. Within the bounds of fair placement, though, it's up to you to get creative to figure out how to angle the most marbles toward your goal.

The Good:
Drop Squad: The Escape is an eye-catching game from its oversized box to its adorable, colorful, modern mice characters. The feeling of releasing a marble to watch it bounce and veer its way down the ramp is so satisfying that it draws in players from all over the building who are eager to take a turn.

As a gameschooling mom, I appreciate the opportunity here for young minds to put their hands on a little practical physics! It's a great way to learn about cause and effect, gravity, and inertia. The fact that the graphics and giant size make it extra appealing to kids means it's a game that gets requested over and over again at our gameschooling get-togethers.

The Bad:
It's big.

Did I mention it's big? Too big for our shelves and too bulky to slide behind the chair, my biggest problem with Drop Squad is where to store it or how to take it to game days!

In addition, I'd love to see an extra set of cards (and maybe even pieces?) that could add a little more strategy for older players, because they love the physicality of the game, too, and I'd like to ramp it up to keep it engaging for them!

Players Who Like:
Drop Squad: The Escape is good for families who enjoy games with a physical aspect, from Mouse Trap to Newton's Apples to Crokinole. It is very similar to the Cranium game Bumparena (another family favorite here), but much bigger!

Final Thoughts:
The only reason I would hesitate to make Drop Squad a permanent part of our collection is because of its sheer size. It is absolutely a crowd-pleaser, especially with my friends from 4-14, and I get frequent requests to bring it to gatherings. There's something particularly enjoyable about the sensation of slotting ramps into the board or releasing a marble to watch it carom down the slope! For families or groups with enough storage space, Drop Squad hits all the right notes.

Check out Drop Squad: The Escape on:


Alexa Chaplin- Reviewer

My name is Alexa: I'm a life-long game player and homeschooling mom to two awesome kids. I've loved board games since my early days playing Scrabble and Gin Rummy with my grandmother, and life only got more interesting when I married a Battletech enthusiast and fellow game lover. We've played games with our kids since they were small, and I helped start a thriving homeschool co-op where we have weekly sessions of board games with kids.  In a family with kids raised on Catan and Pandemic, life is sure to be fun! You may run into me on Twitter, BoardGameGeek, and other social media as MamaGames. Be sure to say hi!

See Alexa's reviews HERE.
Ramping Up the Fun: Drop Squad Review Ramping Up the Fun: Drop Squad Review Reviewed by MamaGames - Alexa C. on March 18, 2020 Rating: 5

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