Just because a game company is small doesn’t mean that they don’t make great games. Sometimes a small publisher comes along with a terrific new game. When I first saw Grandpa Beck at The New York Toy Fair back in February, I could see he was a nice guy. What I wasn’t sure about was if his games were any good. After playing a few hands, I could see his card game Grandpa Beck’s Golf was a hit.
The first thing you need to know is that you don’t need to know anything about the game of golf to play. In fact, besides the wonderful artwork from Shawn MacGregor, the only thing related to golf is the fact that lowest score wins.
You start out by dealing each player 9 cards, face down. These are placed in a 3 by 3 grid in front of the player. Each player then flips any two of their cards face up to start the game. The remaining cards form a draw pile. The top card from the deck is turned up and forms the discard pile.
On your turn you have several choices of actions to improve you hand. You choose either a card from the draw pile or the discard pile. If you pick from the draw pile and don’t like the card, you may discard it and end your turn. However, if you pick a card from the discard pile you must use it to replace one of the 9 cards in front of you. You can choose to replace either a face up or face down card. The card you replace gets discarded. If it was face down and turned out to be a better card you’re out of luck. New cards played are always played faced up.
Grandpa Beck added one neat wrinkle into the game. If you get 3 cards in a row that are the same, you can remove the set of 3 completely. The set of 3 can be either vertical or horizontal, but not on a diagonal. This is a great way to lower your score in a big way and remember, just like real golf, it’s low score that wins. Of course, once you remove a row it will be more difficult to remove another one. If you remove a horizontal row then you will no longer have 3 cards in a row vertically. However, you could still remove another horizontal row. The benefit of removing a row will probably outweigh the loss of opportunity most of the time.
The end game occurs when a player has all of their cards face up. At that point, everyone else gets 1 more turn. Then all face down cards are turned face up for scoring. You get a -5 point bonus for having eliminated a row and a -5 point bonus for being the first player to expose all of their cards.
Grandpa Beck added another neat wrinkle to the bonus scoring. You only get the -5 bonus for being the first player to expose all of their cards if you have the lowest score. Otherwise, you get a +10 penalty. So you better make sure you have the lowest score before you try and end the game.
As an added bonus, the game includes one of Grandma Beck’s recipes. I’m not going to say what the recipe is, just that it looks like a great snack to munch on while you’re playing. You’ll have to buy the game to find out more.
Playing time is about 20-25 minutes and I’d rate it as suitable for ages 7 and up.
To get a copy visit Grandpa Beck.