So often with American games these days, we must make a choice between quality components and quality games. Happily the folks at Blue Orange Games understand we don’t want to make that choice and produce a line of games that combine quality of game play with quality of components.
The first thing I noticed was the very high quality components. A solid wooden box, with a slide out lid the doubles as the game board, the form factor is just 9 ½ inches square and 2 inches thick, making it very easy to find shelf space for. The game pieces are very solid wooden pieces large enough for little hands. The rules are a short 1 page.
The object of the game is simple, place four of your gobblets in a row. The wrinkle is the 4 different sized gobblets are sized such that they fit inside of each other allowing players to Gobble up another piece. Like so many good abstract strategy games, gobblet is short on rules and long on strategy.
The game is played on a 4×4 board and each player gets 12 gobblets, 3 of each of the 4 different sizes.
On your turn you can choose one of 4 possible actions:
1)Put a new gobblet on the board
2)Move a gobblet already in play to any empty space
3)”Gobble up” any smaller sized gobblet with a gobblet already in play.
4)If your opponent already has 3 in a row, you can “gobble up” one of those pieces with a large sized gobblet that is not in play yet.
When moving pieces on the board, you only move the top piece, so the gobblet inside it will remain, possibly creating a four in a row. It’s important to remember what’s been gobbled up. If you touch a gobblet you must move that piece, so no changing your mind.
If you think this is just a 4×4 tic-tac-toe, think again. Gobblet offers a rich degree of strategy, making it suitable for a wide range of ages.
The game box says ages 7 and up and I think that’s a very reasonable age range. Blue Orange also makes a Gobblet Jr, which uses a 3×3 board with the same basic game play.
The instructions are clearly written and very well illustrated.
Blue Orange has bright yellow, easy to see “Choking Hazard” warning box which is more prominent then most of their competitors. However like so many game manufacturers they place it on the back panel of the packing, contrary to CPSC guidelines which call for it on the front of the package.
I’d rate this a terrific game for children 7-10 . It’s easy to teach and helps with motor skills, memory and critical thinking. The large game pieces will be easy for children to manipulate and are durable enough to handle the sometimes rough play from children.