Base Game Review
Play Time (Box): 15mins
Play Time (Goof): 5mins
Designer/s: Denis Blanchot, Guillaume Gille-Naves, & Igor Polouchine
We had an unexpected hit at Boarding School last night. Of the dozens of games we brought, I never expected the game which would capture the most attention would come in something the size of a shoe polish tin.
Spot It! (the exclamation mark is important) is one of those games it’s easy to dismiss at first. Kind of like Dutch Blitz. At most, Spot It! looks a bit like a young kids game. But what I’ve seen is groups of adults sitting around tables yelling in excitement and come close to flipping tables in frustration.
Let me explain.
I don’t want to scare anyone away, but yes. Spot It! is in fact a party game. When it comes to party games, there’s a few things I really need in order to enjoy it.
Firstly, I’m not opposed to being silly (I have a whole website with pictures of me where I couldn’t be bothered doing my hair – see feature image as an example) but when your rules force you to be silly it ends up being less “fun” and more “embarrassing”. Spot It! doesn’t have this issue. Although the game doesn’t force you to be silly, you’ll find your brain replaces simple words like “igloo” with “Eskimo” (actual example). In the heat of the moment, when everyone is trying super hard to locate which symbols match, simple mistakes like this send groups into hysterics.
Secondly, your game still has to be a game. There are tons of party games out there where there is no strategy or skill involved. And while this may be okay for one or two laughs, I guarantee it won’t hold interest past the first few initial plays. Spot It! reminds me of those ‘I Spy’ books I had when I was growing up. Except even better because this adds excitement and friends.
Thirdly, don’t outstay your welcome. I’ve found some party games, hell, even Cards Against Humanity, are no longer fun or enjoyable after you hit the one hour mark. Spot It! has absolutely nailed this issue. The rules contain five mini games which take about five minutes tops to play, and each a variant on the core mechanic. What this accomplishes is fast, fresh, and alternating gameplay. And it’s the sort of thing you will come back to playing again and again.
Spot It! is a themeless game. I’ve talked in the past about reviewing theme in a themeless game. It goes a little something like this: “just because a game doesn’t have a theme, doesn’t mean the designers weren’t aiming to elicit a particular emotion or concept.” (So since my explanation here was 25 words or less do I win a prize?)
In Spot It! I think it’s safe to say the concept they had in mind was matching symbols in a variety of different mini game styles. I mean, I’m only guessing here because it’s literally printed on the box the tin came in, the tin itself, and the rulebook (call me Sherlock Holmes). The objective is to be fast. Which leads to intensity, excitement, and a barrel of laughs.
When I was first introduced to Spot It! by my friend Josh over at Tabletop Wonderland, it was actually by a different name: Dobble. They’ve made a few changes since its initial iteration. The cards are smaller, and some of the artwork has changed.
The cards themselves are okay. I’m pretty sure they downgraded on the quality a little between editions to be honest. But when you’re looking at a game for about $20, so long as they’re not made of paper I think you’re doing okay. I mean I’ve already played the game like ten times so we’re looking at $2 a play here (check out this Goof’s Guide on the Lifespan of a Game), but I’ve paid more and got less enjoyment from things than this (I’m sure there’s a dirty joke in there somewhere. If you think of one leave it in the comments!).
On the topic of the cards being smaller, I’m actually really glad this is the case. There’s a mini game where you hold a card each in the palm of your hand while you look to see what symbols match. With the slightly larger cards, players were either inadvertently crushing the edges or the cards were falling out of players’ hands.
I really don’t like one of the changes which was made between the versions. Some of the symbols have been replaced with words such as “stop”, “no”, “art” and so on. Where I think this is a negative is in the fact the human brain has an easier time reading the words in front of it then it does labeling words to symbols. In a game such as Spot It! those few seconds really do make an important difference.
Side note on the artwork: each card only matches each other card in the game in one way. There are 55 cards in the game… as someone who has designed a few draft games for a bit of fun I can tell you, an impressive amount of effort has gone into this.
I am about to say something here I’m convinced will break the internet (that’s right Kim, come at me) – Spot It! comes in a tin… and I love it. Seriously, I’ve been trying to imagine if it came in a cardboard box and all I can picture is how battered and damaged it would end up. I mean you can carry this damn thing around in your pocket! (I know because I did last night at Boarding School). So durability, and the fact the lid of this tin doesn’t seem to fall off like every other one I own makes it a plus. (I can already feel my friend Lachlan teasing me about this one).
One of the reasons I chose to do Spot It! for today’s review is my fascination with its success last night. I mean, we had games such as Pandemic, Thunder and Lightning, Lanterns, King of Tokyo, Burgle Bros., and others such as Formula D, Sheriff of Nottingham, and Castle Panic. These games have all seen some level of success at Boarding School. But Tabletop Wonderland who came along for the night sold out of all their copies before half the night was through. If those figures don’t speak volumes about how much fun Spot It! is, I don’t know what will.
I think Spot It!’s success is due to how accessible it is, how fast and fun it is, and how appealing it is to people from all ages and gaming backgrounds.
I give Spot It!:
Can’t recommend this one enough. Especially for families or as a filler. It really hits the spot (self-high five).
I got my copy through Tabletop Wonderland
Tabletop Wonderland are offering readers of The Goof Review a 10% discount off of your first month to their subscription service! Just use the code GOOFREVIEW10
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