Got’em is a game where you attempt to trap your opponents pawn using walls, while trying to keep your pawn alive. The game has two styles of play, one of which is very strategic, and the other has a bit more luck. I found the two different styles of play to be an interesting idea for appealing to two different demographics of players. And how they accomplished this felt natural, rather then very “after the fact” and “forced” like in some games.
The game starts out with four pawns on their predetermined spaces on the board, denoted with a white dot. Each player has a hand of three cards, these cards say things like “place a wall on a red square, then you may move up to two squares”. You pick one of these cards from your hand and play it into the discard pile, following what the card says. Then you draw back up to a hand of three cards. That’s it for the easy version of the game. It’s very straight forward but can still have a fair amount of strategy, as you scamper around the board trying not to be trapped.
The harder version of the game is very similar, however, it requires you to flip the board over. Instead of all the colored squares, this side is all white. The cards can go back into the box, they are not needed for this style of play. This time, you may play your wall on any square you like. Movement however is slightly more complicated. You may move your pawn a number of spaces equal to the number of walls that surround it at the beginning of your turn. So if you have a wall to the left of your pawn, and a wall to the back of your pawn, your pawn may move two squares this turn.
I do have two major complaints about this game, one about the components and one about the multiplayer game play.
First, the components. The walls in this game are a pain to make stay on the board. Essentially the walls are nothing more then thin strips of white plastic that have been cut to the appropriate length. As a player, you need only wedge this strip of plastic into it’s snug little groove on the board. But have you ever experienced trying to “wedge” something into a small hole as being easy? Of course not, and I haven’t either. Trying to get the walls in the proper spot on the board, without accidentally taking out half the board was trying. All of my players struggled with this, which takes some joy away from the game.
My second complaint is really a plea for mercy for whoever goes last. It becomes extremely easy to gang up on the fourth player, and they have very little recourse. My group of players can be pretty competitive and thus when they see a weak link in someones’ defenses, it’s like piranhas smelling blood in the water. On average our fourth player only got two to three turns before they were toast. This seems like a design flaw, but maybe this game just doesn’t play best with this many people.
Despite these two complaints, my players and I enjoyed this game. It’s simple, but thought invoking, and is a short game, which makes it a nice little filler. It’s hard to find filler games that have some meat to them, because meat usually takes time, but this game did a pretty good job of accomplishing this.
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