Growing up, I had small set of Lincoln Logs. Enough to make a small cabin or a tall, skinny watchtower. I’m sure I tried many of the suggested structures, but the resultant building was only a step in a process. You see, I wasn’t all that interested in the structure per se, because I knew that whatever architectural masterpiece I created would be situated at the terminal end of plastic race track that curved up a flight of stairs where the other end was held in place by a few volumes of Collier’s encyclopedia. Within the bumpers of this track, a heavy red fire engine perched at the edge of the stairs awaiting only a nudge from my sister to send it hurtling toward a satisfyingly violent collision with whatever I had been able to construct at the other end.
Construction toys are never more fun than when you blast them apart, a fact that is wonderfully exploited by Gamewright’s Knock Your Blocks Off.
In short, each player builds a wall to hold up a crown. Once the walls are built, players try to knock off their opponents’ crowns. You score points for successfully knocking off a crown or when an opponent FAILS to knock off your crown.
I could stop right there and the game would be pretty sweet. Matter of fact, that would define a large percentage of my childhood games. Knock Your Blocks Off gives each player 6 blocks of wood for the wall, one block of wood for the crown, and a special DESTRUCTION DIE! The DESTRUCTION DIE (I just like writing it in all caps…) is the weapon each player uses against the other walls and it tells you how you will attack the walls. When it is your turn to attack, roll the DESTRUCTION DIE and check the result: Boulder = flick the die at the wall; Ogre = underhand toss; Dragon = Drop the die from a great height.
Did I mention the special powers?
Oh yeah. I thought that might get the attention of the nine year old boy in you. There are six kinds of walls you can build and each has a special power. The Fort is immune to Boulders. The Gate gives you bonus points for a successful attack. I won’t reveal more, but suffice it to say that the strategy of wall construction runs much deeper than “My wall is strong!!”
Much much deeper. The first to finish building their wall gets to grab the DESTRUCTION DIE. So speed is of the essence. BUT WAIT THERE’S MORE!! Each block is painted so that only certain edges can match up. When you build your wall, the edges of the blocks must match correctly or you don’t get your special power.
To recap: you need strength, you need speed, you need smarts, and you need strategery.
I could generally muster two of those four attributes which probably explains why I lost as much as I did; however the game rekindled that sense of glee I had with my tube of Lincoln Logs and my red Hot Wheels fire engine. The game is fast and easy to learn. The rules (in English and Spanish) fit on a slim accordion fold booklet.
Build it and break it. It’s Major Fun with seven blocks of wood and a colorful die. What more could you want?
2 – 4 players. Ages 8+
Knock Your Blocks Off by Rebekah Bissell. © 2011 Gamewright.