Game Review: Gobblestones

When this post goes up, we will be happily gaming away at Gamicon. If you read this before the 28th, come join us at the Sheraton Hotel in Iowa City!

This year we received a ton of games for our Play-To-Win effort. I would really love to play all of them, but don’t have enough time. We did, however, get to play Gobblestones. Check it out…

R&R Games, 2015

Gobblestones is a simple, abstract tile placing game. You are playing a hungry goblin who is trying to eat up the most gemstones.

The board consists of 9 square double sided tiles. There are 25 small colored, numbered squares on each side of each tile. The board is made by placing the tiles in a 3×3 grid which will make a total playing surface of 225 colored, numbered squares.

The playing pieces consist of 100 colored surface tiles that are placed into a bag and drawn randomly. The object is to play a straight line of tiles and score the values of the squares on which the tiles were played. You can’t make a 2×2 block of tiles, and can’t turn corners, but otherwise can play as many or few tiles as you want as long as they are all on the same straight line. The more tiles you play, the fewer you draw, so you need to balance your play so you can always make some type of play.

Gobblestones is very easy to learn, but isn’t by any means a “simple” game. Trying to achieve the highest score with your tiles, while managing to keep enough to keep constant play can be a delicate balance. Trying to make a good score without leaving great plays for your opponents can also be quite tricky. Because each tile is two sided, and the game board configuration has lots of different play possibilites, giving the game a good amount of replayability. There are several different possible strategies and an intriguing amount of possibilities for each play.

We did have some difficulties because the tiles have a mirror-like surface, and with our lighting and surroundings, sometimes the colors were difficult to differentiate (gold reflecting a red sweater looks remarkably like the red tiles). There wasn’t any consideration to color blindness either. A simple pattern on each color tile would have easily taken care of this. There are also gray squares which aren’t mentioned in the rules. After playing, we figured out online that the gray squares are wild, but are 0 points.

Overall, this is a quick, light, fun strategy game. I very much enjoyed it and recommend it to fans of games like blokus.