Game Designer: Sam-goo, Evan Song
Playing Time: 20 minutes
Suggested Retail Price: $30
Slip slidin’ away
Just in time to take you through the last waves of summer heat, comes Slide Blast from FoxMind. With the temps running fairly equivalent to the eastern edge of Mount Doom here in Texas, a cool water park theme is a welcome respite.
This game takes me back to those long gone days of my youth, when my friends and I spent hours riding bikes, before taking a refreshing cool down on my neighbors Slip ‘n Slide. Then it was back on our bikes, to chase down the street after the Good Humor truck, good times!
Even though the body’s not up for those boisterous days gone by, I can at least revisit them vicariously with an entertaining tilt through a few rounds of Slide Blast! Slide Blast is a very simple tile laying game, with your goal being to build the longest water slide possible. You accomplish this through smart tile placement to advance your journey, while also trying to get your opponents to assist you where you can. Once every tile has been placed on the table, the game ends and scoring takes place.
Everyone starts the game with one tile in their hand, and during each turn draws a second tile, then plays one from their hand. Place your tile, move your meeple, it’s that simple. Each tile offers a variety of options on how it can be placed, from turns to straightaways and fast drop-offs.
While you generally move one tile at a time, placing a high-speed section allows you to place an extra tile and advance immediately. Get a few of these over the course of the game and you will definitely be ahead of the competition, because the stack is limited. Along the way you may be able to add in attraction tiles. These large, thick tiles add a little pizzazz to the layout, while also expanding the avenues of travel for everyone’s slides. .
There is no confrontation in this game, so you can’t send your pals on an infinite loop, nor back to the starting spot. This is where things can get a little interesting, because you can influence how others set their slide tracks as you move closer to them. Infringe on their space a little and force them to go another direction, and in so doing, they may move you further ahead on your path.
It’s always fun to mess with your friends, but it does cut both ways. Since you gain the advantage of moving further, they also pick up a bonus token for helping you move. The more bonus tokens sets earned, the more points gained in the end game scoring. So, you could in effect, be helping them to win. It does add a slight strategic aspect to the game, making you plan a little more with what you have.
Now you’re thinking, “But Moe, what happens if I don’t have a tile that works if force into a tight spot?” That’s a great question, with a simple answer. Since you can’t go through them or around them, you’ll have to go under them. Discarding a tile from your hand lets you use the Lifeguard tiles, so you can continue through to another section of the board. It doesn’t score you extra points but it’s a neat way to make sure no one is ever out of play, or stuck in one place.
Once all of the tiles in the pile are gone, everyone places their last tiles and then scores their trip from the start tile. Add in any bonus tokens earned and determine the winner! Games generally run from 10-15 minutes, depending on player count and pace of play. It’s a fun little game to wind the night down with, or to play with your family.
The game scales well from 2-6 players, with a different feel at each. At two players, there are more tiles for everyone to play, allowing for some incredibly long slides. As the player count increases, the available tiles for each dwindles, as does the board size. With a full count of six, the routes tend to be much more congested and interesting, as players are trying to ride the outlets of other player tiles.
Slides to the finish
As the dog days of summer come to a finish, Slide Blast lets you extend your vacation time and enjoy it year round. It’s a great family game, and I’ve found it an equally enjoyable simple filler with seasoned gamers as well. The random tile pulls give you something new each turn, and with small children teaches them some basic reasoning skills. As is the case in tile laying games with random draws, luck plays a big part in how the route progresses. However, with no real negative effects, I didn’t find it bothersome.
With no adversarial actions in the mix, there are no concerns for gamers who shy away from direct conflict. No one is ever stuck in a position where they cannot continue or are out of play, keeping everyone engaged and having fun. The game flows quickly, with no downtime or AP because it is not a deep game.
This game reminded me in ways of Roller Coaster Tycoon, albeit much lighter, and sans the bathroom and concession stand worries. It’s a fast-playing game that is very family friendly and above all, just plain fun. Another wonderful addition to the FoxMind catalog.
FoxMind will be at Gen Con this week, so if you’re going, stop by and get a demo of the game!
Company Website: http://www.foxmind.com/
Company Twitter: https://twitter.com/FoxMind
Note: A copy of this game was provided to me for this review.