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The Meeple Guild: Fun rolling blocks for the win

Be the first player to successfully remove all of your blocks off the board and you win.
Trevor Lyons makes a move in Deblockle.

YORKTON - If you want to draw my attention in terms of a board game, create an abstract strategy game and make the production edition out of wood.

The combination really is the sweet spot of gaming for me – I am like a honey bee drawn to sweet clover with such games.

So, when I initially saw Deblockle online I was interested.

Getting it in the mail some time later I liked it component-wise right out of the box.

All right, I would have opted for classic black and white pieces rather than the OK blue/green and the bit garish gold, but the colours suffice.

It helps that the pieces – which you may have guessed by the name are blocks – are big and chunky, so they are aesthetically pleasing to move around the board – also made of wood.

But let’s get back to the start here.

According to the publisher website ( Deblockle is a casual strategy game of tips and turns for two players.

Players take turns tipping their blocks into adjacent squares and then moving them across the board – veteran abstract strategy fans will be reminded of the 1975 release Duell by designer Geoffrey Hayes (a better game by the way). Here pieces are moved according to the symbol rolled to the top – each having a different move pattern.

You are trying to manoeuvre your blocks into a position so that on a subsequent turn you can tip the block into a specific ‘goal’ square with the star symbol on top, allowing you to take the piece off the board.

Be the first player to successfully remove all of your blocks off the board and you win.

The game begins by rolling your opponent’s blocks to determine which symbols will start face-up. Once rolled, you place your opponent’s blocks in the spaces diagonal from their home star. You may place the blocks in any space and orientation that you wish as long as the symbols you tipped remain face-up.  

Initially, this all seemed more about making it all fair, but as the initial game played out it became clear initial placement in Deblockle is rather important because it determines how you must approach the ‘goal’ to be in a position to tip that all important star to the top.

Now no one will suggest Deblockle is going to challenge Go or Chess in the realm of abstract strategy games, but designer Joshua Sellers has come up with what I would term a fine ‘pub’ game.

The rules are easy and straight forward, with game play quick, but not without having to think where you need to get to, and how best to make that happen.

A solid, if not outstanding game, that I’d never say no to seeing on the table for a game or two.