Open Seat Previews: Tumble Town

Disclaimer: This preview is from a prototype copy of the game that was provided by Weird Giraffe Games to Open Seat Gaming, but opinions are our own based on several plays of the game.

Game: Tumble Town
Publisher: Weird Giraffe Games
Design: Kevin Russ
Art: Katy GriersonKatie KhauKevin Russ

Mechanisms: Pattern building, Dice rolling, Set collection
Number of Players: 1 – 4
Game Time: 45 minutes

Description: In Tumble Town, players compete to make Tumble Town into the best possible town, and the winner will get to stake their claim as mayor! Players begin with a set of dice based on player order, and receive a random Horse (with an end-game scoring goal on the back that is secret from other players), Storehouse, and pair of Main Street cards.

The game is played over rounds, with each player taking a turn consisting of the following 4 phases:

  1. Claim – First, the player chooses an available building card and adds it to their play area. They are then eligible to build that building on this or a later turn.
  2. Take Dice – The player then takes the dice shown on the back of the next card on the pile in the row from which they took their building in phase 1. This is always 3 dice, but the colors available to be taken vary based on tier (there are 3 tiers of buildings). Anytime dice are obtained, they are immediately rolled.
  3. Construct – The player can now take the dice they have available (from this and previous turns) and attempt to construct buildings from their supply of available cards (if they have enough dice, multiple buildings can be built in the same turn). Their Horse card and some building cards (once built) provide once-per-turn powers that can help modify, re-roll, or otherwise adjust dice to allow the player to match their building patterns and requirements. Buildings can be built with dice that don’t meet the requirements, however the player must take a -2 VP token each time a die doesn’t match properly. Constructed building cards are placed in a separate area in front of the player and will score points (and contribute to other scoring) at the end of the game. Some buildings have one-time bonuses when built, and others have end-game scoring bonuses.
  4. Place + Discard extra dice – Lastly, the player can choose whether or not to place their constructed building(s) along their Main Street cards, matching placement rules to score points at the end of the game. Afterwards, players must place any remaining dice on their Storehouse, which has limited spaces. Any dice that can’t be kept in the Storehouse (or buildings that add to the Storehouse space) must be returned to the supply.

Rounds continue until the end game is triggered by having 2 colors of dice with 2 or fewer dice remaining in the supply, at which point the current round is finished and then final scoring takes place. Players score points for the following:

  • Points on constructed buildings
  • End-game bonus effects on constructed buildings
  • End-game bonus effect on Horse card
  • Matching building placement requirements on Main Street
  • Negative points for each -2 VP token taken

Points are tallied and the player with the most wins!

Review: A while ago, my brother started putting together a dice stacking game, and while it was nothing like this, I thought to myself “why are there no games that have you stacking your dice?” Here’s one answer to that mechanism (Coral Islands from Alley Cat Games is another; we haven’t gotten to play our copy yet though). And let me tell you, it’s a cool game to do it with!

First off, how cute is this game? I’m usually not into the Wild West theme that much (that’s more Sarah’s cup of tea), but I love the art and how rustic the whole thing looks. The art is really well done and the graphic design makes it easy to figure out what is going on and where you need to focus.

While there is a lot of iconography, Carla (Weird Giraffe’s head giraffe) did what Carla is good at and made a pretty sharp little reference card that you can use in order to know what in the world all of those buildings are and what they are able to do, as well.

The game is quite intuitive, and the buildings feel thematic. For example, the barber shop lets you adjust your die – like you’d adjust your hair. And, you get to put them on Main Street, which then starts to look like an Old Western town that is slowly building up. If you know anything about the history of the Old West, that’s kind of how it went – they found some empty land, and started putting up a town real quickly.

I would have been worried that the “easy” and “hard” sides of one Main Street would get repetitive after a bit, or that we’d “crack” the puzzle of maximizing their point output. But, one of the stretch goals is for additional Main Street options, which will help with variability every time that you play. Variability is also assured because of all of the different types of buildings you will encounter during the game; there are lots of buildings that you can combine together to get maximum points!

One of my only issues with the game is that it goes so quickly! By the time I really start getting my whole thing together, it’s almost time for the game to be done and I need to prioritize real quickly. Granted, I also think that’s part of the game’s charm – it lets you build a little dice town in the Old West in less than 45 minutes. As with many of Weird Giraffe’s Games, if it says a time on the box, it’s actually fairly accurate.

All in all, this is a really unique title from Weird Giraffe games and designed by the same guy who designed Calico and I’m super glad that we had the opportunity to check it out. If you enjoy chucking dice and you’ve always wanted to build your own little boomtown, this game is one that you’ll want to take a better look at before the Kickstarter ends.

Kickstarter Info: If you want to get in on the Kickstarter, you want to do it quickly! It ends on March 26th at 10 PM EST. Here’s the link – it’s only $29 (plus shipping costs)!

Game On!

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