Play Time: 20 – 40 minutes
Publisher: Self Published
Designer: Games by a Madman or Two
by Antoinette Mason
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This review was made on the basis of a preview copy. The game you see on Kickstarter may differ from the one shown and discussed here. Check out the Kickstarter page at https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/amadmanortwo/1672518571?ref=425677&token=49be0179 or follow the campaign on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/events/496111350850750/
SPLAT!!!! will be live on Kickstarter from Tuesday, September 4th. If you’d like to see it in person Games by a Madman or Two will be at Gateway Con 2018 in LA. The Con runs from August 31st to September 3rd and SPLAT!!! will be on show from Friday to Sunday at the IGA demo table, with 2 hours on Friday and Saturday and 3 hours on Sunday.
Theme and Objective
SPLAT!!! sets you and your friends up as a loveable band of neighbourhood children, the Patterson Kids, playing a game of paintball. The aim of the game is to smother everyone else in paint while escaping being fully covered yourself. Or you can win if you manage to get four of the same colours in a line. Once you’re covered in paint however you’re out of the game.
To give you an idea of the size, shape and fantastic colours of the box!
Table Real Estate
Because the majority of the components are cards this game takes up very little space on the table. The little player mats prevent lots of little paintball tokens from winding up all over the place.
Number of Players
Since this game is very much a large fight the more players you have the better the game feels. At two player it became more tactical where we focused on the alternate win condition of creating lines of colours.
For me the artwork on the box and cards might be a little divisive, I think you’ll love it or hate it. It’s very reminiscent of Codename: Kids Next Door. Everything is very colourful and bright, which I love, and all of the colour tokens you use will be colour blind friendly.
All of the rules for the game come on a tiny little card which means it’s easy to pick up and play.
Game Type/ Similar Games
SPLAT!!! is entirely a take that game with a side of bingo. It reminds me of Guillotine from Hasbro games which is also a set collection game with take that elements.
How to Win
The key to success in this game is your management of the cleaner cards. The deck has cards that place paint on your opponents and yourself and also some which remove paint. They can be used on yourself, helping to erase certain colours on your sheet and move lines of colours together. Or they can be used to stop your opponents from doing the same thing.
Game Mechanics/ Turn Order
You want to focus on hand management and on what your opponents are doing on their turns. On a turn, each player starts with four cards in their hands. You play one and replace it each turn. There are no cards to counteract others actions, meaning that between your turns you’ve no control over what happens to you.
Initially, I had assumed that SPLAT!!! was just going to be a free for all of handing out paint tokens. I was pleasantly surprised by the alternative win condition, it adds a purpose and a direction to all of your actions. My group found ourselves being careful with the colours we dished out and coordinating our battle strategies against the more painted players. It leads to much banter and alliances and really elevated the game. Playing with two players became all about the colour matching, helping SPLAT!!! transition well to smaller player counts.
Clearly this game is aimed at families and children and I can see it being a firm favourite with both. The take that element with family members should create interesting gameplay while keeping the game complex enough to keep the adults interested. Yet I wouldn’t limit this game to that bracket, especially if you enjoy these style of games.
Player elimination, while necessary for the theme and victory conditions, does mean there can be a lot of down and out time for players. In particular, in larger games which take longer to play, you can have people waiting some time for the game to finish. This feature of the game also allows for much bullying of players, whereby everyone can focus on one person and eliminate them from the game. There is no means to counteract or deflect these types of assaults leaving players like sitting ducks between turns.
Another issue I had was with the character cards. You take on a role as one of the Patterson Kids at the start of the game, which doesn’t affect gameplay. The text on the cards lists the children’s favourite colours, food and tells you a little about them. They appear to have been written by these children themselves, from the way they’re oddly worded. I enjoyed the first two facts but the little pieces about themselves come across as odd. Having spoken about this with the game’s designer he took my concerns on board and changed some of the cards. I look forward to seeing what type of changes he implements and am appreciative of the fact that he was eager to take my considerations into account and improve the game.