Wednesday, October 04, 2006


The best games that use real-time action, dexterity and/or physical interaction with the game or other players as a primary mechanic...
Also nominated:
For comparison, the top 5 games from 2002:



Blogger mark aka pastor guy said...

First... you may have never heard of Spinball. It's the creation of Aaron Weissblum - and I'm not sure he's making more of them. There are always tables set up at the Gathering of Friends - and if I had the extra cash to pony up, I'd own one of them.

Spinball, btw, is a dexterity game involving a ping pong ball & a shooting device with a rubber tip that imparts amazing backspin to the ball.


As I'm a fan of these kind of games, I feel compelled to mention a few that didn't make the nominations list:

- Jungle Speed (aka Arriba) is great fun... kind of like Spoons crossed with Set
- Nacht der Magier was just released this last year... I fully expect this glow-in-the-dark pushing game to be on the nominations list next time around
- Eiertanz (Egg Dance) is splendid fun... and, as one of the Apple Pickers noted, is not as much a game as it is a full-contact sport
- Light Speed is possibly the niftiest real time game out there... it actually takes longer to score the game than it does to play it!
- Akaba uses a air puffer to move pieces around the board... an idea so good that a 2nd game using the same mechanism (The Black Pirate) was published this year.

7:18 AM  
Blogger dave said...

Where's the Zopp love?

9:16 AM  
Blogger Kevin_Whitmore said...

In the past I have been a big fan of these skill & action games. But as I have watched one friend of mine struggle with his diabetes, and lose the ability to fully feel with his hands; and another friend who has "shaky hands", I have played fewer and fewer of these games. Consequently I have pared back on how many of this type of game I feel I must have in my collection.

For me the best of this lot is Crokinole. One huge benefit of this game is that you MUST remain seated to play. The game is also equal parts dexterity and strategy. I own and enjoy Carabande and Bamboleo; and both are fun spectacles. But both demand people to stand, which becomes more of an issue as my fellow game players age.

9:18 AM  
Blogger Chris Farrell said...

I'm intruiged by the fact that there were *7* finalists. What does that mean? A narrower spread implying that no game really got decisive support?

Dexterity games are always going to be a bit more subjective, but still it seems like an odd mix. Kapitan Wackelpudding and Loopin' Louie are both kids' games that are going to have exceptionally limited replay value for most adults, I think. When I saw that such an overwhelming number of pickers were Gathering of Friends attendees, I knew that was going to mean something, and Loopin' Louie is certainly something you see played a lot at the Gathering and nowhere else, at least not by people over 8. Sorry guys.

For me personally, I prefer dexterity games that I can sit down and feel like I'm playing competantly; I don't want to have to feel like I'm working at it just to play. So Spinball, Piratenbillard - no; Crokinole, Carabande, yes.

Personally, I think that Villa Paletti and Bausack/Bandu should have easily made the finalist list, dropping Kapitan Wackelpudding, Loopin' Louie, and Spinball, all of which can be fun (well, maybe not Wackelpudding) but seem to me to have a pretty narrow niche.

Mark, I realize in retrospect that you should have asked us for our preference among Carabande, Pitchcar, and Pitchcar Mini!

10:34 AM  
Blogger Shannon Appelcline said...

I've generally never understood the interest in dexterity games. If I wanted this sort of thing, I'd engage in a full-fledged physical recreation, be it Tennis, Ping Pong, or Dance! Dance! Revolution.

11:37 AM  
Anonymous Franz-Benno Delonge said...

Hello you guys,
obviously you do not know FUBI, a kind of soccer-billard. You could check the BGG for that - or simply believe me if I say that it beats almost anything similar.
But among your nominees, I agree with your choice.

12:20 PM  
Blogger daveva said...

In response to the FUBI comment, I've played it and like it, but can't afford it and therefore didn't nominate it.

In response to the "sit down to play" comment about Carabande, I'm not sure that's possible, at least not the way we play it here with parts of three sets together in 1 giant layout.

Kaptian Wackelpudding works with adults, and not just at the Gathering of Friends. However, I am not sure about Loopin' Louie's appeal, even though it did well in voting here, I don't think all that much of it.

Put me down as another gamer who would love to own a Spinball game.

1:19 PM  
Blogger Chris Farrell said...

Shannon -

Some of these games (Crokinole, Via Paletti, Carabande, Bausack, Polarity) do have nice "gamerly" stategic bits to them, so they do fill a niche between boardgames and genuine physical activity. Bausack Noir even has an auction.

I have to say that being a native Clevelander, there are times of year in many parts of the country where mother nature apparently is actively trying to kill you. In that case at least, staying in for a dexterity game is more appealing :)

1:31 PM  
Blogger Shannon Appelcline said...

Ah, I suppose that might just be my Californian bias showing then.

2:03 PM  
Anonymous David Brain said...

I think that Loopin' Louie definitely deserves a place here, but with the caveat that it is very much a "convention" game: you need both a reasonably sized crowd of onlookers, and plenty of other people to annoy with all the raucousness.

3:41 PM  
Blogger huzonfirst said...

Nothing really to complain about here. Crokinole was an absolute must and it finished on top as expected, while the other finalists also make sense.

Note to those without Loopin' Louie love: Even I, who miss most Dex savings throws, enjoy this game and have certainly seen it on game nights other than the Gathering. It's just a lot of fun.

The one game I picked that didn't make the final list was Elchfest, probably because it isn't played that often. I include myself in that, as I haven't played it in years, but I do recall it being fun and with some real strategy.

6:55 PM  
Anonymous Dave Arnott said...

I attend the Gathering and still don't quite get the appeal of Loopin' Louie... other than what Larry said - I can see how a large group helps. Well, and that "tournament" variant that most people play.

My biggest problem with dexterity games - other than I'm not good at them (and yet, that is NOT my *biggest* problem) - is that most of them seem to have LAME GAMEPLAY, dexterity part notwithstanding.

Bamboleo, for example, is an *amazing* idea. It has terrific bits, looks way cool, and elicits those wonderful groans and squeals as the board tips in ways that just defy gravity, ratcheting up the tension... everything you want out a game like this... and yet, the actual "game" part just falls flat (no joke intended). An AMAZING disappointment.

Ditto Arbos. Ditto Villa Palatti. Ditto many others.

What’s great about Crokinole is that there’s an actual bone fide game there. Carabande doesn’t have much game guts to it, but it’s a race, so it doesn’t really need it. HamsterRolle is the one I’m always on the fence about – it’s doesn’t have great gameplay, but there’s enough there to get by. And, of course, it’s way bitchin.

And in the 15 Minutes of Fame Department: Cairo, we hardly knew ye.

1:57 AM  
Anonymous josh miller said...

Well I'm a strong supporter of four of the games that made it past the nominations. But only one of those four, Crokinole, made the final list. The others were:

A wonderful "cabin" game. Easy to learn, and guaranteed to bring lots of laughs and groans from gamers, non-gamers, kids, whomever. I use the Frank Branham scoring variant.

Once you decipher the correct rules, this fascinating game is great fun, and actually has a reasonable amount of strategy to go with the dexterity.

Beautiful and low-key game that can be played a number of different ways, some of which work better than others. Unlike many dex games, there's a real "game" here.

Gulo Gulo is also quite good as a kid's game, so I'm glad it made the list.

Villa Paletti is a fun activity, but there's no game there. Same for Bamboleo and Hamsterrolle.

Carabande and Loopin' Louie are both mildly amusing, but I would have chosen other games. I've never played Spinball, which seems to be pretty much a Gathering of Friends exclusive, and I'm not a part of that group.

9:13 AM  
Anonymous estoote langobarden said...

Loopin' Louie rocks -- and rolls, and spins and yaws and careens and highdives and yammers. It may have been popularized among American gaming hobbyists due to exposure at the Gathering, but I'd never been to the Gathering and didn't need anything but my own delight to tell me I'd gotten a terrific game once I started playing it.

"A good game should have irony."

1:00 PM  
Blogger Chris Farrell said...

Villa Paletti is a fun activity, but there's no game there. Same for Bamboleo and Hamsterrolle.

This is an odd comment and clearly wrong. There is clearly a game in Villa Paletti and Bamboleo (I haven't played Hamsterrolle), and to claim otherwise is startling. You clearly make choices about how to place/remove your pieces and what impact that might have on other players. And even if there weren't, physical skill is sufficient criterion for a game anyway - darts, for example, would be almost universally recognized as a game despite having extremely limited strategic or tactical component.

3:24 PM  
Anonymous josh miller said...

This is an odd comment and clearly wrong.

Well first of all, I meant the "no game there" rhetorically and not literally. Clearly there is some sort of game there, but it barely qualifies IMO.

Here's my BGG ratings comment for Villa Paletti:

"As a game, it's not so great. The rules are clunky and awkward, and the way that victory is determined isn't entirely convincing. But really this is not a serious game. It's more of an activity, and no one cares who wins - you just want to make sure you're not the tower-toppling loser! It makes for a decent change of pace, and would probably be a good choice for a mixed group of kids and adults."

I'm clearly not the only one who thinks this about the game. Read through the ratings comments at BGG and you'll see comment after comment about how horrible the scoring/victory rules are - even from the high raters.

8:33 PM  

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