Simple, but effective: Top That! board game review
Top that! is a decidedly simple game. It’s a board game wherein the objective is to stack game pieces according to instructions and be the first one to do so. The game is meant to be played by 2-4 players. Each player has five different game pieces: a top hat, a coin, a rabbit and two different barrels. One barrel is slightly larger, while the smaller one lacks a bottom.
The idea of the game is that you can pile the game pieces into different configurations, as you can hide smaller objects within larger ones. Each round starts by a player picking up a card. On each card, different objects are included. The player’s job is to stack up his or her game pieces to match that card. The pieces which are shown on the card in their normal color need to be stacked so that the stack won’t fall over. If the object is show in gray on the card, that means it must be hidden from view, which can be accomplished by placing the piece within a larger one.
Once a player accomplishes the goal of stacking up the items, he or she has to yell “tadaa!” in the Finnish version of the game. Seeing as that is the translated title as well, I assume that in the English version players yell “top that!” instead. If a player has included all the required pieces and his or her stack hasn’t fallen over, they win the card. The player who amasses the most cards wins the game.
While the premise is very simple, the game requires some logical thinking. It’s a purely skill based game, the player who is the fastest wins. Even though there are only five game pieces to consider, it’s surprisingly stressful to have come up with a solution on the spot when you are competing against other players. For that reason, it can be a bit daunting, or frustrating, to play against someone who is much more experienced at the game. One interesting aspect of the game is to see different players’ approach to laying out the different game pieces on the table, so that they can reach them as effectively and intuitively as possible. Every one develops their own system. It takes some time and practice for your muscle memory to take over the process, but I would argue that it’s really then when the game truly becomes an interesting reflex game.
Designer: Thierry Denoual
Publisher: Blue Orange
Release year: 2016
Playtime: 5+ minutes