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The Best Dexterity Games (or 60 dexterity games that are better than Jenga)
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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On my last "The Best" list I asked what the next one should be and Dexterity Games got by far the most votes, so here it is...

These are the best Dexterity games I could find on BGG. I have also included some of the most popular games that the average man in the street would think is a dexterity game to see how they fare. In this category I would include Operation, Jenga and Rebound (because I was a demon at it as a kid!). These three games come bottom out of the 60 games I added to the list!
Feel free to add if you think I have missed a great dexterity game

I've added some useful information on game: best number of players, how popular they are (number of plays) and whether they are Free. I've also included a comment (or two) from a fan of the game.

The games are sorted by BGG Ranking.

Other lists in this series:
The Best Space Games
The Best Co-operative Games
The Best Alternatives to "Risk"
The Best Party Games

And my full reference geeklist for choosing games:
The Which Game to Play/Buy Metalist
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1. Board Game: Crokinole [Average Rating:7.80 Overall Rank:39]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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Best with 2, 4 players
Recommended with 2, 4 players

Total Plays: 12814

Ben Vögel
United States
Golden Valley
Minnesota
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I've been on this site for 10 years now, and I'm far from sick of games, but I think I am, to some degree, sick of learning too many new games. I'm also tired of playing 4+ hr multiplayer games, but I'll still happily play really long games 2 player.
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"[151 plays] A fairly mindless dexterity game that is a great way to begin or end an evening of more serious games. I'm not knocking Crokinole by calling it mindless. There are decisions to be made with every shot, just like a quality game of billiards (which is the closest thing to which I can compare it to from actual experience - having only limited experience with curling.) What I mean by "mindless" is that Crokinole is fast and fun entertainment without any elements of the brain work that the games I love often contain. So it is a very nice change of pace.
This has been a big hit with everyone I've introduced it to."

Simon W.
United States
San Antonio
Texas
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"This is probably the easiest ten I've ever given. Crokinole is a relatively quick, satisfying dexterity game that rewards skill and encourages that "one more game" feeling. There is quite a bit of strategy to disk placement and tempo can shift on any one shot. I would argue Crokinole is the *best* dexterity game out there at this point considering all the others I have played. Great fun, very engaging. I must give credit to the Hilinski's too; my board is gorgeous and really sucks you in (almost like you're playing on a lavish air hockey table or something). Love it."
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2. Board Game: PitchCar [Average Rating:7.23 Overall Rank:251]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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Best with 6, 8 players
Recommended with 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, more than 8 players

Total Plays: 8160

Scott A. Reed
United States
Lawrence
Kansas
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"Whole lot of finesse in this one. I can not count how many times I have been overeager to try and slip into the lead only to flick way too hard and jump off the track. As an added bonus, the family really likes it as well, and the rules can be explained in 30 seconds. I did not glue in the rails so it would still fit in the box, but I can see how glueing would be beneficial."
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3. Board Game: Loopin' Louie [Average Rating:6.98 Overall Rank:419]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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Best with 4 players
Recommended with 4 players

Total Plays: 14439

Matthew Gray
United States
Reading
Massachusetts
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"This is probably the best dexterity game ever. Louie is a little motorized plane which
circles around trying to knock chickens off your barn, but if you hit your paddle at the
right time, you can send him looping toward your opponents. Amazingly fun, and the
description doesn't do it justice."
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4. Board Game: Catacombs [Average Rating:7.19 Overall Rank:449]
Daniel James
United Kingdom
Norwich
Norfolk
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No love for Catacombs?
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5. Board Game: Ascending Empires [Average Rating:7.24 Overall Rank:461]
Diederik Daggelinckx
Belgium
Brasschaat
Antwerp
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A new dexterity game which involves flicking.

Best with 3, 4 players
Recommended with 2, 3, 4 players

Total Plays: 1410
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6. Board Game: Tumblin-Dice [Average Rating:7.12 Overall Rank:473]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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Best with 4 players
Recommended with 2, 3, 4 players

Total Plays: 3792

Larry Chong
United States
Kendall Park
New Jersey
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"A fun, excellent and addictive dexterity game involving standard six-sided dice (tho any sided dice would probably be nice variations). Flicking your dice onto a multi-level or multi-tier board, with a group of players cheering and jeering you on is a whole lotta fun... It's great to have this sitting on a table somewhere during gamedays, so whenever you have 2 to 4 players with some 15 minutes of filler time available, just walk to the table and do a game of Tumblin' Dice...
12/2008 update: I now really prefer Mega Tumblin-Dice. You need two sets and you double-stack them on top and have six tiers to shoot for. Bottom (2nd set) tiers are doubled scores. And, throw in a 10-sided for everyone's final dice throw. This is really rocks!"
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7. Board Game: Animal Upon Animal [Average Rating:6.91 Overall Rank:578]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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Best with 4 players
Recommended with 2, 3, 4 players

Total Plays: 2609

Will
United States
Miami
Florida
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"Tier auf Tier is an aesthetic treat as much a great stacking game. The unique shapes of the animals, the variable decisions to make on a turn as result of a die roll, the fast playing time, and quite possibly the best meeples in the business all add up to making this a brilliant filler (and current favorite). A couple adjustments to the rules make this a truly formidable stacker, and allows for varying difficulty for different ages. Two sets allow for up to eight to play, adding more fun."
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8. Board Game: Bausack [Average Rating:6.91 Overall Rank:581]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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Best with 4 players
Recommended with 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 players

Total Plays: 2318

Joe Fleck
United States
Maple Valley
Washington
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"People instantly 'get' the game. Don't let your tower topple is the general gist of it.
Deeper strategy than at first appearance.
There is an element of hope for almost every play. For example, I have landed and seen pieces landed on towers that I thought were for sure going to topple. It is at that moment - after you land it - when you feel a major rush of fun.
The game generally makes you root for everyone. I play a lot of games and am pretty competitive, however I find myself rooting for the guy I just gave an evil piece to.
I've played Villa Paletti and Jenga. This game takes the cake for build/stacking type games. I'm anxious to try out more like this."
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9. Board Game: Gulo Gulo [Average Rating:6.90 Overall Rank:626]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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Best with 3, 4 players
Recommended with 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 players

Total Plays: 6510

David Seddon
United Kingdom
Congleton
Cheshire
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"This is a great game for adults to play with children. It's fun and easy to understand. My almost-three year old got the hang of it in no time. Both of my boys ask to play this a lot and me and my wife are happy to oblige. Little fingers do have an advantage and my three year old has the knack of being able to rummage through the bowl, knock everything all over the place, pick out the right egg and still leave the egg-alarm upright...now when I try that!
The components are lovely, though perhaps the game is a trifle over-priced for what you get. Nevertheless, I heartily recommend this and I think that it could even come out at a pizza night with some friends after a few bottles of wine. It's fun!"
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10. Board Game: PitchCar Mini [Average Rating:7.00 Overall Rank:702]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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Best with 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 players
Recommended with 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 players

Total Plays: 2524

Chris Farrell
United States
Cupertino
California
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"For some reason, I actually liked the feel of Pitchcar Mini *better* than the original Carabande/Pitchcar. I'm not sure why exactly, but it seemed like the smaller scale and more even production had a little more control. It also seems to play faster. I wouldn't put money on that opinion, but I'm glad to have both Pitchcar games."
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11. Board Game: Jungle Speed [Average Rating:6.65 Overall Rank:746]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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Best with 5 players
Recommended with 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 players

Total Plays: 6012

I legally own hundreds of polyhedral assault dice!
United States
Austin
Texas
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"Wow! If I had to apply the phrase "pure game" to one title, this is probably it. At the moment when two shapes match, be the first to grab the totem. That's the game. Speed, coordination, and correct judgment are all equally important. Your hand must be quick, and sure, at the right time."
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12. Board Game: Hamsterrolle [Average Rating:6.87 Overall Rank:832]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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Best with 4 players
Recommended with 2, 3, 4 players

Total Plays: 2316

N/A
"(>15 plays) Great game. Who thinks of designing something like this? I'm glad they did, though! Nice components, nice execution. Great for gamers and non-gamers--just leave it on the coffee table and it *will* get played. Also perfect for fill-ins at pick-up game night; while waiting for a game to begin (or to end and another to begin), play a quick game of Hamsterrolle. The hardcore can analyze their moves and try to remember apply high-school/frosh physics; social gamers can have fun placing wooden pieces in a giant rolly device; both groups will devise and execute truly evil placements soon enough... "
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13. Board Game: Carrom [Average Rating:7.04 Overall Rank:846]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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Best with 2 players
Recommended with 2, 4 players

Total Plays: 2770

Jacob Russell
Canada
Vancouver
British Columbia
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"Great dexterity game similar to pool. Very fun and addictive, hours can just pass by playing this. Incredible game, deep, fun, addictive, fast. I almost love it as much as Crokinole... and that's been my favorite since I was 9 (27 years now!) so I have some bias in me. It is probably harder then Crokinole, but I imagine that for most of us Crokinole will be faster and more fun because of the smaller learning curve and smaller table. However for those who think of the game as a lifestyle Carrom can't be beat, it is wicked hard and incredible fun."
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14. Board Game: Subbuteo [Average Rating:7.03 Overall Rank:859]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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Best with 2 players
Recommended with 2 players

Total Plays: 966

James Faulkner
United Kingdom
Banstead
Surrey
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"Played this a lot in my teens. Got bought the stands, lights, fans (about a dozen of them anyway), corner flags, etc - the full works, but only really needed the basics. Great game when played with the full official rules, but many house variations. Fond memories playing on different carpets to get some home advantage, arguing over the legality of flicking styles and glueing players back into their base after your mum had trodden on your centre forward."
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15. Board Game: Villa Paletti [Average Rating:6.50 Overall Rank:1032]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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Best with 4 players
Recommended with 2, 3, 4 players

Total Plays: 3076

Alex Clark
United Kingdom
Aberdeen
Scotland
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"Instant Classic. At first you think... "this is easy... nothing to it, just a dexterity game". Then you start discovering the hidden depths of the strategy - grouping of columns, forcing other people to move columns, leaving blocks behind, steering the next layer placement by anticipating who will lay it, etc, etc.

However always best played with wine or beer. A great introductory game when the alcohol is flowing. Although we found that Absinthe meant we could never actually get as far as scoring before some idiot made the tower collapse.

We call it "Jenga Pro" - dexterity and a HUGE slab of strategy once you have played a couple of games. "
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16. Board Game: Sorry! Sliders [Average Rating:6.49 Overall Rank:1048]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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Best with 4 players
Recommended with 2, 3, 4 players

Total Plays: 3922

Chris Tannhauser
United States
San Diego
California
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""Luke, you’ve switched off your targeting computer. What’s wrong?"
Picked this up based on raves from Geeks I Trust™ and busted it out first thing Saturday morning... played so many games with my youngest son I lost count. Our ruckus woke my lazy teen who then joined in for, yes, so many games I lost count.
Sorry! Sliders has all the elements of the best dexterity games:
- It's rules light
- Instantly grokkable
- Uses skills or abilities everyone already posseses
- Observers think they have a shot at doing better than the person they just watched go.
I'm tempted to slap a 10 on this, and I expect it to end up there after a debut at a family function. We'll see what my regular game group thinks about this--they're old and crotchety, after all, with none of the childish glee that comes from flick-slamming another player's pawn into the netherrealm... okay, scratch that.

UPDATE: Okay, busted this out with my regular group of emotionally-stunted man-children who took one look at the box and made faces and directly questioned my manhood, mental state and geek cred... fast forward through More Games Than I Can Count™ and they were grappling with a new addiction, stunned and shamed that they just... couldn't... walk away.
Money Quote: "We should play this for money--five bucks a game."
Then, doing the This-Is-Not-Happening body-rock: "Just five more dollars... five more dollars..."

UP-UPDATE: It's a ten! I'll always be willing to play this, and really, who wouldn't at five minutes a game? The kicker for me was an extended session with my usual game group where we had five of us and hot-swapped the winner's seat. It's so good, and short, that the odd man out never got bored. In fact, the incentive to win became more than mere crowing-rights -- it meant you could get a snack... and use the bathroom."
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17. Board Game: Nacht der Magier [Average Rating:6.74 Overall Rank:1266]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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Best with 4 players
Recommended with 2, 3, 4 players

Total Plays: 1793

Curt Carpenter
United States
Seattle
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"Very simple dexterity game. One of those where you wonder why no one has done this before. Supposedly it glows in the dark, but I wasn't able to try it that way. Most dexterity use one of: gravity, kinetics, coordination, accuracy, etc. Not this one. Nothing falls, nothing is in motion. Nothing balances. You just push around a bunch of discs on a circular disc using your "pusher" (all sorts of notions came to mind while playing, but since no one else was going there, I wasn't going to be the one). The goal is simply to push one of your three labeled discs into the hole in the center that is just big enough to allow the player discs to fit in, but nothing else. On each turn, you can use your pusher to push as much as want, starting from a single point, and without lifting your pusher once you've touched the surface. Your turn is over as soon as any disc falls off. Obviously the board gets less crowded as the game goes on. Some discs are tall and look like trees, which is purely for aesthetics, but it works. The game looks beautiful. "
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18. Board Game: Dancing Eggs [Average Rating:6.55 Overall Rank:1265]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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Best with 4 players
Recommended with 3, 4 players

Total Plays: 1283

Rob McFadden
United States
Cherry Hill
New Jersey
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"So good I had to get a second set to accommodate more players.
This is a unique game that plays well with a mix a kids and adults. An adequate, SAFE playing area is required! It is somewhat physically demanding - running around the table, grabbing the die, holding "eggs" for extended periods of time, scrambling after bouncing eggs, etc. The components are amazing and have a bid "wow" factor. This is always a hit!"
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19. Board Game: Micro Mutants: Evolution [Average Rating:6.74 Overall Rank:1381]
 
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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Best with 4 players
Recommended with 2, 4, more than 4 players

Total Plays: 497

S G
United States
Essex Junction
Vermont
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"For me, boardgame perfection. Skill-driven dexterity game....but with a touch of chaos as your luck varies with each shot; sometimes you'll make the most amazing cross-board shot, and sometimes you'll fumble hitting the enemy adjacent to you. Easy enough for my 4-yo that he can compete with his brothers and his parent, and just enough complexity and variety to keep it interesting. Flawless!

Having played this so many times, I think the designers did an admirable job of balancing the armies. My 12-yo won't play unless he's the blue army (whatever they're called), and sometimes it seems he's able to use their special abilities to just mop up the opposition. And yet, inevitably, the games either play very close to the end or wind up featuring these dramatic momentum shifts; either way, it's the kind of fun that defines boardgaming for me!!"
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20. Board Game: Polarity [Average Rating:6.46 Overall Rank:1405]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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Best with 2 players
Recommended with 2, 4 players

Total Plays: 2290

Jens Stenström
Finland
Siuntio
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"With Crokinole, this is without a doubt the best dexteritygame out there. It's not only fun, engaging and unique - it's a great game that feels like magic when you play it. Somehow it tastes like a a subtle blend of Crokinole, Snooker and Curling... can't put my finger on why... I also don't know why I have a tendency to love games that include their own lingo. Visitors and audiences look starstruck when you're talking about leaners, basestones, gordons and kisses. Better yet; start combining terminology to make it sound like a superhero would be playing; "Wow man, you just made a fault that caused my single-leaner to doublekiss your bases when you were trying to make a doublegordon on a tripleleaner." "
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21. Board Game: Bamboleo [Average Rating:6.41 Overall Rank:1662]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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# of Players: 2 - 7
User Suggested # of Players: (no votes yet)

Total Plays: 978

Larry Chong
United States
Kendall Park
New Jersey
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"A slow tension-building, take-one-piece-off-at-a-time from a teetering flat platform dex game. The game ends eventually, so make sure you count the pieces before playing so that when they all fall down on the floor, you can check for all the pieces. I prefer to play this with the variant/advanced scoring method that considers the weight/sizes of the various shaped pieces (basically mark each piece with a number for it's weight). Most grams or points wins. (See images #78940 and #78941. The pieces are easily discernible so just print out a copy of the two photos that show all the black & red shaped pieces and assign points by weight of each piece. Most points by grams is the winner."

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22. Board Game: Light Speed [Average Rating:6.37 Overall Rank:1686]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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Best with 4 players
Recommended with 2, 3, 4 players

Total Plays: 1355

R. Eric Reuss
United States
Arlington
Massachusetts
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"Fast, fun game. The scoring takes longer than actual gameplay, but it's neat to see how the battle falls out. The amount of tactical thinking involved really depends on who you're playing with; someone who just slaps down their cards as fast as they come up will force a more chaotic game than if everyone ponders before placement. Make sure to play on a non-slippery surface."
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23. Board Game: Rock the Beat [Average Rating:6.46 Overall Rank:1715]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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Best with 7, 8, 9, 10 players
Recommended with 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 players

Total Plays: 211

Walter Obert
Italy
Piossasco-Turin
Unspecified
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"Really a blast with non-gamers and open minded gamers.
Tom - tom - clap! rithm of "We are the champions" by Queen lead a funny game based on quick reactions, keeping all players wired to the chain effects of the signs. Played at Switzerland meeting of game designers in may 2008."
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24. Board Game: WeyKick [Average Rating:6.96 Overall Rank:1762]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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Best with 2 players
Recommended with 2, 4 players

Total Plays: 389

Just call me Erik
United States
Waldorf
Maryland
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"Just wow. Part air hockey, part foosball, a very fun dexterity game with great bits that never gets old. "

Simon Klein
Germany
Mannheim
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"Have played it several times and can only recommend the game. It's a fun and fast paced dextery game. You control the pawns (with magnets) below the board and so only see them move around on the board trying to score goals. Really great game to introduce new players or to get the attention of bystanders.
Only problem is that sometimes the magnets aren't strong enough if you move too fast (but that's your problem while in a game ). Other drawback is that you need some replacement pawns sooner or later but Ulrich Weyel sells them seperately. "
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25. Board Game: Der schwarze Pirat [Average Rating:6.70 Overall Rank:1813]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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Best with 4 players
Recommended with 2, 3, 4 players

Total Plays: 392

Arden Nelson Jr.
United States
Ohio
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"I'm going to give this to my newphew for his 5th birthday. I tried iit out with my Mom and realized that he is just to young for this Christmas. The Black Pirate is an interesting little game. The board is beautiful and if I had a child that liked the game I would consider mounting it on a wall such that it could be taken down for play. Depending on the children I could leave out the boarding rules but it does add to the play. Do I avoid that island since the Black Pirate is near? Do I go for that island with the Black Pirate or will I only make it quite close for the next person who happens to get control of the pirate ship. Though dexterity is most important and there is luck ... stategy still has an important role in this game. I say don't buy it since I am giving it as a gift."
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