Friday, July 22, 2011

Gen Con 2011: Stomple and Stratego!

Yesterday I wrote about Stratego, a game with simple, easy to learn rules that is capable of layers of complex strategy. Today I'll mention Stomple, another Spin Master game that falls into the same category (think: Chess, Go!, Pente, Catan, etc.) of easy to learn rules, with layers of possible tactics.

Stomple is a multi-player (2-6) game where the goal is to score points by being the last man standing. The game board is a simple grid, with multicolored marbles spread randomly throughout. Each player is given a "Stomper" with the objective on their turn to "stomp" out another player's marbles by pushing down on them (marbles drop into the bottom half of the board). If you begin your turn and don't have any marbles adjacent to your stomper, you're out!

There's a few other intricacies; "chain" stomping an opponent's row of the same colors for instance will get you closer to victory. Players can also warp at any time to a marble with the same color as their Stomper, possibly providing a lifeline to someone who gets painted into a corner (at the expense of Stomping that color - making it a one time trick).

The real strategy is how to rack up points effectively. The game awards points to the last player on the board, with bonus points for other remaining marbles that do not correspond to Stompers in play like tiger eyes. Beware - in desperation to stay in the game those Tiger Eyes are often sacrificed. The key to victory is making sure you isolate your own color of marbles from others so opponents can't knock out a "warp" spot that could save you late in the game.

It's a fun family game that is enjoyed by players of all ages. There's also a glorious cutthroat aspect lurking underneath as well, the kind that can easily turn into one of those long standing blood feuds between competitive siblings (not that I'd know *anything* about that).

I mention Stomple and Stratgeo here, not just because they're great games, but also because I will be working at GenCon this year helping promote these game lines. Spin Master has some great tournaments lined up in Indianapolis, with events for both adults and the 12 and under crowd, and they're offering some good prizes to boot.

Come on out, bring the kids, sign up, have some fun and say hi! I guarantee you'll have fun even if it means losing all your marbles. I also recommend giving the updated Stratego a try as well! Hope to see you there!

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