Full disclosure: A review copy of Drop It! was provided by KOSMOS.
The Gen Con games continue! Or, at least, games I got at Gen Con continue to get reviewed, even though I’m positive that both Space Base and Drop It! have been out for a while. Wouldn’t know; have mostly been playing Kickstarter games. Anyways, let’s check out some more, like Drop It!
In Drop It!, well, there’s no lore or plot and I’ve been gaming all day so I’m too tired to come up with one. Uh, it’s sort of like TETRIS Link, as you’re dropping various shapes into a long plastic container and there’s rules about how to land them. Will you be able to outscore your opponents? Or will your score be the only thing that gets dropped, this game?
Setup isn’t too bad. First, set up the big plastic … thing with either Shape Mode or Color Mode. For Shape Mode, you’ll use these:
For Color Mode, you’ll use these:
Just kinda put them in where they go, and then slide the plastic thing onto the base such that the side indicators’ letters line up with the ones on the base. Good! We did it.
Give each player pieces in their color:
This may vary based on player count:
- 2 players: Give each player two sets.
- 3 players: Give each player one set. From the remaining set, deal them out as follows:
- One player: Circle, Triangle, Square
- Another player: Circle, Diamond, Triangle
- Third player: Circle, Square, Diamond
- 4 players: Give each player one set.
Give each player a scoring marker in their color:
And, if you’re playing with Joker Tiles, give each player two of those in their color, as well:
Oh, you should probably set out the scoreboard as well, I suppose:
And each player has a +25/+50 score token, so give them that as well:
Once you’ve done all that, you’re basically ready to start!
So, the name of the game here is uh, pretty evocative of what you actually do in the game. You kinda just pick a piece up, put it in the plastic slot, and then you … drop it. That’s the game; review done.
Well, there’s slightly more to it, at least.
On your turn, choose one of your pieces and drop it into the plastic slot. You’ll score points upon its landing provided it has not made a Landing Error.
A Landing Error is any piece that does any of the following:
- Touches a piece of the same shape;
- Touches a piece of the same color;
- Touches a side or bottom that prohibits a piece of its shape or color touching it.
That’s … going to be a fair bit of the time. But if not, you scored! Give yourself X points, where X is the highest level your piece is on (check out the highest point of your piece, not where your piece’s base is). If you covered up any circles (even partially), score some more points:
- Big Circle: 1 point
- Medium Circle: 2 points
- Small Circle: 3 points
Move your points tracker up when you gain points. If you pass the start space, add your +25. If you pass it again, flip it over to the +50 side. That’s kind of about it — the player with the most points at the end of the game wins!
If you’d like, you can switch to Color Mode, as well:
This mode forces the bounding walls to penalize you if a shape of that color touches, rather than a piece with that shape. I think it’s a bit more challenging; maybe you will too?
Player Count Differences
The nice thing is, not very many. The game itself is pretty smartly designed to keep the same number of pieces and colors in play across player counts. You’ll notice that you always have all pieces in play no matter who’s playing, but you individually get a bit more control of them as a result.
That’s kind of an interesting direction to move in, though, since it means you can do a few things, like setting up combos for yourself that your opponents may not be able to do (by using their colors and the Extra Color at three players) or trying to alternate your pieces in a stack to get even higher without making any errors. I think the game works pretty well at all player counts, to be honest, so I don’t have a strong preference in that department.
- Keep an eye on what your opponents have. In a three-player game, if they only have yellow left, maybe you should play your yellow to try and make sure they have no good plays. You could also check their shapes and try to force them into potentially risky plays by making it hard for them to place certain shapes (usually by preemptively adding those shapes to the board, yourself). Especially if you’re already not going to score this turn, this is usually a decent idea as the game winds down. It may also be worth watching what your opponents have for proactive reasons, as that will allow you to make sure you don’t fall into the (somewhat common, from my experience) trap of only having circles or something towards the end of the game, which will inevitably mean that you’re going to have trouble scoring (along with other players who didn’t use their circles soon enough). Really just kinda keep track of the state of the tiles; it will usually pay off in more ways than one.
- You can try to add velocity, if that helps. Sometimes spiking a piece into the board may cause some useful movement. It usually doesn’t, since it’s hard to gauge what effect that will have (it usually cascades catastrophically), but sometimes it does.
- Honestly, sometimes, just kinda go for it. Try adding some spin, trying to hook a piece into a crevasse, or just kinda bouncing it and seeing where it lands. If you’re already gonna score zero, well, what do you really have to lose? Other than dignity, I guess.
- Watch for bad bounces. If you want something to land flat, try dropping it as flat as possible. You don’t want to roll the dice on what will happen if the square hits a corner (unless you’re very good at this game, which, well, I’m not, so I can’t recommend it).
- If you’re using Joker Tiles, it may be worth saving them until the end. If you can spend them to get a 5+-point move, that’s worth more than the tile itself. Better that than wasting them early to get a 1-point move working for you (which isn’t really worth it).
Pros, Mehs, and Cons
- Super colorful. It’s bright and energetic and fun, as a game about dropping pieces to score points should be, in my opinion. Like, imagining this as vaguely beige is kind of sad.
- Easy to set up. You just kinda divvy up the tiles and set up the board and you’re ready to go.
- Very easy to teach. You drop a piece in, and it can’t touch a piece of the same shape or the same color. That’s basically it; you can teach scoring later. Perfect way to open up a game night (or wind one down, given that it doesn’t really require a huge cognitive load to play).
- The right kind of weird dexterity. You’re kind of dropping pieces but you’re trying to be strategic about it and it’s all so very strange and right up my alley; I love games like this (that’s why I loved TETRIS Link so much, even if it wasn’t the most incredible game of all time).
- The component quality is pretty solid. All the cardboard pieces are very thick, and the tiles are pretty robust, too. Even the plastic board is pretty nicely made, which is nice.
- Definitely can hit a point where you know you can’t win. There’s not really much in the way of like, non-random catch-up mechanics, so if you get too far behind you’re kind of hosed. It’d be interesting to give a player who got lapped (25 points behind) a Joker Tile and see if that helped, but I’m not convinced that would be enough, quickly enough.
- Weirdly enough, some potential for analysis paralysis, here. I have no idea why, given that it’s sorta a dexterity game, but I once watched someone agonize over lining up their shot in Ice Cool, so I believe it’s possible. People try to analyze how their piece is going to land, rather than how it’ll fall, and that can waste a fair bit of time.
- I wish the board had numbers on it. It makes it a bit hard to figure out what your actual score is, and as someone who tracks that sort of thing, I’d … like to know what your score is.
- Double-coding the pieces would have been a good move. In general, I’m skeptical of games that rely on color as a coding (as not everyone has the same level of color perception), and I feel like putting dots / stripes / something else on the pieces to indicate their membership in a set of pieces would have been advisable. It’d be a nice thing to see added, as well.
Overall: 8 / 10
Yeah, overall, Drop It is super fun! I mean, it plays fast, it’s kind of silly, and it’s easy to teach, so all of those things are combined kind of a slam dunk, for me. I appreciate the competitive elements, but they never feel like they cross the line into antagonism; it’s mostly just you yelling at the board because the piece kinda tipped and didn’t fall the way you were hoping. As a result, it’s not the most serious game in town, but it definitely exists in the same space as like BONK and KLASK in that they’re really solid dexterity games that are great for a quick warmup before getting into heavier territory (or, in my case, more light- to medium-territory). The color thing always grinds on me, a bit, because I have friends who have trouble with colors and it’s frustrating since I can’t show them certain games I’m excited about because they forgot what kind of feels like basic accessibility? That said, hopefully it’s addressed in a later edition. As for the game itself, if you’re looking to warm up for a game day or you’re looking for a fun family game that’s competitive without being too aggressive, I’d recommend checking out Drop It!