Monday, July 28, 2008

#73: Bumparena

Bumparena
  • designer: Forrest-Pruzan Creative
  • publisher: Cranium
  • date: 2005
  • BoardGameGeek rank/rating: 3359/5.73
  • age: 7+
  • # of players: 2-4
  • print status: in print
  • cost: $11.30 (Amazon)
My first reaction to Bumparena on taking it out of the box was "how in the heck did they figure out how to build it so it would fit back in there?" (Which, btw, it does.) My second reaction was "how are they able to set this low a price point with all this custom plastic work?"

When I actually played the game, I found a silly but enjoyable game that reminded me a bit of the old Ideal game, Avalanche, and a game of Pachinko that you could manipulate. Players take turns drawing a card & then playing a card from their hand to manipulate the layout of the sloped board - adding bumpers & (rubber) balls as well as re-orienting pieces that are already on the board. Some of the cards in the deck are what we here at the Jackson house call "release the hounds" cards - whoever drew the card gets to let the down the gates & let the balls fall through the maze & into the scoring bins at the bottom. Players score one point for each ball that falls into their bin - first to seven wins.

One of the odd choices with the game that works well with kids but actually reduces the tactical level is the use of rubber bouncy balls (again, custom-made for Cranium) - there's a lot of ricocheting & bouncing going on that sometimes completely negates any thoughtful placement of barriers. It might be more tactical with hard marbles - but probably less "fun." Another odd but understandable choice is that the game works best with 2 players (using the yellow triangle shown above to block the center scoring area) or 3 players (with all three scoring areas). Four players is a partnership game - sort of - that's much less successful.

This is NOT rocket science - but it's a lot of fun and can often be found for great prices (we bought a number of copies for party gifts last year when Toys'R'Us was blowing them out at $7.00.)

1 comment:

ACM said...

Yep, getting it back in the box does feel like a big accomplishment. We really like this game too.