It’s no secret that we love playing board games in our house. That doesn’t mean we all prefer the same types of games. While I’m very fond of abstract games, you’ll find my wife drawn to any title that is puzzle-ish. This comes from her love of assembling jigsaw puzzles as a young girl and she still tackles one or two every year. And my girls have both proven to be math whizzes, forcing us to brush up on our Algebra and Geometry in order to be able to help them with homework.
A couple months ago we were introduced to a new game by Gamewright called Skiwampus by the game’s creator, Myles Christensen. We love interacting with game designers as we can get a better feel of what they were trying to create. Not that the publishers get it wrong, but you can’t deny the existence of a designer’s passion, and it comes through nicely during our conversations. What we discovered was that his game, Skiwampus, scratched the abstract/puzzle/math itch so it had something for everyone in our family!
Much like Take It to the Limit!, a game we featured last month, players don’t take turns during a session of Skiwampus. Instead, everyone plays at the same time! This makes for a much faster game, with less downtime and quite a bit of socializing due to the fact that you and your opponents might be trying to accomplish the same tasks.
In the box you’ll find 72 diamond-shaped tiles along with 45 challenge chips. Skiwampus is played over three rounds, with the player scoring the most points being declared the winner (duh!). Each participant is dealt a stack of 12 diamond tiles and a set number of challenge chips are placed in the middle of the table within everyone’s reach (3 times the number of players).
Each challenge chip has some type of goal to achieve with your diamond tiles. Some will require you to make matching pairs, while others focus on colors only. With 45 included in the box, you have a wide variety of things to go after. The diamond cards have both numbers and colors in each corner, and you’ll arrange them in a circle to try to complete one of the challenges.
Once you arrange your tiles to match a chip, take the chip and place it over the successful circle formed by the numbers/colors. This locks those tiles in place, preventing you from rearranging them this round. Fortunately there are other areas to complete additional circles, earning you more challenge chips.
Once all the chips are claimed or everyone agrees no more progress can be made, the round ends and the next round begins. Pass your tiles to the person on your left, place new challenge chips in the center (again, 3 times the number of players) and begin the new round.
Once all three rounds have been completed, scores are tallied according to the number of pips on the edge of each collected challenge chip. The player with the highest total wins! In the event of a tie, the person with the most chips takes home the prize!
We found Skiwampus to be a great game night game for friends or family. It is very easy to teach – in fact you’ll be up and running withing minutes of setting up the game! There are a number of game variations printed in the rule book, so if you get tired of playing in the same manner (or want a solitaire challenge), Skiwampus has you covered. I could even foresee tanagram-styled challenges, additional colors or more advanced mathematical goals being added in a future expansion! Fingers crossed!
Although the box claims it is designed for ages 10+, we feel safe in recommending this for ages as young as 6 or 7. The math principles are rather easy to understand and I doubt there’s a kid out there who hasn’t put together simple puzzles like this. You can find copies on Amazon for well under $20, a fantastic value for the amount of fun you’ll have with Skiwampus!
What type of game should Myles work on next?!