If you ask my daughters what their favorite type of board game is, they’ll tell you anything requiring speed or dexterity. This week we found a game by University Games at a Chicagoland Savers that fit both of these categories – ZOOB. And by the lack of new copies on Amazon, as well as used copies on eBay, we’re not sure how popular it ever was.
After playing through ZOOB a couple times, we can easily conclude why it only saw one printing in 2005. It’s not that fun at all! Included in the box are 37 colored ball-and-socket building pieces along with 24 Creation Cards, a game board, four playing pieces and a single die.
Each player is randomly dealt one of the Creation Cards, which dictates which object you are trying to build and what pieces you’ll need. These are kept secret from each other and only revealed when you have collected all of the required pieces.
On your turn you roll the die and move the number of spaces in any direction, without doubling back on a space on the same turn. Landing on a picture of a ZOOB allows you to collect one ZOOB piece of that color from the box. A Free ZOOB space means you can choose any color.
Other spots on the board allow you to take an opponent’s ZOOB of any color, swap a piece with another player or protect you from other players trying to take yours. Ultimately you’re trying to collect the exact recipe shown on your card, then you make your way towards the finish line.
Once you reach the goal, you reveal your Creation Card and begin building your item. Other players hurriedly continue to play to try to also get to the finish line and complete theirs before you do. Quite honestly, this is the part that was poorly thought out, as there is almost no way to still continue to collect pieces, make it to the finish line and construct your item when the other person already has a huge head start. It would have been better off as a kiddie game where you’re just collecting the pieces and putting them together.
The only redeeming factor we found was if you play with the full compliment of four players, there aren’t enough pieces to go around. This makes stealing/swapping critical (and the game slightly more fun), but just made the end game worse. Once a person gets to the finish line, they cannot be stolen from. So someone will certainly be out of the game since they can’t get all of their needed pieces!
ZOOB will be headed back to the thrift store, as I don’t see us every playing it again. Normally I’d tell you to watch for your own copy online or at thrift, but this time I’ll just warn you to pass on it if it does show up. It really isn’t worth having in your collection at any price. The only exception is if you have children in the 4-6 age range, they’d probably get a kick out of collecting the pieces and putting them together.
Maybe next week’s Thrift Treasure will be a bit more bountiful…