First Impressions: Slapshot

Hello again everyone! Thank you for coming back week after week! This week, I will be having a look at a card game from Columbia Games, called Slapshot. What is it about do you ask? Well let’s get into that shall we.

If You Love

In this section, I will highlight mechanics, and some thematic aspects that may sway your opinion to either read on, or skip into a review of another game you may find interesting.

  • Team Building
  • Card Games
  • Card Trading
  • Drafting
  • Deck/Pool Building
  • Player vs. Player Competition
  • Hockey
  • Simultaneous Card Revealing

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How It’s Played

Each player puts together a team of 3 forwards, 2 defense men, and 1 goalie.They will use that team to compete in games through the season. On your turn, you have three actions to choose from that you must preform one of. Those actions are Trade, Draft, or Play a game. In a trade, you may pick an opponent to trade a card with you. They must trade a card with you. You pick one randomly, and give back a card with the same player type. Your second option is to draft a new player. You take a player you are replacing, and place them at the bottom of the proper deck and take the top player from the deck. You must take this player, even if it is a lower numbered player than the one you gave up. Finally, you can choose to play a game again an opponent. You may pick who you play against. You will both then organize your 6 cards in the order you would like them to come up during your game. You both reveal simultaneously, and the player with the higher card number scores a goal, with the exception of revealing a goalie. Goalies stop any players from scoring (with the exception of Tiny Tim, who always scores on goalies).Whoever wins, will move ahead one space on the score board. The first player to get to the playoffs space, is the winner of the regular season, and that also marks the start of a best of 7 playoffs.

The Pretty Little Bow

Slap Shot has some wonderful funky art. As a very big hockey fan, I find it to be a little silly to emulate such a physical sport, but its refreshing to see a fun take on it. The names of the players are equally fun as well. There is the small player Tiny Tim, The awful goalie, Stu Late, and it goes on and on. A fun take on a sport I usually take probably a little too seriously. The cards are of good quality. They aren’t anything of super high quality to write home about, but I feel like they will hold up for quite a while during many plays. The box organizer is actually pretty decent as well, keeping everything kept together well. The only issue I have with this game, is that the scoreboard appears to be very flimsy. I am nervous about the length of time that it will hold up during games over time. I think that even if something were to happen to the board, you could easily play the game without it, but I am not so sure that that is something I would like to have to think about 5 or so games into owning a game.Other than that board, I love the look and fun feel of Slapshot.

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What’s To Love? 

This theme is something that goes over wonderfully for myself and my entire gaming group. Most of the friends that I game with, I also grew up playing competitive hockey with. So once I explained how you draft new players, and trades are a forced action, they understood everything immediately. They all love the theme as well and this has been an immediate hit among my group. We all laugh about the silliness of the names, as well as having great commentary for each of the plays within games. Another thing that we loved was that even if the starting race to the playoffs didn’t go well, there was still a chance to win in the playoffs. When we have an even number of players, we would actually do separate series in playoffs and make it a bit of a closer simulation to the NHL playoffs with elimination rounds. That way everyone has a chance to win, even if they were in last place in the season.

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What’s Not to Love?

I would say that my biggest issue with Slapshot is the quality of the board. I really believe that not having to worry about it ripping, or tearing at a seam would leave me enjoying this game much more. It is an odd thing to worry about a board falling apart after only a handful of plays, and it is very unfortunate. I am personally lucky that thematically, and game play  wise, it has been a hit for me and my group, however, I’m not sure that non hockey lovers would see the appeal in this one as much. Another thing that I’m a little on the fence about is the way games are played. Cards are set up and flipped and the higher number card wins. I feel like there wouldn’t be much difference between picking order, and just shuffling cards and going from there in a war style card flip. I would be interested in seeing how a game would play if you and your opponent picked your card from your hand, play it face down and flip them together. This way you can get slightly familiar with their cards and after the first or second card, play what you think is accordingly. I think thematically this would would as well, as in hockey, teams make and practice plays, and opponents will use their plays to shut them down. Why not have a look at cards played and adjust on the fly? Now, I haven’t tried that out, but I would certainly be interested in hearing if anyone has and if it ruins the game.

What’d You Think?

Slapshot is a decent game overall. I enjoyed seeing hockey in a fun light, rather than the skill based, serious light I’m used to, as well as it has some depth in decisions which was surprising for me when I first played. Being one of those neat Canadians who loves hockey, I think that I am in the consumer wheel house for this game however, and if hockey isn’t really your thing, you may be turned off by it, as I believe this plays very well into the theme. If you enjoy deck or pool building however, I think you could really enjoy this mechanically, even if you aren’t a hockey fan as much as myself. I think the time it has taken to play this is great for a gamer who doesn’t have the luxury of those longer epic huge board games, but wants to spend at least a bit of time working on reading other players and getting involved in player to player competition. Overall, a well put together game, that I think will see some good table time, however, likely won’t be brought out from the shelf as an option at every game night at my place. If you are a hockey fan though, I would definitely suggest this as an option for a hockey game, as I have not come across many yet, and this is one is decent.

That is just about it for this weeks review, so in leaving, I will ask you a quick question. Are you a hockey fan? I know that I am, and even though my team fought for last place all year, I can never turn my back on my Toronto Maple Leafs! Have a great week all, and remember, I love you all!

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