First Impressions: Stop The Germs!

Hello everyone! Now that the last long weekend of summer has been and gone, I have a new review for you all. This week, I will be looking at Stop The Germs from Simple Design Publishing. Let’s get right into it 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.

  • Abstract Games
  • Two Player Games
  • Tile Laying Games
  • Mix of Strategy/Luck in Games

How It’s Played

Each player will take a stack of germ tiles which they will use for the game. From there, they will take three random a special ability tiles to add to a separate stack. The starting tile is then placed on the table as a starting point. Each player will play a single tile (with the single germ face up) and then the game will begin. On each players turn, they will take three actions. There are four possible actions which are Placing a Tile, Flipping a Tile, Move a Tile, and Place/Play a Special Tile. It should also be noted, that you may look at the higher scoring side of the tile before you place it, however, you may not remind yourself of what it is while it is on the table. Players may take the same actions multiple times per turn, however, you may not place a tile, and then flip that newly placed tile on the same turn. There are also the special tiles which adjust playing rules for either adjacent tiles, or give players different abilities during the game. Once a player has placed all of their tiles, the game is finished immediately and the number of germs on the board is added up for each player and the player with the most germs on the board is declared the winner.

The Bomb Has Been Dropped

The Pretty Little Bow

For the most part with review copies of game, I have been avoiding this section, however I felt that the unique packaging it was sent in sort of called for mentioning. The game was sent in a prescription pill bottle which has easily been the most unique packaging I’ve seen in a game. With it being a review copy and having such amazing packaging, I can only hope that the final copy will be in similar packaging. As well, the tiles are incredibly well put together and thick and durable. I know this section is shorter than usual, however, it IS still a review copy and I don’t want to go too much into detail as things may change from the final copy.

Unfortunate White Blood Cell for Purple!

What’s To Love?

Stop The Germs is a neat back and forth game, which uses a surprising amount of strategy to get the most germs on the table by the end of the game. Initially I thought having three moves per turn would be too much for only having an arsenal of ten tiles to play the game. However, with the different options you can make per turn, it has a very nice balance with actions and time. The competition is quite fun, in trying to balance flipping and placing regular tiles, along with deciding when to play a special tile, or when to move tiles away from abilities, or move them to abilities. Games go fairly quickly, with an average game for us taking about 15 minutes on average, so you don’t have to book off your entire night to play. I found the reference cards to be very handy, as they are actually the only place that the rules for each of the special ability tiles. I was slightly confused by this at first, but it was actually really handy. It kept the rules section basic and focused on the base rules, which was nice because you can ignore the extra stuff until you really get the basics of the game down. Then once you decide to play a special tile, you can sort of go through at your own pace and familiarize yourself with each one that you have in your hand for that game. It was certainly a unique way to do it, but to learn the rules (as straightforward as they are), it eased up a bit of the stress of learning every last tile immediately. Big kudos on that, considering it is rarely seen, and it is brilliant. We actually played our first game without special tiles, just to get the hang of the placing and flipping of germ tiles first. Made an excellent transition for a second player here who isn’t the best at picking up new games.

What’s Not to Love? 

There was only one thing that I really didn’t enjoy about the game, and it may have been my poor reading for the most part, but in the set up, it doesn’t specify whether or not when you place tiles in front of you, if they are placed scattered, or in two stacks (one stack of germs, one of special ability tiles). We played the game as though they were scattered, and stacked, and we found it to be slightly different games, but we weren’t sure which way was the correct way to play. Knowing this is a review, this may be addressed and will be something that is non-issue in the future, but it was confusing enough for me to feel a need to mention it.(EDIT: In the gameplay video, the tiles are stacked rather than spread across the table, which felt like a more natural set up anyway.) I also found it to be quite advantageous to have a better memory than your opponent as well, but there is no fault in the game for that. Just be aware if you are playing with younger children, that you will likely have a fairly distinct advantage because they may forget which tiles they placed where, and while they remember they want to flip 5 germ, they just can’t recall the same way an adult can. This is certainly not an issue with the game itself, nor even a bad thing for everyone, however, if you plan to play with younger game players, it’s definitely something to keep in mind.

Final Board in this Round. Green had a heck of a game!

What’d You Think?

This is overall one of my favourite reviews games to date. Friends and I have had numerous games, and with some abilities, some games can get very close. Almost every game we play, the loser immediately wants a shot at redemption and we end up playing four or five games in a row. It is definitely one that stays nearby for prolonged table time, and will likely stay that way for a while. The quality for a review copy is wonderful as well, and I can keep playing this one knowing I don’t have to be as careful and delicate with it to keep it around more long term. There was no special ability (that I noticed) that really was over powered either, which is nice as I find it to be tough when you’re looking through abilities and finding all players want the same one ability, and the disappointment of not getting it. Very well thought out game, and wonderfully put together overall.

Well, that’s it for Stop The Germs review, I hope you’ve enjoyed my outlook on it, and you have enjoyed your long weekends! Don’t forget, I love you all!

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