top of page
Search
  • Writer's pictureboardgameoverlord

A tale of 3 games, a gimmick, an upstart, and a modern master piece, A Dropolter, Rafter Five and startups review

Well, hello there, dear reader, you find yourself here at the beginning of our tale. Today, we're exploring three Oink games distributed by HachetteBGUK Dropolter, Rafter Five, and Start-ups. Three completely different games, an action real-time game, a dexterity balancing game, and a stocks and shares card game. And where do we start? With the action!


Dropolter is weird, that's it! I can't think of another way to sum it up. Dropolter has you and four friends are in a race to drop things! Each each player has a hand of five items, and each round, you'll flip a card, and then you'll race to drop the items shown on the card. And then grabbing the ghost figure. If you drop the wrong items, you're out of the round. If you're fastest, you'll earn a bell, which gets added to your hand for future rounds, and first to five bells wins the game!


I'll be honest this isn't my kind of game, and for me, it feels like it is a gimmick that after one play, everything has been seen and done (I've played it three times). I'm not sure I can see this getting to the table regularly either, some of our older gamers struggled with the dexterity and/or speed aspects, so I'm not sure this game is for everyone. However, it's a fairly light-hearted game that doesn't particularly overstay its welcome. Although the closer players get to five bells, there's definitely a lot more people struggling to keep the bells in hand.



As you know, I rate games on a

- Buy or play

- Wait for sale or play if you like game XYZ

- Avoid


If you dislike real-time speed games, this is a solid avoid, I doubt this game is going to change your mind. And I'm not sure this game is fully accessible for everyone. However, if you enjoy dexterity speed games like Kittin, Fuse, Junk art and Tinderblox, then this game could be for you. But that's enough for dropping things, lets go and build a raft!

Rafter Five is a raft building game for 2 to 6 players, in which you'll be slowly building a raft to place your treasure on! The aim to avoid picking up penalties in the form of dropped treasure, and there's a good amount of raft building befofe it collaspes entirely, although an occasional treasure or two may fall if you're not careful.



On your turn, you'll take a lumber card from the sea and add it to the raft so that it overlaps at least one other card on the raft. You'll then need to pick up one of the five rafters and place it onto the newly placed bit of the raft before adding one of your treasure chests. Depending on the number of players, you may have one or two sets of treasure chests to try and place.



Although after a splattering of games at two and three players, I'm yet to see someone manage to place all their treasures. Instead, we've found that the raft typically collapses before that point. Games haven't taken very long, and that stacking core of Rafter Five into the realms of games like Rhino Hero, Bandu, Rift Raft, and others.



And in terms of a rating:

- Buy or play

- Wait for sale or play if you like game XYZ

- Avoid


This, for me, is a solid play if you enjoy games like Rhino Hero, Bandu, Rift Raft, or, in fact, a buy if you enjoy those games. However, if you're not a fan of dexterity games, Rafter Five isn't likely to change your mind. But like many Oink games, Rafter Five packs a whole lot of components into a tiny little bit and brings out this five minute dexterity game that's probably perfect to end a game night. And that leads up into a game about stocks and shares!

Startups took me by surprise. It's a game I picked up sometime in 2023. I took it to a game night, and everybody hated it. But then, after playing it a couple of times at conventions, an itch to try it again began. This is a game where there are six companies, which you'll be accumulating shares in. Each card represents a share in one of the companies. And there's a surprising amount of depth here for a game in which you have limited choices on your turn.



Each turn, you'll be drawing a card, either from the deck or from the market. If you take a card from the deck and there's cards in the market, you'll need to place a token, a precious token on each of the cards in the market. If you take a faceup card from the market, those tokens are all yours!! And then play a card, either to your growing portfolio or back to the market.


There's a careful balance that needs to be mamaged between investing in too many companies, but investing heavily in the wrong companies, and you could be paying out a small fortune at the end of the game. And then there's the anti-Monopoly tokens, once you're the majority share holder of a company, you'll be prevented from taking face up cards of that company from the market, thus meaning other players will eventually acquire shares in that company.


The game ends when the draw deck runs out, after which those three face down cards in your hand will be added to your portfolio, before dividends will need to be paid, with mininority share holders paying the majority share holder for each share they as the mininority have, with each coin given being flipped to a three. However, this creates a further dynamic, in that you want others to have shares in the company to enaure you recieve payment, but you don't want them to pick up too many to be able to challenge your majority.


Start ups has elements of brilliance all compacted into this tiny box, where clever card play is rewarded, and those three cards kept in hand can make or break a company! And with 5 cards being removed. Start up takes stocks and shares and condenses it down to this game of brillance, of hidden information and public information, although at higher player counts this could turn the game to a bit of a luck of the draw, so three of four players feels like the optimum player count.


And in terms of a rating:

- Buy or play

- Wait for sale or play if you like game XYZ

- Avoid


This for me is a buy or play, there's brilliance packed into this clever little game that will reward smart card play, and that hidden three cards can create incredibly tense end games as that company you thought you owned, suddenly switches hands at the last turn of the game. And feels like Startups sits in the same category of games like no thanks and 6 nimmt, there's depth to be found and clever card play is rewarded, whilst luck can still make or break your game, those games don't over stay their welcome and there's a satisfaction to the amount of gameplay found with 10-15 minutes. And Startups for me is a game that I'll never say no to! And probably is my favourite Oink game to date.



Disclaimer: I was sent a copy of each game by HachetteBoardgamesuk to review, all thoughts remain my own and I was not paid for this review.





254 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Comments


Post: Blog2_Post
bottom of page