Chill out is a wonderfully simple yet tactical game ideal for children, adults and families. What started out as a cheap, easy to play filler for some of the more rainy summer months led to being one of the most played games in our house.
The first thing you’re greeted with when opening up Chill Out is just how simple both the aesthetics and layout for the board game itself actually is. It’s refreshing in an age of modular board tiles, complex rule systems and over-manufactured game pieces to be presented with the actual game box being the play area.
Some transparent plastic cubes, four purple counters and a six-sided die making up the sum of the play components. No cards, no fancy companion app, no deck building…just a nice simple self-contained game that can be set up, played and put away without any fuss.
Aesthetics And Game Components
The game’s theme is wonderfully light-hearted, with simple yet stylish artwork intended to keep the premise and gameplay as straightforward and least confusing as possible to the players. The board itself is contained within the lower half of the game’s box, so no extra room is needed to store the box or components whilst playing.
The ice trays are lined with plastic to help with the rigidity of the board, and whilst the board itself isn’t made of the thickest cardboard it will definitely last a long time with some care.
The ice cubes themselves are made of clear plastic and come in a plastic bag along with the semi-transparent purple counters that represent the blueberries and the dice. I’d recommend a resealable bag to keep these components safe as there’s definitely the possibility of these components coming loose in the box if you’re travelling with it.
The 6 sided dice have very clear graphics on each side which correlate to each colour on the board, a “steal” graphic and a “wild” graphic which allows players to move any colour ice tray they wish.
The rules are presented in a small, concise booklet which does a good job of outlining the method of play. We found that having one player read the rules alongside the first playthrough was a great way of self-correcting and gave everyone the opportunity to call out any potential cheating from other players which in itself was actually pretty fun.
A Round Of Ice And Berries
A typical round in Chill Out is simple, each player assumes one corner of the board that’s represented by coloured fruit. You roll the dice and depending on the colour spot that it lands on, you have the choice of moving all of the “ice cubes” from any of the corresponding ice cube trays of that colour around the board, filling other ice cube trays or your own “bowl” in your corner of the board. Any full ice cube trays are skipped, and the next one is filled.
Once both ice cube trays of a certain colour are completely empty, players that roll that colour again have a chance to nab one of the blueberry counters that sit in the middle of the board, providing a +2 to the player’s overall score. The player with the most ice cubes (and the highest score depending on their berry count) when all of the ice cubes are in player trays at the end of the game wins. There’s also a steal mechanic whereby players can steal an ice cube from another player of their choice.
Although the game itself at its core is really simple and easy to get through, there can inevitably be some rivalry between players and I often found myself on the receiving end of my daughter’s and partner’s wrath as they tactically took ice cubes out of my immediate path and stole them from me at every opportunity they could.
This adds a hint of a more complex player arrangement and the bluffs, theft of ice cubes and payoffs that naturally happen through play made for some strangely tense games. There are tons of replayability in the game and the outcome can depend on more than just the rolls that an individual player makes in any one round.
If you’re looking for a self-contained; portable game that can be played at home, on holiday, at a kid’s sleepover or even at a summer BBQ then this should definitely be on your radar. At the price point, it even makes a great gift for a kid’s (or an adult’s) birthday. Great quality for the money and a blast to play again and again.