ClipCut Parks by Shaun Graham and Scott Huntington and Renegade games is a new type of game to me a new take on the roll and write that could be described as a roll and splice. Players take on the role of developers working for the mayor of the city who has asked you to beautify the park spaces. This is done by adding fountains, garden areas and other features. The first to complete five park designs successfully wins. In the event of a tie the designer who created least waste wins.
So how does it play?
Players are dealt five park cards, from the shuffled pack of thirty. Two of these are dealt face up, the other three face down into a draw pile. Players are provided with a pair of scissors and one of the 100 different park sheets. They each contain 63 park features in a mix of the four key colours. Blue, green, yellow and red. The tokens that are needed are placed within easy reach of each player and the first player is decided.
On your turn, the player rolls the dice which has different configuration of numbers on it. These numbers correspond to the length of cuts you can make on the paper and can be carried out in any order. So if the 1,2,3 side is rolled players can make three separate cuts. (You are not allowed on any one turn to add cuts together.) One cut that is one feature long, one cut that is two features long and a final cut three features long.
If any of the features are cut from the park sheet they can be placed on the park card, during the build phase. However, they must fit over the spaces outlined on the card. If the feature shape does not fit, it is wasted and must be screwed up and kept beside your play area.
Each park has a different layout and you have to cut the sections up into the most economical, in terms of numbers of cuts, shapes you can use to fill you park. This is the bit that requires a good level of visual and special awareness as you need to be able to plan your cuts to avoid waste and maximise the filling of the park.
To make things more difficult the mayor has requested specific placement of some of the features this means you need to find these on your sheets and try and cut out the shape needed with the right colours, in the right orientation to allow you to place.
Once you have finished your build phase, all players check to see if they have completed a park. If a park has been completed, all available spots are covered exactly and where required with the appropriate features, gain the bonuses on the bottom of the card. These include additional cuts and tokens.
The tokens can be used to help build faster as they represent some of the required features including wildlife or recycling and the gardener token which allows you to ignore colour for that tile. Players then draw a new card and play passes to the next player in turn.
Winning the game
Once one player completes their fifth park, play continues until the end of that round. If this is the only player to complete, they win the game in the event of a tie, the player with the smallest waste pile is the winner.
This game comes with scissors for each player which I think is a first for me! The artwork is lovely when you look closely and the card stock is all good. The dice is bigger than a normal D6 and box is a good size for the contents. All in all the game and rulebook are well designed for this type of game with lots of different combinations on the park cards and the added variation in the park sheets making each game different.
The rule book also includes two variants to increase difficulty and provide further replayability:
For a longer game simply increase the number of park cards to seven. This also makes the game more difficult as you have to be even more careful with managing your park sheet resources. There is also the grand park cards which are more complex. 1,2, or 3 are be provided to each player alongside the normal cards to increase the level of challenge.
For those who enjoy solo gaming the rules include a solo variant where you compete against yourself with 20 cards in your draw pile. At the start of each round you remove the top card from your draw pile. You score as many completed parks before your draw pile runs out, with the game ending if you cannot make a cut that is required by your die roll.
There is a scoring system for the solo mode and you can play again to beat your score.
ClipCut Parks is a charming little game that marries the feel of a roll and write. With some resource management and maximisation elements as you have a limited resource in your park sheet. It builds in the feel of games like Patchwork or even Tetris. You seek to fill the park shapes with the shapes you can cut out from your park sheet. Along with simple roll and writes. All this comes together in a competitive little filler that will suit a number of different gaming groups. This would be fun to play with children and adults alike. It is such a novel idea fills a gap on my shelf I didn’t even know I had. So take your scissors, roll the die and see if you can plan. Cut and build your way to success in the first dice and splice you have probably played!