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Awards

Rating

  • Artwork
  • Complexity
  • Replayability
  • Player Interaction
  • Component Quality

You Might Like

  • Simple to learn
  • Fun to replay again and again
  • Small and lightweight
  • Hoodwinking your friends

Might Not Like

  • Lack of strategy in the gameplay
  • Functional rather than artistic artwork
  • Basic components
  • Game box design
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Go Goblin Go Review

Go Goblin Go

And the review is off... Black and Yellow are in the lead, closely followed by Blue and Red, Orange hasn’t even made it over the starting line yet. As the rocks go hurtling towards the track, Green hops past the forerunners and takes the lead, only to be pushed into the pits of Mordor... no wait, that’s a copyrighted firey pit... but this pit of fire is the final destination to end the Goblin race. Go, Goblin Go is a racing game with a sneaky gambling twist.

To the uninitiated taskmaster it’s a game much like those horseracing games you see at the seaside. You know, the ones where you put a bet on a horse, you throw a ball aiming for a hole to move your horse along and the winner takes all. However, in this game you’re throwing rocks at the poor Goblins with an agenda only you know. Could your goblin fall into the pit and lose you the game, or could you slyly score points from its death.

Gameplay And Components

Go, Goblin Go is a game by Twilight Creations for 2 to 6 players where you secretly pick three goblins you want to succeed and score points from in this racing extravaganza. This is a bluffing, betting, race game similar to Camel Up. Setting up the game is really easy and takes no time at all. The game board is small and compact, meaning you can literally play it anywhere: I’ve played this game in the garden, in pubs, in cafes as well as in my game room. You don’t need a lot of space, just a flat surface. Unfold your gameboard (it has one-fold) then place your 6 coloured goblins on the starting line.

Randomly place the 6 coloured blocks on the “motivation track” as indicated on the gameboard, dealing 3 rocks to each player. The motivation track tells you how many rocks it will cost to coerce a goblin into moving. Once a goblin has moved, the matching-coloured block is rotated to the end of the tracker, reducing the cost to motivate the other goblins. Then finally you randomly place the domino tiles included in the game box on the “command track” on the other side of the board. The track is coloured so these tiles indicate which goblins can be moved when the die is thrown. For example, if you throw a 3 you may move any goblin that has a domino with a three in its corresponding part of the command track.

Let's Make It Interesting

To really make the race interesting, if you happen to place a double number during domino setup, that goblin gets to move twice whenever that number is rolled. To make it even more interesting, if you have 2 goblins on one space then the goblin directly behind hops over them to take the next space occupied by 1 or no goblins. So, the slow runner really could hopscotch into the lead with the right combination.

The final part to setting up is to allocate a set of six cards per player from the deck. Cards from this deck are labelled A-F to indicate the cards a single player should take – for example, there are six A cards, each with a different coloured goblin on the front describing the special ability that goblin has for the game. All players pick their three favourite goblins to score from in this race of life and, well, unfortunate death, imparting them with the abilities listed on your cards before discarding the others. Use these skills wisely because once used your goblin is exposed and other players will know one of your favourites. Now, you’re ready to begin.

The first player rolls a die. Match the number rolled to the domino cards on the game board to see which coloured goblins can be moved. Then look to the motivation tracker to see how many rocks it will cost you to move those goblins. Rolled a high number and don’t want to move a goblin? Take that number of rocks instead. This could be strategic, allowing you more freedom later in the game to move goblins who require a higher number of rocks to be thrown at them to convince them they want to move up the racetrack to face the firey pit.

On the other hand, you could roll a low number but with the corresponding goblins needing a high amount of motivation, thus potentially forcing you to waste your move by picking up a meagre rock supply. As you take turns rolling dice and throwing rocks (or not as there is a free rock move on the tracker) goblins move up the racetrack onto numbered spaces. Whichever numbered space your goblins end up on when the game is ended is the score you get for that goblin. The trick here is to score high points by getting your goblin close the pit edge but keep him alive by not allowing him to be pushed into the flames of death.

So, you need to be careful not to let your opponents know which goblins you have your money staked on, whilst also trying to work out who their goblins are, push one into the pit and make them score zero for that poor little minion, copyright, I’ve done it again... underling. Hmm... This is where special skills can really help. One of the skills that I personally almost always use allows you to score points even if your goblin meets an untimely death in the pit.

The special skills can really make or break the game so be wise choosing them. The cards are set up so that you will all get the same six skills but these will always be on different coloured goblins in someone else’s hand. This adds to the gameplay because you might have the same coloured favourites as another player but be banking on a different skill being used.

Final Thoughts

Personally, I love this game, in fact it became a quick favourite when I was introduced to it by a friend who has cost me way too much money showing me some of her games. A quick selling point of this game is that it is really quick to learn, it took me less than 5 minutes to explain gameplay to my brother who played well even from his first go. It’s also really easy to set up and as I stated earlier doesn’t require a lot of space. I’m the type of person who can get bored very easily, but I can play this game over and over.

Initially gameplay was around the 60-minute time it states but I think it really depends on your familiarity with the game, as well as your opponents and how much time they spend strategically considering their moves. I’ve certainly played rounds in way under an hour, especially now I’m more familiar with the mechanics of the game. With a small number of simple rules which are easy to follow, this is not a complex game. This does mean you are locked into a small number of strategies and ways to play the game, but it is still fun trying to work out the psychology of your opponents.

I’ve played a game where all the players, myself included, thought it would be hilarious to just gather as many rocks as we could and essentially only started racing our goblins after running the rock pool out. I’ve played games where we’ve kept the goblins really close together in the race and also where there’s been a real spread with some poor underlings left so close to the starting line I don’t know why they bothered showing up.

You can have a real mix of gameplay with this simple yet challenging game which can very much vary on the player/s you are up against. Will you need to change tactics for that one friend you know just can’t wait to find out your goblin colours and screw you over? How will you guess a friends strategy to work out who’s on their goblin team? In the end does it even matter as long as you can score high? That’s all part of the fun and frustration of this game. Frustration because yes, some special powers can really destroy your plans if used at the wrong time or against you.

In short, I recommend this game if you want something quite light that’s quick to learn, simple to play and fun for all. The cost of this game is fairly reasonable however, for a slightly higher cost a couple of the components could be upgraded to really enhance gameplay.

Creator Tips

I’d love to play Go Goblin Go with some actual cubes or something representing an actual rock rather than a cardboard cut image. Secondly, I’d love the domino cards to be actual dominoes... I mean, sure I could make this upgrade myself and yes, I do have several packs of dominoes but a nicely rock themed domino would really just make the game seem that much more premium. And finally, the game box itself is very simple with an indented part in the middle to store your game pieces and then the board sits firmly on top before closing the lid.

However, there are no zip baggies or exciting things to store your individual components in so these can end up a jumbled mess depending on how much you move your box around. I included my own little felt bags for the rocks and to store the goblins and added some zip bags for the cubes/die and domino tiles but providing something you can use would have made the game seem just that little bit more special and well organised. That said I’m a sucker for game miniatures and I do love these adorable little goblin pieces. The board artwork is also clear, showing all the individual elements, like the track and fiery end, well.

Zatu Score

Rating

  • Artwork
  • Complexity
  • Replayability
  • Player Interaction
  • Component Quality

You might like

  • Simple to learn
  • Fun to replay again and again
  • Small and lightweight
  • Hoodwinking your friends

Might not like

  • Lack of strategy in the gameplay
  • Functional rather than artistic artwork
  • Basic components
  • Game box design

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