Quirky Circuits: Penny & Gizmo’s Snow Day

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RRP £19.99
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It’s snowing in Robotopia, which means it’s time for Penny to hit the slopes! Race across the snowy landscapes, collecting flags along the way with the newest robot resident. Penny is the coolest penguin robot there is and can catch some serious air if you time their slides right.
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Category Tag SKU ZBG-PH3301 Availability 3+ in stock
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Awards

Rating

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

You Might Like

  • Super Cute Robot Minis
  • Novel theme
  • Great co-operative family game

Might Not Like

  • There is no insert and there is a lot of air in that box!
  • Only 10 scenarios in this box
  • Cards are pretty thin
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Description

It’s snowing in Robotopia, which means it’s time for Penny to hit the slopes! Race across the snowy landscapes, collecting flags along the way with the newest robot resident. Penny is the coolest penguin robot there is and can catch some serious air if you time their slides right.

Quirky Circuits from Plaid Hat Games has been around for a while, but they have recently introduced a more affordable smaller box (not in size but in the amount of game) version which is more family focused. This version has two robots inside who each have five scenarios that are all played within the ring bound gamebook.

This states it is suitable for players age 8+ and I have tried this with a variety of different aged kids and it is definitely very family appropriate. I have also played two players with an adult and also really enjoyed that too.

Gameplay

The aim of the game is to cooperatively program the robots to move around the board collecting the required chits before returning to your start position. The cards are either turning cards or move backwards and forwards cards, and the type is shown on the back of the cards, but you won’t know if it turns 90 degrees left, right or flip 180.

Each round you play cards face down from your hand into the program sequence hoping that your teammates will understand what you are trying to do and will support and help with their own cards rather than undoing all your good work. Each round you must add at least 5 cards to the programming sequence and also each person must add at least one of their own cards to the row before you can activate the program.

It has vibes similar to The Mind where you are trying to read the minds of your fellow players and work together with no talking or any communication above the hard stares and raised eyebrows that you’ll be unable to control. After all players have decided that they have nothing further to add to the sequence then the sequence is revealed and the robot moved. This is where you see how well you managed to work together this round.

Robots

There are two different robots; Gizmo is a cat that rides on a robotic vacuum cleaner, and Penny is a snowboarding penguin. What I’d like to quickly shout out is that Gizmo is not given a gender in this game, they have gender neutral pronouns throughout, and Penny is given she/her pronouns. Having such diversity with just two characters to play is something I didn’t expect and was a great welcome surprise. Well done here Plaid Hat and Nikki Valens!

In the Gizmo scenarios, you are cleaning up and hoovering up all the dust bunnies. This needs to be completed before the battery runs out, and the battery goes down to zero. Each round that you complete uses one notch on the battery meter, so in some games you will have 7 rounds, in another you may have 12.

The room you are moving around becomes increasingly more difficult as the scenarios progress with more and more obstacles impeding you. If you aren’t in tune with your fellow players you will find that what looks like a relatively easy scenario can take you three or four rounds more than you expect, especially if you overshoot the end position by only one or two spaces.

Penny is an “as cool as ice” snowboarding penguin. She snowboards around the ice parks collecting slalom flags. These are on the reverse of the dust bunny tokens (like I said they are pretty light on the components). The premise is the same, but the deck that each robot has is slightly different. Penny has slide cards that allow her to move across the board at great speed which can be good and also terrible at the same time as she becomes unpredictable. There are also a bunch of one way tunnels that increase the difficulty further.

Components

I infrequently comment on the rulebook as usually they are nothing to write home about but in this case, I want to comment on how well laid out this rulebook is and how many worked examples it shows. I feel like it isn’t longer than necessary, but it does a great job of answering all the questions that come up in my head. There are also detailed instructions for each scenario which means that the gamebook that you play on just contains a few helpful notes rather than a full explanation.

Graphically this is cartoony and easy to determine the different actions with a quick glance. I think that the icons are easier to quickly glance at than the proper picture at the bottom of the card. The artwork here is quite simple, it doesn’t pretend to be something it isn’t. But wow are those wee robots so cute! The minis are pretty chunky, and kind of a chibi style. They are well made and easily distinguishable.

This box is way too big for the components, there is a bunch of air in there. I imagine this is for future expansions, but it is still frustrating to know that this box is taking up more shelf space than it needs. The box by the way is not huge, just oversized for components.

I also need to pick fault with the card quality, they are perfectly functional, but they feel thin in hand. However, for the price of this new trimmed down version, the cost of the game is less than half what it was before, so I guess that is to be expected. The book is easy to use, the pages are thick paper but they function as game mats well.

Replayability

In a session, I reckon at most you will play three scenarios, so there is a few good game sessions in this box. I see no reason why you cannot continue to enjoy playing the same scenarios again and again. The card draw brings randomness, and each different game group will give the game a different vibe.

Round Up

If you are looking for a cooperative family suitable game that you can keep cracking open for a 15 min blast every so often, then I would seriously recommend this. If you have enjoyed Magic Maze then this has a similar vibe without the confrontational red pawn banging or the stress of real time. This is whimsical and cute in its theming and I will keep it on my shelf to pull off to fill a small lull in heavier games or when I am playing with kids.

Zatu Score

Rating

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

You might like

  • Super Cute Robot Minis
  • Novel theme
  • Great co-operative family game

Might not like

  • There is no insert and there is a lot of air in that box!
  • Only 10 scenarios in this box
  • Cards are pretty thin