Summit The Board Game Review

Summit is a game of survival, where players will take the role of one of the six characters and attempt to climb the mountain. Depending on what game mode you play, you will either be working together or facing off against your friends.

Fans of solo play will also be pleased as this is included. This is the mode I played and I must say it’s very well done.

Summit - Inside the Box

I recently reviewed This War of Mine and the components to that game really stood out to me. This War of Mine massively over-funded though and I think the quality of the components given were on par with the goal achieved. However, Summit’s components are equal or better, in a game that achieved not even half that level of funding!!

The first thing you notice is the size, weight and quality of the box. The art is unique and even if the font of the title can be a bit hard to read, it is still visually good. Once opened you are greeted with several thick punchboards that contain the various tiles and tokens.

A major surprise was that the left-over punchboard frame has ‘do not throw use to raise insert’ written on them. This is a great idea and one I wish more games adopted as it keeps the contents close to the lid during transportation.

Next up was the game board, one that’s again made of thick card and is easy to get to sit flat on to the table. The art from the box is carried on to the board and is again very well done. The board is double-sided (one for competitive and one for Co-op/Solo) and both are easy to read.

The player boards were also a very nice surprise. They have cut-outs to place cubes that represent health and other attributes, along with other details that don’t affect gameplay but are nice additions (height, weight etc). One issue I did have here was the fact the fit of the cubes into the cut outs is very tight so sometimes they required more force than felt natural.

I didn’t know a huge amount about this game, nor does the theme fit into a category I know a lot about so when I picked up the rule book for the first time I was oblivious to what was needed to learn the game.

The rule book is very well written and does a great job at teaching you the rules. It even has a ‘quick start’ section so you can just get stuck in and learn as you play. I read the rules a few times and didn’t really understand what some parts meant until I actually sat down and played the game, so the quick start is a very welcome addition. There is also a page in the rules that gives you backstories to every playable character, which again just adds to the huge amount of theme in the game and its components.

The last thing you notice is the insert, there are places for absolutely everything and this really aids set up and tear down. The tray for the triangular mountain tiles is separate and removable and is a great idea as you can just draw tiles out of it which saves table space.

The player boards were also a very nice surprise. They have cut-outs to place cubes that represent health and other attributes, along with other details that don’t affect gameplay but are nice additions (height, weight etc). One issue I did have here was the fact the fit of the cubes into the cut outs is very tight so sometimes they required more force than felt natural.

I didn’t know a huge amount about this game, nor does the theme fit into a category I know a lot about so when I picked up the rule book for the first time I was oblivious to what was needed to learn the game.

The rule book is very well written and does a great job at teaching you the rules. It even has a ‘quick start’ section so you can just get stuck in and learn as you play. I read the rules a few times and didn’t really understand what some parts meant until I actually sat down and played the game, so the quick start is a very welcome addition. There is also a page in the rules that gives you backstories to every playable character, which again just adds to the huge amount of theme in the game and its components.

The last thing you notice is the insert, there are places for absolutely everything and this really aids set up and tear down. The tray for the triangular mountain tiles is separate and removable and is a great idea as you can just draw tiles out of it which saves table space.

Summit Game Board Review

Gameplay

The game board represents the mountain and the idea of the game is to make it to the top and then back to base camp. You place triangular tiles that represent ropes used to climb up the mountain and then move along these ropes to make a safe pathway to the Summit. There are item cards that represent equipment used to help your climb and even weather can play a part in the expedition.

On a player's turn you take one of four available options:

  1. Move up to your current allowed rate (more on this later).
  2. Skip step one and discard tiles to draw more.
  3. Remove a card/token from player mat by skipping movement.
  4. Skip movement and resupply from your Sherpa.

Next-up the player will need to:

  1. Roll the event die to see if an event (draw a card) occurs.
  2. Roll the weather die and if bad weather is rolled then you must consume food.
  3. Pass play on to the next person.

Summit is very easy to understand and once you have played a few turns the game plays at a good pace. I played solo and I must say it kept me entertained throughout. The decisions of where to place tiles was one that required some thought as you could waste a few turns moving sideways instead of upwards.

The player mats, along with the above-mentioned quality were a surprise to me. Each player mat has tracks for Food, Oxygen, Weight, health and movement.

These are all interconnected and affect each other, for example when a player possesses an item card with a weight symbol on you move that track up one and eventually this will make the movement track move down one. This gives you a sense of having a heavy backpack, do you take the item you really need and risk being left behind by your team mates?

My first game took around 40 to 50 minutes to play and subsequent games lasted around about half an hour.

Summit is very easy to understand and once you have played a few turns the game plays at a good pace. I played solo and I must say it kept me entertained throughout. The decisions of where to place tiles was one that required some thought as you could waste a few turns moving sideways instead of upwards.

The player mats, along with the above-mentioned quality were a surprise to me. Each player mat has tracks for Food, Oxygen, Weight, health and movement.

These are all interconnected and affect each other, for example when a player possesses an item card with a weight symbol on you move that track up one and eventually this will make the movement track move down one. This gives you a sense of having a heavy backpack, do you take the item you really need and risk being left behind by your team mates?

My first game took around 40 to 50 minutes to play and subsequent games lasted around about half an hour.

Final Thoughts

Not knowing anything about mountaineering I was worried the theme would fall flat on me. Being a racing game, I did however have hope that I would like the mechanics enough to have fun. I was surprised on both accounts, this really is not a racing game and you don’t have to know anything about the theme to get drawn in.

In a normal ‘race’ game you go from A to B or go around a track, here you have the idea of going from bottom to top but with so many variables it’s not that simple. The game is heavy compared to say Formula D but in the same category as Thunder Alley, comparing them though is like comparing chalk and cheese.

The weather and tiles can change your approach as can the items you have in your backpack. Short turns that are fully engaging help keep you invested in what to do next and every time I have played it I have wanted to play again to see how I could improve.

The theme is not one that interests me in day to day life but I have to say every mechanic in Summit is made to fit the theme perfectly. The weather is random just like it should be, the way the weight holds you back is clever and even the way you can put down items for others to collect with markers is thematically fitting.

With excellent components, a decent insert and a good rule book, the only things I was unsure on was:

  1. Do I have room for another race type game
  2. Do I like the theme enough to enjoy the game?

I answered both these questions on my third play-through when the game started making sense. The game is quick to set up considering the number of items involved and the game is involving right through to the end.

Overall Summit is a fantastic game that has left me surprised and happy, I am yet to play the competitive mode and this too is great news. You get a lot of game for your money and with the randomness of the tiles being drawn I can see this seeing a lot of playtime.

Player Interaction unavailable as I only played the Solo Mode.

The Good
Component Quality.
Very Thematic.
Very different ‘race’ game.

The Bad
Steep learning curve.

Player Interaction unavailable as I only played the Solo Mode.

The Good
Component Quality.
Very Thematic.
Very different ‘race’ game.

The Bad
Steep learning curve.

Leave your comment