Friday, March 10, 2017

My stepping stone of Hip Pocket games

Wandering down memory lane has brought me to the Hip Pocket line of games, a line of games that Cheapass produced that were smaller than their usual games but better than a lot of them.

I played them quite a bit in between getting back into board games with Settlers of Catan and Puerto Rico and Fluxx and getting serious about building a library of games. They were a big part me testing the water with my toe before diving headfirst into the deep end.

Every single game is a little deck of cards in a plastic baggy and most of them are tile laying games. At the time, they cost between four to six dollars so it was easy to get a little library going. The games in the Hip Pocket line were simpler and more solid than most of the other games in the Cheapass catalog at the time.

Over the last few years, as I've become less of a game snob, I've come to appreciate Cheapass's designs more and more. Some of the games that have come out in the last few years have been good and well aimed at the 'causual' audience. But I really believe the Hip Pocket line are some of the best games they made.

The best of the Hip Pocket line, which I'm saying are The Very Clever Pipe Game and Light Speed, I have played more times than I can count, particularly since I wasn't keeping track of my plays back then. I'd honestly play any of the ones I've played again without a problem, even Cube Farm, which I thought was just okay.

Confession time: I have not yet played either Safari Jack or Timeline. I may never play Safari Jack but I do want to eventually play Timeline. It is probably the heaviest game in the lot, which was heavy when Fluxx was one of primary games, but it's probably light to me now. Plus, it looks like pretty good.

Small and short but punchy and well designed. The Hip Pocket line was a good way for me to edge into collecting games. And, while I have other games I now carry everywhere, they still hold up really well.

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