Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Catchup: classic abstract feel

When I read up about Catchup, I decided that I needed to try it out. As it turned out, my account at Little Golem is still active so I wen there for a short visit so I could get in a game of Catchup.

Catchup has a classic abstract feel. Perfect information, two players and no theme. Catchup is played on a hexagonal grid with players taking turns setting down stones. The goal is to have the single largest group of stones when you've filled up the board.

The twist is whoever has the largest group on the board (not total, just largest single group) can only place two stones. The other player can place three stones.

It's an interesting touch and definitely makes the game. Since I was playing online, Little Golem kindly kept track of that for us and I didn't think about keeping track. However, looking at Russ Williams review of the game, I realized that could be an issue in a face-to-face game. You'll need some kind of system to keep it from being a pain.

I had fun with Catchup. I like abstract placement games. Every move develops the board and keeps pushing the game forward. Catchup took that basic and effective formula and just added a couple tweaks. Between the short playing time in the quickly developing board, Catchup stays interesting through the whole game.

In my one play, I found myself focusing on making as many cutting moves as I could. It's definitely a very conflict centered game, quickly becoming a knife fight in a telephone booth. And I'm sure that further plays will reveal greater depth.

Catchup isn't my favorite new abstract. I wouldn't put it in the top tier of abstracts. It's good but it's not brilliant. That said, I have played some boring and broken and just plain bad abstracts. The fact that Catchup is dynamic and interesting is a major win for the designer.

No comments:

Post a Comment