Wednesday, February 13, 2019

The Very Clever Pipe Game still holds up

While it’s been years since I’ve gotten it out, The Very Clever Pipe Game was a very big deal for me when I first started down my road to becoming a dedicated gamer. Basically because it was a game I could take anywhere and teach really easily.

Hey, these are the things that can make all the difference :D

Let me give the elevator pitch. VCPG is a connection game made up of a deck of cards where players are trying to make closed groups in order to score points. There are two colors of pipes and two colors of floors. Depending on how you want to play, you are either a color of pipe or floor.

One touch I really like is the pillar rule. Each card is two squares to you can make an empty square with cards on all sides. That’s a pillar and it counts as a cap for any pipes or floors next to it.

VCPG is a very simple game. However, it’s also a very tight game. The rule set and the deck of cards are very streamlined without any fiddliness. It probably helps that I was playing the second edition, which was heavily revised. For one thing, it has less than half the number of cards. That extra revision and play testing probably helped a lot.

VCPG is also one of the few Cheapass Games from that era that doesn’t need any extra parts. These days, I have multiple tool boxes of game bits but, back then, not needing any extra bits made a big difference. All I needed was a baggy of cards and I was good to go.

All of that meant that VCPG is a very portable, very accessible game. More than that, luck of the draw creates enough variation that it’s a game that you can keep on playing over and over. For someone who wasn’t just getting his toe into board games but also learning how to learn games, that was all a big deal.

My original copy of VCPG looks like it was dropped off a building and then run over by a car. It’s has clearly seen a lot of love. These days, its niche has been taken over HUE. Mostly because I like the scoring system and it handles multi-players more simply and elegantly.

But VCPG still holds up. It has a simple job but it does it well. I’d cheerfully play it again and I know there’s stuff in it that I haven’t explored yet. I really only played it using the pipes, not the floors. That alone is a whole zone of the game I don’t know about.

The Very Clever Pipe Game was a nice thing to discover and helped lead to a much bigger world.

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