Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Board Game Review: Summit


I was drawn to Summit after eyeing the box. Jordan Danielsson has created a beautiful thematic cover, including a font that is evocative of a Swiss chalet.

I was also excited to dig into a game that promised both cooperative and competitive modes.

Opening the box and examining the components, I found thick and sturdy cardboard components in addition to well-made wooden pieces, dice, and high-quality cards. No worry here about flimsy pieces that will tear. The artwork inside the box compliments what’s on the cover – a mix of easy to read modern fonts in coordinating colors on character boards and card faces, character sketches on the character boards, and a repeat of the Swiss style decorative font on the backs of the cards.

My husband, my daughter, and I played the game one afternoon in the cooperative mode. The game is marked for ages 14 and up but my 12-year-old had no trouble learning or executing the gameplay. The game features multiple levels of difficulty, which is appreciated. A game that can scale in complexity or ability to win helps keep things from feeling stale. We played on the “chill” setting since it was our first game. In cooperative mode, the object of the game is to have all team members scale the mountain and return to base camp, using cardboard pieces to visually connect rope segments and using equipment and event cards to alter the gameplay.




Each player is given a character board and player aid card at the start of the game. Player aid cards are always useful, so I appreciate that attention to detail. However, as soon as I examined the individual character boards more closely, I grew irritated.


Notice from the picture above how some scales on the character board go in ascending order from left to right while others are listed in descending order. I tried to tell myself the designer must have had a good reason to flip the scales around, but I like my character cards orderly and consistent and this ran counter to that. Additionally, the numbers of the scale are printed inside the boxes except for speed which are printed below the boxes for some inexplicable reason. Finally, the little plastic cubes don’t fit into the tracker spaces on the board, which seems to be either an oversight in design or a quality control issue in the manufacturing.

While the character cards seem flawed, the rule book was clear and detailed. I think our only unanswered question was whether Sherpas can restock at base camp.

The heart of any good game is the gameplay and getting into the gameplay for Summit, it was a bit boring with the three of us working in cooperative mode. The person at the forefront of the mountain scaling effort had most of the decision making and interesting actions while the player who was furthest from the summit was simply following in the footsteps of the other players. It had a “just going through the motions” feel for that player (which happened to be me). It’s possible that on a more difficult level, there would be more compelling actions for the third through sixth players but I’m not sure how that would be a certainty. And of course, it’s possible that competitive mode offers a more interesting gameplay as well but with hundreds of games to explore still in our collection, I’m not willing to gamble on another game to find out. My first play of this game will be my last.

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Publisher: Inside Up Games
Players: 1-6 (We played with 3)
Actual Playing Time (vs the guideline on the box): About 40 minutes
Game type: Grid movement, dice rolling, cooperative (solo and competitive mode also available)
Rating:


Jenni’s rating scale:

OUI: I would play this game again; this game is ok. I probably would not buy this game myself but I would play it with those who own it and if someone gave it to me I would keep it.

OUI OUI: I would play this game again; this game is good. I would buy this game.

OUI OUI OUI: I LOVE THIS GAME. I MUST HAVE THIS GAME.  

NON: I would not play this game again. I would return this game or give it away if it was given to me.


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