Topito (Brandon Kempf)
Designed by Marco Teubner
Art by Marie Cardouat
Published by Broadway Toys LTD & Korea Boardgames Co LTD
Disclosure: I was provided with a copy of Topito for review purposes.
The Topito Circus is back in town with a breathtaking acrobatic show!
Topito is a stacking game for 2-4 players and will play on average about 15 minutes. In Topito the players are going to be attempting to stack character blocks in a way that they fulfill the conditions matching one of your cards. Ultimately, the game is a race to be the first person to fulfill 7 of these cards to be declared the winner.
In Topito there are three podium tiles each of a different color, those podium tiles are placed into the middle of the table, not too far apart. All nine of the wooden character blocks are then lined in a circle around the podiums. Shuffle up the deck of cards and deal four to each player and you are now ready to enjoy the circus.
The youngest player at the table will take the first turn and they have two options of what to do, you can either take a character block that is not in play and place it on one of the podiums, or you can move one block, or a stack of blocks already in play, and move them onto another block stack or onto an empty podium. When moving a stack of blocks, you are only allowed to use one hand and you are only allowed to touch the bottom block of the stack. Adjust as necessary for children of varying ages of course. Blocks can only be stacked in an upright position and you cannot reverse the previous player’s last move. That’s all you gotta remember.
When through placement of character blocks you achieve the conditions matching one of your cards, you put the card down in play face up and yell “Photo Time”. You can do this on anyone’s turn, not just your own so you have to keep paying attention to the movement of the blocks. If you have successfully matched a condition, draw another card and the game continues.
There is a penalty for blocks falling. If you attempt to move a stack of character blocks and they fall, those blocks are then placed around the podiums again and you lose one of your played cards. If you don’t have one to lose, don’t worry about it, play continues on.
The first player to play 7 cards successfully wins the game.
Topito really is a fun little game that gives just enough of a challenge that it can be pretty good in the right instance with adults as well as with children. The moving of bigger stacks of Character blocks did kind of frustrate my youngest daughter, and she didn’t want to use the rules suggested in the book for younger kids, basically you let them use two hands, because she thought she should be able to do it the real way.
It also can be a bit frustrating for younger players because the Character Blocks are always on the move, in a four player game you have 3 turns to be completely messed up and nowhere nearer to what you are trying to accomplish with your cards, but that can even out as the cards are varied enough that you can sometimes luck into one being fulfilled by someone else, which eases the pain of things not going as you planned. But this also leads into the Takenoko affect of people drawing the cards that have already completed a card and just completing another card immediately.
Ultimately, Topito is a fine game. And I think that they have a really nice presentation here, the Character Blocks are bulky and really well illustrated, the cards seem like they will hold up through the inevitable rough play that comes with playing these types of games, especially with children. You know that Topito just isn’t going to be the centerpiece of any game night, but it most definitely can be a fun filler that gets folks moving around and gets the blood flowing and gets everyone interacting and having a good time. Just be aware of the possible frustrations that can be had when purchasing this for play with younger kids. It’s not as young child friendly as an Animal Upon Animal, but this is a quality stacking game.
Mr. Teubner has definitely cut his teeth working with the masters of this weight of board games over at Haba, where he has a long list of credits. Topito would fit in well with the Haba classics.