Pool Party (Brandon Kempf)
Designed by Brad Ross, Gary Strauss, Ivy Strauss
Art by Malcolm Unwin
Published by Blue Orange Games
The What Did You Play This Week Podcact was provided with a review copy of Pool Party by the publisher, Blue Orange Games, in return for a review.
As I sit here inside, staring out at the thunderstorm rolling in, I can’t help but think back and wish I was younger and my summers could be spent sitting by the pool. Not right now, that’d be dangerous, at least according to my Mother, but you know, on those normal summer days where the sun is beating down on you and all you want to do is be in the water to cool off and relax. Next best thing? Board games!!
Pool Party is a game for 2-4 players and it plays in about 10 minutes, sometimes faster, sometimes slower, it depends on the skill level of the players, you’ll see why in a moment. In the game you are racing to get three of your divers into the pool with the biggest Cannonball splash possible.
This would all be very simple if that’s all there was to it, but beware, the pool, is not as stable as the pools you remember, this pool is on a spring, elevating it above the table, so as your divers are cannonballing into the water, the pool will start to move around.
How do those divers get into the pool? Well each player will have 9 plastic divers of their chosen color. These divers are a hard but bendable plastic, which allows you to push down on one end or on the crease to make them jump towards the pool. In a perfect world, this would be easy, but this is not a perfect world and this “flicking” is something that takes some getting used to doing regularly.
Components wise, this is really well done. The plastic divers continue to hold their shape even after many plays with some who are a bit tougher on the components than others — and the table presence with the pool on the spring in the middle of the table is really pleasing and fun to see.
We’ve played this a handful of times, and each time, the game has devolved into something akin to a free for all. After someone has that third diver in — everyone just wants to see how many more we can get in — and it becomes quite the spectacle. In other words, winning Pool Party is actually kind of secondary to the fun that you will be having while playing it.
At its heart, Pool Party, is a younger child dexterity game, you are flicking — for lack of a better term — your divers and hoping that you have the distance and height judged correctly and they land and stay in the pool. But just because it’s a game made for children doesn’t mean that there isn’t fun here to be enjoyed by everyone. There are good times to be had, both by young and old here and that’s part of what makes Pool Party a fun game to have on your shelves during the dog days of summer and probably even the winter doldrums.