Kickstarter Preview: Goblin Grapple

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Publisher: Silver Gaming Company

Developer: Travis Hoglund

Designer: Brittney Hoglund

Art: Lloyd Hoshide

Playtime: 15-20 minutes

Player Count: 2-4

Plays: 4

A prototype copy of Goblin Grapple was provided by Silver Gaming Company for this preview. I would like to thank them for supporting Jambalaya Plays Games. The Kickstarter campaign is already funded, but of course they are looking for more support. Everything you see is in prototype form. The art has been updated since I received my kit,

Kickstarter Preview: Goblin Grapple

Goblin Grapple is a strategy card battle game where players build up their armies and challenge each other to score points. A game is played over multiple rounds until one player reaches 100 points. The gameplay is quick, cutthroat, and I enjoyed every playthrough of this little card game. But how does it play? Let’s take look.

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Here are all of the Goblin cards ready to head into battle!

What’s the Gameplay Like?

Players start the game with a hand of five cards. A player begins their turn by drawing a card from the deck to their hand. You can perform as many actions as possible on your turn and it’s up to you how aggressive or patient you want to be. Your available actions include:

  • Play cards to build a build an army. The cards you play are be placed on top of each other to form an army. Building an army will score points at the end of a round. The current top card of the player’s army serves as protection from incoming challengers. Playing cards to your army with higher numbers will helps score more points at the end of the round, BUT you don’t want to get busted with a low card on top or multiple low ones. Risky choices need to be made and the timing has to be just right. Feel it out, which means absolutely nothing.

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  • Challenge (attack) any player’s army by playing a card from your hand and matching it up against the top card of the opponent’s army. The winner is determined by who has the higher value Goblin card. Cards with special abilities cards shake things up a bit. For example, assassins can take out kings and defenders sacrifice themselves for another Goblin card. I forgot to mention at anytime a player can use a Spy card to steal a card from any opponent’s hand. When tie situations occur, this is the moment where the gameplay in Goblin Grapple shines the most. The defending player can choose to play another card to continue the battle or yield to the attacking player. The attacking player has the same set of choices. This keeps going until someone wins or the opponent cannot play cards from their hand. I like the moments of unexpected confrontation and how that leads to multiple challenges.

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Winner Winner Chicken Dinner!

The winner of the challenge receives all the face up cards in play and adds them to their personal garrison stack. Play continues until one player has a garrison with 21 or more points. The round immediately ends and each player adds up their card values from both the garrison and army stacks. The total of card values are the player’s points for the round. You can have more points than the person who ended the round. If you stay out of harm’s way and time your attacks juuuuuuust right, you could bank a decent amount of points with very little aggressive play. I’ve been on the losing end of the game enough to experience defeat multiple ways, so I’m no strategy expert.

Why Should I Back Goblin Grapple?

  • Quick and light fun
  • Good option for game night, parties, and family gaming
  • Just the right amount of strategy to make this game accessible to a wide range of players
  • The new art (not in my prototype) looks waaaaaaaay better than what I have in this preview

Any Concerns?

  • Games like this are hit or miss for gamers
  • Maybe the theme was a good or bad choice. Goblin themed games could be a turn off. I know theme matters, but this is a straight up card game
  • The game might be too light
  • Does the game have staying power? I believe so, but it could see a couple plays and move on

Final Impressions

Goblin Grapple is a neat little card game. It’s the type of game you can whip out anywhere with a group of friends and kill a good 15 minutes or so. The gameplay is light, but I like the little touches of strategy that can play out during a game. A huge selling point for this game is you can take it on the go. It doesn’t really have a table presence and you could play at max player count at small table, in a bar. I don’t think this game is for everyone. Quick card games have their place and some gamers don’t even acknowledge them at all. The gameplay is really light and that alone eliminates a chunk of potential buyers. I like the art, but I don’t love it either. I saw the original art and I’m really impressed with the effort Silver Gaming put into responding to feedback. I think that about wraps it up. The game has already funded, so it’s the perfect opportunity to see what stretch goals they have in store and decide if you want to back the game. If you’re looking for a Stratego-like card game to whoop up on your friends and family, Goblin Grapple is something you might want to take a look at.  Thank you for your time.

If you’re interested in the Goblin Grapple Kickstarter campaign, click on the link below.

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