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THE CLUB:
A board game for 2-4 players (best with 3 or 4) aged 15+  Designed by Jussi Autio for Tuonela Productions Ltd.

I have to openly state that when I saw this game for the first time I was immediately put off by the name and the box
art, not that there is anything wrong with either, because I am 62 years old and this looks like it's aimed at young
disco-dancers / night clubbers. So chalk one up for me being wrong .... twice ! It's not aimed at night clubbers and
it's not aimed at younger players, it is aimed at players who enjoy family style games that require thought and strategy.

Many people like to look at new games and compare them to games they know or have played previously. In this
case, for you if you like comparing games, the nearest to this that I would consider is Ravensburger's "Labyrinth"
and then only because it is played on a squared board and tiles are pushed onto it from the sides by the players.

So we have a squared board, already established, which has an outer edge that is considered "outside" of the Club, 
then there is the first set of spaces which are set next to the Club's bars and where, in my recollection of clubs from
the 60's and 70's, the guys stand around holding pints and watching the girls on the dance floor.The next set of spaces
are one step closer to the dance floor and where the guys are slowly gathering the courage to take the final step.

The central 9 spaces are the dance floor where couples get together in the hope of one night stands and/or lasting
relationships. It is these 9 spaces where the players are attempting to push the tiles and get couples together.

This is a liberal game so it doesn't matter if the couples that get together are of the same or opposite sex as long as
they conform to at least two of the Rules of Attraction. These are that the 2 dancers must be orthagonally placed,
not diagonally, (adjacent to each other), be in the 9 central spaces and have at least 2 visible qualities in common.
The visual qualities are:- Gender, Musical Taste (denoted by background colour), Appearance (size of body rather
than clothes) and Mood (Party, Bored, Drunk). Being of the opposite Gender counts as a visible quality but dancers
do not have to be of the opposite sex.

Gender: this is obvious,
Male or Female
Musical taste:
Goth looking (black/blue background) for some reason is seen as Heavy Metal
Bright Clothes (green background) are the Disco divas and nerds
Casual to the point of scruffy (brown background) are into Hip-Hop music
Appearance:
Short, Medium or Large in body shape. The artwork is good but perhaps could have been a little more distinguishable
as at a quick glance some Medium dancers may be mistaken for Large. Double checking solves this but slows the game.
Mood:
Hands and arms by the side, the dancer is Bored.
Hands in the air, the dancer is in Party mode.
Glass in hand, the dancer enjoys their alcohol; (drunk).

Each of the dancer tiles has an icon on its back. There is a weird rule that says when you remove the tiles from the bag
at the setting up of the game, when you are placing tiles face up on the board, you are not supposed to look at the back
of them. How can you pull tiles randomly from a bag and know which side you will see when you pull them out ?

There are 12 other tiles that are not dancers. 6 are bouncers who remove trouble makers - the player removes one dancer
from the Club and both tiles, dancer and bouncer, are removed from the game. The other 6 tiles are 3 Male and 3 Female
Celebrities (Rock stars). These need to be surrounded by 8 adjacent dancers (diagonally as well as orthogonally) but do
not need to be in the 9 dance floor spaces. Generally you can only remove 2 tiles (one couple) from the board, but when
you surround a Rock Star you take all 9 tiles from the board - carefully - and you can possibly make 2 couples by using
the 4 tiles that are adjacent, not diagonal, plus you always score 1 point from the Rock Star tile.

These icons - there are 12 different - are shown on the back of the rules (reference sheets for the players would have
been nice) - modify the score you get when putting a couple together but only after the initial score has been determined.
Scoring: 
If you have the minimum of just 2 visible qualities you score 1 point before modification.
If you have 3 visible qualities you score 3 points  before modification.
If you have 4 visible qualities you score 5 points  before modification.~
Modifiers may add or subtract points depending how the pair of icon react against each other and the dancers themselves.
Around the edge of the board is a score track along which the players move their markers as they score. It begins on zero
and there are no negatives, thus if you score a minus prior to scoring a positive you cannot move your marker backwards
and there are no rules to cover this, we just make it a house rule that you cannot go back past zero.

The CLUB is an unusual and (almost) unique game. It is far more enjoyable for "gamers" than many family board games.
It plays very well with 3 or 4 players but loses something with only 2 players. I like the idea that players can push tiles onto
the board from the side of the board they are facing plus the 2 tiles on either side nearest to them. In a three player game the
open side is available for the players to use on each third turn - there is nothing to track turns so we use a die.

Overall this is a game that we are more than happy to play quite regularly. It plays out similarly but different each game as 
the tiles are random and being 120 of them - minus a set number depending on how many players there are - which is itself
quite unusual for with 3 or 4 players you remove 11 tiles, thus leaving 109 in the bag. Each turn the players push 3 tiles each
onto the board, drawing them randomly from the bag, and 3 doesn't go equally into 109 (3 into 109 = 36 + 1) and the game
ends when the last tile is placed on the board. I still haven't worked this reasoning out.

 


 

 

© Chris Baylis 2011-2015