Few things are more ingrained in the collective consciousness of Canada than the game of hockey.
So it's no big surprise that over the holiday season we turn our attention to the World Junior Hockey Championships. We take great pride in collecting gold medals, and lament those occasions when Team Canada fails to achieve the top spot.
When it comes to board games there are a number relating to hockey, one of those being Slapshot, currently produced by Columbia Games.
The game was first released in 1982, and has had a few different editions as it has gained a loyal, near rabid fan base.
Slapshot is a card game which has a decidedly tongue-in-cheek side to it. Although not connected to the famous hockey movie of the same name, it does remind a bit of how the game was played in the film.
"Slapshot is a card game for ice-hockey nuts, ages 8 to adult. The object for each player is to skillfully manage a team of six players, make the playoffs and then win the championship. You try to improve your team with trades and drafts, but to make the playoffs you must cope with injuries and win more than your share of hockey games," details the game rules.
That sums up the game nicely.
Players draft a six-man squad from a set of cards which includes players such as Bobby Howl (a wolf), Puck Rogers (in a space suit), and Sir Stanley Kup (a knight on skates).
Each card has a number value, which comes into effect as you play a game. You stack your six cards in any order you want, then face-off against an opponent. High card wins, although the goaltender card stops almost any card from scoring.
Certain cards are 'bruisers' which cause player injury, leaving you to 'draft' a replacement before playing another game.
A 'game' lasts as long as it takes to flip six cards, although you can easily lengthen that to going through your six three times for periods.
The game is best with multiple participants each with a team 'drafted from the 54-card deck. The game states it is for 2-to-6 players, although there are nine goalies. You do need to keep some reserve options for injuries replacements though.
This game is not particularly deep, coming down to essentially the children's game of 'war'.
But it is a quick blast for hockey fans. The quirky cartoon art, and the names that harken to actual players, winter references and cultural icons adds to the fun.
The game is a quick learn, and you could forgo the 'draft' and deal teams just as easily, to get right to the games. A night of game would be a season, with the winner getting bragging rights.
A definite winner that hockey fans should give a try.
Check out this offering at www.columbiagames.com
If anyone is interested in this game, or other boardgames feel free to contact firstname.lastname@example.org
-- Review appeared in Yorkton This Week newspaper Jan 11, 2012 - Yorkton, SK. Canada