Reviewed by Deborah Banasko
I LOVE a board game… but these days I’m reduced to children’s games with my three little people, so a silly grown up game was always going to appeal.
The box is much more compact than I expected, which is a positive as these kinds of games usually find their way into house parties and gatherings when you have a young family so this means less to carry.
Every New Year’s Day we also have a huge family get together and there’s always a few of us who like to play a game with the older teenagers in the family, so I was hoping that “Beat That!” from Gutter Games may be a contender to take along with me.
I was pleasantly surprised at the amount and quality of game equipment that they had managed to squeeze into the box; 160 challenge cards, 10 plastic cups, 5 pin pong type balls, chopsticks, dice, tape measure, egg timer, betting tokens and a pad.
Whenever I see balls and cups I automatically think drinking games (perhaps an idea for when it’s just the grown up’s though!)
The game is aimed at anyone over 11 years old and is for 2-8 players. Before starting, I noticed that a game can last 40-90 minutes so this is certainly a family/friends get together or rainy afternoon with older children type-game.
So for my trial-run of the game I enlisted my husband, sister and brother-in-law, and their two older boys. We are all pretty competitive which always makes for a better battle.
The instructions were simple (my pet hate is a long-winded, instruction booklet), so the game got started right away. There are a range of challenges to either complete solo, against all other players (Battle Royale), working as a pair (buddy) or finally going head to head in a duel. However, you don’t get to choose how you compete – the cards decide!
Everyone has 10 betting tokens of differing values. When the first player selects a challenge card you place a one token bet of either 1, 3 or 5 points depending how confident you are in your own ability at this challenge (or your pairs ability in the buddy challenges). There are 10 games in total so one token is bet per game.
If you win the bet you get to bank your token and your points will accrue, but if you lose you also lose the token and points. The winner is the one with the most points at the end of the 10 games. Unless of course you are my family and you are losing, as it then changes to a “best of 20” game.
So, the challenges! They are simple and often silly! One that had my nephew laughing and doing a considerable amount of cheating was the “top hat” game. Everyone battled against one another for this. We all balanced a cup upside down on our heads and had to attempt to blow each other’s cups off whilst protecting our own. Not the most hygienic game (saliva in the face!) but flipping hilarious, probably helped by the fact we were still giggling from the previous contest. I appreciate that this sounds basic, but it really is funny if you are in the right sort of mood for it.
Other games involve rolling balls into cups or two balls simultaneously into a cup a set number of times; bouncing balls off chopsticks; gargling songs with water in your mouth and loads of ball and cup tricks. Honestly, they even had a paper plane making and throwing contest on one card! It’s like being a kid again.
There are balancing games and word games (naming as many foods that begin with a certain letter) so the person who is amazing at the ball and cup tricks won’t necessarily win overall. There is something that everyone is reasonably good at, at the very least.
It is quite addictive as there are so many cards that you just want to keep on playing.
I cannot wait to try this at my friend’s house, with alcohol! I also think our New Year’s Day event will be a blast.
Now my 8 year old is pretty smart and could probably have a go at some of these challenges, but overall they would be a little beyond her capabilities. Also, you have to factor in game length and attention span, as well as the more grown up themes of placing bets, so I do think that Gutter Games have the age range set perfectly.
I would love them to design a family version, perhaps with separate linked tasks for over 11’s and under 11’s so that I could play this game format with my little ones as well, as I do think it’s a winning concept.
At Christmas I do get fed up of buying the same gifts/sticking money in a card for the older children in the family, and I do think “Beat That!” has great appeal. The packaging could be aimed at anyone over early high school age, and something like this gets them playing with their parents and siblings, and off the computer and phone for a while.
It’s one of those games that you can really have a laugh over, and I can think of several of my friends who would love me to buy them this game as a gift.
The pricing seems reasonable as there are 160 challenges so you are paying for the game-hours that you can get from it, and not just the physical “stuff” that comes with it.
A compact, easy to understand game that would be well placed at any house party or family gathering over Christmas, and equally handy to entertain the teenagers on a cold winters afternoon. I love this game and think that every family needs one! I have to award “Beat That!” 5 stars out of 5.
Oh, and in case you were interested, I lost the game!
For more information or to buy visit gutter-games.com.