Drop It, the silly abstract dropping-things dexterity game from Kosmos, is part of that eclectic board game sub-genre where the title of the game is also a command. It joins games as diverse as Smash Up, Roll For The Galaxy, and BANG! The Dice Game.
Drop it, as a command, is at once direct and vague. You’ll certainly be dropping things during a game of Drop It. In fact, that’s all you’re allowed to do. The linguistic connoisseur might find all kinds of further use for the phrase, like “drop what you’re doing and play this game”, or “one is tempted to drop it on the ground in frustration”. Your humble critic will abstain from such nonsense.
You’re going to be dropping a few basic geometric shapes into a kind of suspended 90-degree shifted board. Remember when you were a kid and Connect 4 was super cool because you got to drop the pieces into the spots and at the end you could release them all in a cheap plastic avalanche of sound? Drop It has all of that but the game doesn’t suck. Well, I guess the pieces are wooden instead of plastic, but what are we, barbarians?.
As is tradition, each player is assigned a color and they’ve got to drop their pieces with as much wit and charisma as possible. They should also try to score points. You can’t simply drop your squares and triangles willy-nilly, though. This isn’t ‘Nam, there are rules. Namely, similar shapes and colors can’t touch. It’s like abstract shape racism, but the opposite. If two similar things do touch, you get no points at all. Otherwise, you’ll score based on how high your piece is piled upon the peak of this freeform mountain. Certain little bubbles will grant bonus points, which is suitably exciting.
So you go around, dropping things here and there, trying daring moves and taking points when you can get them. Or you can plan ahead meticulously, making sure that you won’t be setting yourself up for ruin on your next turn and trying to mess with your opponent’s plans as much as possible. Drop It is generous and facilitates as much effort as you want to put into it. The two player game in particular can become more heated, as the space between your drops is shortened and you can have more of an influence on what board state you’ll see for your next drop.
There’s not much more you can ask for with a game that at first glance looks like it could be part of a toddler’s toy repertoire, but it’s literally my job, so I will. Why aren’t there more shapes? Give me ridiculous extravagances of geometry! I wish the shapes were more stable so you could reasonably go for more risky plays. Right now if you’re questioning if a particular drop will cause everything to collapse, the answer is always “yes”. I suspect my beef here is more with the immutable laws of physics than anything that could be adjusted with the game, but that’s never stopped me from complaining before.
I also wish there were a few more pieces, because while there is a rule about shapes needing to stay below the very top edge of the display, that has never once been a concern. Let me pack this thing to the brim, or stop someone else from a legal play through tricky maneuvering. Even one more shape per color would do the trick.
At the risk of overthinking this light as a feather game-toy (a risk I am always willing to take), there are some clever little nuances that make it a hair more than a willy-nilly, thoughtless, gravity-infused frenzy. You’re given a particular allotment of shapes, and you need to keep an eye on what you’re using up and what you’re leaving behind. Finding yourself stuck with squirmy little circles when a big, hearty square would easily grant you those three bonus points is entirely your own fault. Similarly, finding yourself unable to score anything because the landing zone is awash with your own color will make you question some key past decisions.
There’s a bit of variety available with the game setup, with pieces slotting in at the bottom and sides of the drop zone forbidding particular colors or shapes from touching them. I haven’t been able to successfully do it yet, but you could potentially utilize these restrictions to rope off parts of the board and give your opponents a hard time. And the point values increase as you move up the board, so later parts of the game are more high-leverage, which equals excitement. Or a runaway leader, but let’s not get pessimistic here.
Yes, it’s frivolous and simple and perhaps a bit too basic for its own good, but Drop It is a toy, and sometimes that’s the fruity but tart palate cleanser a night of gaming needs. It’s a pretty good toy at that. I can hear it now: “you’re getting soft, Marc. Isn’t this called the thoughtful gamer? How much replayability and engagement can this actually bring?”
To that, as I sit back like Albert Finney in the opening scene of “Miller’s Crossing” in the comfortable but imposing leather chair I’ve somehow acquired in this weird daydream, all I can say is this:
Review copy provided by publisher
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+Some clever little touches for the gamers
-There should be more shapes and things
-What do you want from me? It’s what it says on the tin
Length: 10 Minutes
Learning Curve: 1/5
Brain Burn: 1/5