Saturday 6 September 2014

Click Clack Lumberjack (Toc Toc Woodman)

Often thought of as a variation of Jenga, this dexterity game can make for an interesting filler...just for laughs.

Looks pretty cool

Name: Click Clack Lumberjack (2008 - first released as Toc Toc Woodman)

Alternate Name: Toc Toc Woodman (the first edition has some slight differences though as it involves rolling numbers to determine which part of the tree you hit)

Expansions: The Golden Axe expansion apparently, amongst other things, gives players the option to choose to hit the tree only once, but whatever falls down is worth double.

Taken from here.

Designer: Justin Oh (You might remember him as the designer of Gemblo Deluxe)

Publisher: Gemblo Inc and Mayday Games

Players: 2 to 7

Age: 5+

Time to play: About 10 minutes, even 1 minute perhaps

Price Range (AUD): $40 to $50. For what it is, this price range is EXTREMELY EXPENSIVE!! (Mainly due to shipping costs)

Availability: Mainly online.

Compare with: Bling Bling Gemstone.

  • Dexterity
  • Family 
  • Kids

Andre Lim's Rating and Brief Summary:

6.1+ out of 10. (Alright, perhaps a decent filler if played with the right group - See my Rating Scale)

There are some things about this game that I like: First, the game certainly looks nice as it actually resembles a tree when it sits on your table. Second, it's not every day that you wield a fake axe and swing it around, chopping that tree. Therefore, it certainly gets some points for thematic value. Third, there is some degree of skill involved as you try to chip away the bark pieces without removing the core stump pieces.

However, that's as far as I would go. The game, in itself, is an interesting novelty but nothing more. There is no real substantial meat to the game and in that sense, there is very little replayability in my view. However, that does not make it a bad game. Indeed, Click Clack Lumberjack can be quite fun when you and your friends are in the right frame of mind to play it (when you feel up for some open-minded senseless fun). It can also serve a useful purpose as a filler when you've just played a game that is extremely long and you want to take a break.

The price of the game is a real standout - to get it shipped from overseas you'd be paying something in excess of $40 which, in my opinion, is totally expensive. Perhaps this is why I sound a bit negative about this game.

In all fairness, price aside, this game has the potential to be a decent "party" filler, though be careful when playing with lots of people - the tree may be gone before it reaches somebody's turn as it just takes 1 hit for someone to knock the whole tree over!! But at least you'll probably have a good laugh (unless you or your friends are the type who are too serious). However this total collapse is unlikely to happen if everyone isn't clumsy or acting unnecessarily silly.

Obviously, I suspect that the young, or the young at heart, are likely to enjoy this game more.

The Good:
  • Interesting and amusing for a while
  • Actually looks like a tree - which gives it its novelty
  • Some degree of skill involved
  • Easy to explain
  • Quite fun to assemble

The Bad:
  • What's stopping that one clumsy person from knocking down the whole tree? It can ruin the game for everyone!
  • Takes some time to assemble
  • (Small criticism) The game comes in relatively flimsy and hollow box. It could have been packaged a bit better as it's a bit bulky with no actual compartments to put the game pieces in. I remember reading somewhere though that they intended (if they have not already) to release the game in a smaller more compact box.
  • Limited replay value - but who knows, it depends on the group. Many other groups seem to keep playing this game (I can't understand why though to be honest).
  • Probably does not play well with the maximum number of players - the tree may be gone by the time the last person hits it. 

What makes this game fun? 
It's not everyday you get to wield an axe and cut down a tree on your dining table...

- This concludes the basic overview of the game.
If you are interested in reading about the components & rules to the game, please read on -

Rules & Components (Photos courtesy of my mum, Joanne)

This is what you get in the box:

The tree stump base goes on the bottom. The tree should be assembled by placing the dark brown bark pieces into the peach (light-tan or light beige?) coloured core pieces like above. These pieces are then stacked together on top of each other.

The finished product becomes this:

In terms of rules, the Back of the Box explains everything:

In summary:

1) Everyone takes 2 hits per turn (you can increase the number of hits for kids or those who need it...)

2) If you get a bark piece to fall off onto the ground you get 1 point; if you knock off the centre piece onto the ground you lose 5 points. Whoever has the most points wins.

So a game may look like this over the course of a few turns:

Grubs add-on:

You can add grubs to the underside of the bark - these grubbed bark pieces are worth 2 points rather over the usual 1. You could make the bottom few layers of the tree contain these grubbed bark to provide a challenge or you could randomly scatter them about if you want to create randomness.

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