Sunday, April 13, 2008
Playground Game Review - Hopscotch
When reviewing games designed for children, it is important to consider how well those games can be enjoyed by adults. Generally, playground games are not considered proper adult fare, but some of those games can, occasionally, have some merit.
Hopscotch is not one of those games. Hopscotch has so little to recommend it as a game that it is almost more like a playground diversion than an actual game. There is very little luck - in that, it resembles a Euro game. It also has rules simple enough to have been designed by Reiner Knizia.
The game consists of two components. The first component is a chalk outline drawn on asphalt or sidewalk. This diagram has a series of numbered boxes, most placed in a vertical line, but often with one or two placed horizontally.
The second component is a rock, and that speaks volumes about the quality of this rather insipid little game. Adults are going to find the components for this game crude and unattractive. Obviously, this is going to affect their desire to play this silly game, and overall call into question the intelligence required to commit time to such a miserable pastime, especially when you could be playing Risk: Black Ops or Descent (both of which have fantastic components).
The rules for Hopscotch are just as simplistic as the components. A player simply throws the rock into a numbered square, hops to it on one foot, then bends to pick it up, still standing on one foot. Then he completes the pattern, landing with only one foot on the vertically-aligned boxes and with both feet in the horizontal boxes.
As you can see, very little strategy or forethought is required to be skilled at Hopscotch. You simply throw a rock and then hop around a little. Even Reiner's boring games have more substance than that. And yet, children all over the world play this game, and seem to enjoy it.
Thank God adults generally know better, and can see this simple-minded game for what it is - a poor way to spend your time. Adults know that they should be playing Key Harvest or Last Night on Earth, or any other games that have intellectual depth and far superior components.
Of course, to be perfectly fair, it should be noted that children who have resorted to playing Hopscotch generally do not have access to Heroscape or to such wonderful games as Battlelore or Dungeon Twister. But if they were to simply get online, they could find many games that they could print and play, or even rules for old classics that they could recreate from whatever they had on hand. Sadly, children who play Hopscotch seem to lack the creativity and competitive spirit to cobble together even the simplest board games.
It is important, as adults, to show children how much better games should be. Teach your child how to play HeroQuest, or Condotierre, or Carcassonne. Children must be taught the value of friendly competition, strategy, tactics and forethought. Don't let your young ones be fooled into thinking that Hopscotch is an acceptable pastime. They should know from an early age how much better games can be - no, how much better they should be.
Physical exercise as a game mechanic
Priced reasonably (free)
Scales well for multiple players
Very poor components
Overly simple rules
No penalties for poor performance
No planning, strategy, tactics or forethought
If your children insist on playing Hopscotch when they could be playing Age of Gods, you may need to check this link for advice:
Posted by Matt Drake at 5:51 PM