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Subject: Review: Wallamoppi rss

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Greg Schloesser
United States
Jefferson City
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Designers: Garrett Donner & Michael Steer
Publisher: Out of the Box
2 Players, 10 minutes
Review by: Greg J. Schloesser

NOTE: This review was first published in Knucklebones magazine

Balancing games seem to be quite popular, and there is no shortage of these dexterity games. The latest in this genre is the strangely-named Wallamoppi, wherein 2-players compete to remove "kiwi discs" from a pyramid and stack them to form a tower without causing it to topple.

Out of the Box seemed to spare no expense in the game’s production. There are 36 thick, wooden discs, 18 each in natural or dark finish. The box itself is also wood, and is actually used as an intriguing timer mechanism. The components fit securely in a vinyl bag, completing a package that looks, feels and even smells good!

After choosing colors, players alternate removing discs from the bag and stacking them on the table to form a pyramid. Players place whatever discs they draw from the bag, be they their own or their opponent’s. Discs can be placed directly onto the table, or atop two other previously placed discs. The base of the pyramid must contain 8 discs, but discs can be placed in higher rows before finishing the bottom row. The idea is to try to place your own discs in positions where they can be easily removed, while placing the discs of your opponents in positions that make them difficult to grab.

When the pyramid is complete, the tower building begins with players alternating removing one disc and placing it atop the top disc in the pyramid. However, they have a time limit in which to accomplish this feat. The wooden box itself is stood on end and used as a timer. A series of tracks run along this inside of the box, ending in a chute. A marble is dropped into the box, and the marble rolls along the tracks, eventually rolling into the chute and reaching the end. A player must remove and place a disc, and grab the marble before it reaches the end of the chute. Failing to do this in time results in a victory for one’s opponent.

Player alternate doing this until either one player fails to grab the marble in time, or the tower tumbles.

As the tower grows, it become more precarious. Not only is the height of the tower a factor, but the supporting pyramid will also be growing unstable. This occurs rather quickly, so the game is quite short in duration. That’s a good thing, as it doesn’t grow stale.

While quite clever, the timing mechanism really doesn’t add that much pressure to the proceedings. It takes a handful of seconds for the marble reach the bottom. While that seems quick, it really does allow enough time for a player to remove and place a disc. The "clack" sound the marble makes while it drops from track to track, however, can add a psychological sense of urgency that really isn’t necessary.

For dexterity game fans, Wallamoppi is a nice addition to the genre. Its strengths are quick play, attractiveness, decent price and some challenge. Plus, it will certainly make an attractive game to display in your game room or on your coffee table. It isn’t as challenging as other dexterity games I’ve played, but it is still amusing. Your biggest challenge will be trying to explain why kiwis are intent on building a tower!
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Ben Friedberg
United States
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I added a metal marble to my copy since the one from out of the box seemed to be irregular and got stuck on the tracks. Now, since it is heavier, there are only about 3.5 seconds to get a disk up and it is VERY nerve wracking.

Great review BTW!
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