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Subject: Review after numerous plays + useful tips rss

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Ashish Nair
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--- Foreword ---

I only recently (maybe about a month ago?) bought Slap 45 (full game) after reading the rules and watching the Tableflip Youtube series do a fantastic playthrough of it ( I won't get into explaining the game, the basic rules are explained quite well in the description on BGG, and there's little point in explaining how it plays when that video does a fantastic job (NOTE: players should be taking turns flipping the card over, unlike the dedicated dealer in the video). I'll focus on what feelings and experiences the game brings to the table.

--- Review ---

This game, for what it is, is fantastic. Anyone who played and enjoyed speed-type dexterity games in school (for me it was 'Spit', played with a deck of cards, and 'Slap Hand game') should feel right at home playing this, though it is a bit different in where the tension comes.

In Slap 45, the tension comes from not knowing what card is going to be flipped, and additionally, wanting to slap the card or your home base before anyone else. Teasing the flip when it is your turn to flip the card is great fun, as are the great moments where mistakes in those split second slaps are made (e.g. slapping a horse, shooting a gold, misaiming your gun, forgetting about the trapped cards, etc.).

There is a nice cycle of tension/release between each card flip, with the tension lasting longer than just after the flip, as the card is still open to be slapped if no-one else has slapped it. This often leads to last moment upsets, for example where players leave their bases to go for the un-slapped cannon, leaving all of them vulnerable to the victor of that slap. Along with all the player powers available, there is just enough variation and complexity in the gameplay to allow for repeated plays, yet simple enough to teach in 1-2 minutes, tops. Did I mention that it plays well at all players counts, and actually works really well at 3 players?

What this game brings in spades is the flavour of 'quick-draw', ala wild-west showdowns. Especially with the game coming down to one-on-one duels, with no player powers, and all quick-reaction skill. I think it's surprising and a real shame how little activity this bgg page has, given how great this game is for what it is - a fast, flavourful, dexterity filler, great for opening or closing a gaming session. If you and your friends like quick-reaction games and have a competitive streak this game is definitely worth checking out. All the better if you like the Wild West Showdown flavour!

--- Extra: Components, tips, trying it out ---

At least in Australia, it is a bit pricy for what you get, but the components are of a really good quality; thick, linen cards, and the homebases are thick and durable cardboard. The artwork is likewise of great qualtiy, very evocative of the theme, and makes the cards easily identifiable due to the rich colour and detailed drawing.

Given that it's a slapping game, I wish they'd gone for plastic cards, but I've found a way to ensure the cards are not damaged in any way - draw the card, holding the long end with the index and thumb, close to the table, and flip along the long axis of the card, straight onto the table. This way the card spends the least time possible flipping and in the air, decreasing greatly the chance of being crushed in any way. Despite playing nearly 15 times now, I've had no issues thanks to doing it this way.

Btw, if you want to try before you buy, you can play the game without gold or powers and just with a pack of cards (20 guns/black number cards, 20 horses/red number cards, 10 cannons/picture cards). The artwork really does bring the game to life though - I'm glad I purchased it.

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