First Impressions: Connections
Hey everyone, hope you’re all having a great long weekend! I’ve got another game to review today called Connections.Let’s get to it!
If You Love
In this section, I will highlight mechanics, and some thematic aspects that may sway your opinion to either read on, or skip into a review of another game you may find interesting.
How It’s Played
In connections, there are actually a lot of different variations of play, as well as more variants that come to light fairly frequently. In my copy of Connections the rules state six variations, however, I believe I have seen there are 14 up online now I believe. For the sake of keeping things fairly straight forward, I am going to only be referencing the basic game in this review. Which is generally how I keep my reviews, but with so many, I wanted everyone to at least be aware that there are a ton of ways to play this game! Anyway, back to how it’s played. Each player will get five cards in their hand. From there, leftover cards are placed within reach of everyone face down, and one card is put in the centre of the game area. Each card has four words, and a number. The goal is to connect two words together which are connected in some way. For example, Strawberry, and Beef could have a connection as they are both food. You will then score the number of points on each card which had a connection placed that turn. If you place a card and two or three (even on occasion four!) sides connect with surrounding tiles, you will score for each of those tiles. If you can’t make any connections with your cards, you will draw a new card, and have an opportunity to play that card immediately. The first player to run out of cards wins that round, and everyone else gets one more chance to play a card from their hand. Once that round ends, players will deduct the totals of unused cards from their point total for that round. Once five rounds are played, the player with the highest total is declared the winner.
The Pretty Little Bow
The box for Connections which is composed of 124 cards is surprisingly compact. It is a fairly middle of the road box quality. I’m not blown away by the thickness of the box, but I feel that it will hold up well enough over a period of time. The “cards” in the game I feel should be labelled as tiles rather than cards, as they are laid onto the table and are squares which are the perfect tile size. So as it is, they are thick enough cards, however, I would like to see a slightly less compact size and more durable tiles as an option for people who will pay frequently and wear out the cards quickly.
What’s to Love?
The biggest selling point for me with this game is that while you are playing, you can really see how people’s minds rationalize and their thought processes. It really connects people and helps the group playing see more eye to eye. I believe that even though it is a competition based game, and the player with the highest score wins, it is truly a team building game. No, there won’t be any team building during the game, but I feel that discovering rationalizations people have, you can really start to understand them on another level, and if you are playing with co-workers, this can be a great starting block to working more efficiently on projects as a team. Another great selling point is the word selection on all the cards. The system that the creator must have in place to choose the words must be more than I could ever understand, and it is incredible that it is so family oriented as well. I had the chance to meet the designer of the game, and we had a conversation about an “adults only” version, and he said (sorry if it isn’t word for word, it was a while ago and is a little blurry) “why would I put energy and effort into something that deliberately closes the door on possible consumers?” So even the philosophy behind the actual game, and making it as inclusive as possible is really something to love.
Whats Not to Love?
The biggest issue I have with Connections is the “no right answers” bit. Some word connections are easy to see a viable connection, such as snow and igloo for example. But others are words that some may see as very closely connected, while others don’t see in the same light. This can lead to disappointing situations where you feel you have a great connection worth many points, but having a vote between players, if they don’t see the connection the way you do, your card is returned and you’ve got to find something else. As much as the game is fun overall, this was a bit of a frustrating point in the game when it came up. Another smaller issue I have is the card quality. I feel that the fact that there is so much use of these cards from game to game, they should be beefed up a little more. I know this would make it a less compact game, but I feel it would be worth the extra bulk. Having said this, I am also aware that this was completely made out of pocket, so using the most cost efficient materials was necessary. Having said that, I wouldn’t turn my nose at the game because of this.
A Remote Control to Compare Size
What’d You Think?
Overall, this is a solid family and social game. With the team building aspect that I found with it, I would think that playing this game with people you work with would be a fantastic idea. As well as that, you could likely play this and get to know just about anyone a little better at least. It’s a perfect game for throwing into a bag or suitcase as it compact. Though you need some table space to play, getting to your destination will be very easy. The place that I feel it is best is at the cottage for rainy days. You generally aren’t at the cottage for playing board games, so you don’t want to take up all your trunk space on “just in case it rains” games. This eliminates all that board game space, and leaves room for your fishing gear, or another friend, or whatever it is you bring to the cottage, and you still have a fun social game to play in case it actually does end up being rainy.
That’s about all for connections, I hope you enjoyed the review! Don’t forget, I love you all!