When Tom Vasel handed me this game so that I could get my feet wet with a review (he WILL BE reviewing it, too), I had to take a double on it. It is not conventionally packaged by any stretch of the word. Griddle! comes in a cylindrical tube, not unlike a large roll of instant cinnamon rolls from the Pillsbury Dough-boy himself. That caught my eye and got me interested in playing to begin with...so, kudos on the eccentric packaging concept to Mr. Williams, or whoever came up with it.
Designed to capture the feel of American-style football, Griddle! is a struggle between two teams to score the most points in four "fifteen-minute" quarters. It is a dice-rolling monster, rivaling, I would even say, the amount of dice one would roll in a Axis & Allies match, or a bout of Warhammer 40,000. Well, that might be a stretch, but it most certainly FEELS like you are rolling that many dice. If you like to roll dice until the proverbial cows come home, you will most likely enjoy Griddle!. Rolling dice is the heart of the game with some strategy thrown in to mix it up a bit. So, without futher ado, let's talk about the components and gameplay a bit, shall we?
1 Gameboard, 2 yellow markers (for the clock and quarters), 3 red markers (for red-team points and timeout marker), 3 blue markers (for blue-team points and timeout marker), 5 Red/Blue dual-color "Gridders" (with which opponents move and score), 1 set of 5 "Dots" dice (Black, White, Red, Yellow, and Blue), 1 set of 5 "Digit" dice (same colors as aforementioned "dots" dice), 1 plastic coin (for the coin toss), and 1 Griddle! rulebook (if you need an explanation on this one, you have issues).
Setup time is almost non-existent. You simply place the markers in their appropriate places, and then flip the coin. The winner of the coin toss takes the dual-colored Gridders, and places them on the gameboard on his color's arrow markers, with his color facing up, signifying that he has "control" of the Gridders. Then, you just start rolling the bones. In order to be able to move the Gridders in your desired direction, you must have control of the Gridder(s) and out-roll your opponent. Each opponent rolls his (or her) set of 5 colored dice. Respective colors are then paired together with the following results... For each roll of yours that beats your opponent's roll, you may move the Gridder a number of spaces equal to the difference of the dice. If you did not have control of a Gridder, you take control of one Gridder for each winning roll, signifying this by flipping the Gridder over so that your color is facing up. Doubles result in one "minute" of the clock ticking down. Before rolling the dice, a player may call a timeout. This means that if doubles are rolled, they do not count for that particular roll. Each player has three timeouts in both the first and second halves. In order to score, you must be able to move your Gridder into the end zone using the exact number of spaces as the difference of the dice roll, no more, no less. Quite frankly, that is it for gameplay. It really is that simple.
Griddle! is most definitely a dice-rolling game. If you don't like rolling dice for what seems like eons, you probably won't like this game at all. If rolling the bones is your cup of tea, you'll love it! I like dice-rolling games...sometimes that's what makes a game for me, a lot of dice-rolling. Griddle! is a fun game, for sure, but I think it lacks in the strategy aspect of its gameplay. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but Griddle! is put forth as a strategy game on its package, which in my opinion is a tad bit mis-leading. Don't get me wrong, there is strategy in the game, if you get the rolls to be able to put your strategy into practice. This is a good game, and it can be a lot of fun, as long as you and your opponent are not too competitive. All in all, I would give Griddle! 7.5 stars out of 10. It's fun and rewarding when you're getting the rolls, and annoying and frustrating when the dice don't like you.
Hope this helps...Sam Healey.