Published by TCG
2 – 8 Players, 10 minutes
Review by Greg J. Schloesser
Dexterity games continue to remain popular. The most popular mainstream dexterity game is undoubtedly Jenga, although a case could be made for the classic children’s game Barrel of Monkeys. Within the gaming hobby, titles such as Bamboleo, Hamster Rolle and Villa Paletti readily come to mind.
A lesser known game in the genre is Verti-Go. Published by The Canadian Group, the game involves balancing cards (similar in size and shape to credit cards) atop a pivoting can. The game has all the appearances of being aimed at the mass market, with eye-catching packaging, easy rules and visual appeal.
The 32 cards each depict four colors, one along each edge. What makes the balancing of the cards possible are the slots cut into each side of the cards. These slots are just large enough to insert a corner of a card—albeit just a bit—forming a teetering tower of cards that tends to fan out in all directions.
Making the proceedings more difficult is the can upon which this fan of cards is constructed. Atop the plastic can is a card that is mounted onto a swiveling knob. As players insert cards into the growing fan, this knob can (and will) tilt, causing the entire structure to tilt along with it. Of course, this makes the structure unstable, making it increasingly more difficult to add new cards. That is needed to challenge the players and make each placement perilous.
The actual gameplay is quite simple. The cards are evenly dealt to the players, and they take turns adding a card to the fan. When placing a card, the colors must match. For example, a player may only place a card’s green edge into another card’s green edge. If a player does not have a matching card—a highly unusual circumstance since each card depicts four colors—he loses his turn.
If while placing a card the card falls to the table, the player loses his turn. If more than one card falls from the fan, the rules call for the player’s elimination from the game. Personally, I find this too harsh, so we play that the player simply gathers the tumbled cards into his hand and continues to play. Under the rules, the game ends when one player depletes his hand of cards—which is how we play—or if the entire tower crumbles, in which case the player with the fewest cards remaining wins. I find that the game can end too quickly with this latter condition, so we have been playing until one player depletes his hand of cards. We also give each player an equal number of turns, just to keep matters fair.
There are several optional ways to play included in the rules, including a “Sudden Death” variant wherein players must deconstruct the tower if all cards are used. I find the basic game just fine, but these variants do provide a bit of variety when desired.
A typical game plays quickly—five to ten minutes—but we usually play several games in a row. The rules are so simple and the goal so clear that it has wide appeal. It is also an attention-grabbing affair, especially when played in public, as the growing tower and players’ “oohs and aahs” often cause others to stop by and watch the action. The game is compact, as the cards and rules fit comfortably inside the can, so you can discard the larger, mass merchandise packaging.
Verti-Go is a solid entry into the dexterity/stacking game genre that is easy to teach and fun to play. It is easy to carry to other venues (parties, restaurants, events, etc.) and is certain to attract attention and willing players.
4 (Love it!):
3 (Like it): Greg S.
1 (Not for me):