Level X

The Easy Play line of games from Schmidt Spiele is becoming a great series of short, light family games and I’ve yet to find a dud in the ones I’ve tried. Big Points, Los Banditos, Burgen Land and Finito are all really fun and now the latest addition, Level X by Stefan Risthaus, keeps that good run going.

If I were to draw a parallel, it would be with the old Sid Sackson game, Choice, which is great both as a solitaire or multi-player solitaire game. Level X adds a bit more interaction and competition to the mix. A player on his turn rolls four dice and then combines these to make one or more groups that total between 5 and 10 pips. The board shows for each number a series of spaces at the end of which is an X space. So if you group the dice to make a 5 and a 7, you move your marker one space along each of the 5 and 7 paths. Some turns later, if you move a marker onto the X space, you knock any marker occupying that space off and gain a VP token. On subsequent turns, if your marker is still there and you choose to group your dice to make that number again, you continue to gain VP tokens every time you score that number – a big incentive for your opponents to race down that path and knock you off. Each number has a limited supply of VP tokens and when three sets of the tokens has gone the game ends. There are also 4 bonus tiles that can be gained if you collect a set of VP tokens for each number 5-10 and these can prove critical if you manage to grab one, although everyone else is likely to try to freeze you out of at least one number to prevent that happening. The whole thing is wrapped up in 20-30 minutes.

Jan, Chris and I tried it for the first time yesterday and enjoyed it a lot. The game came down to which of Chris and I could gain the last 9 VP token. Chris needed it to stop me getting a 15 point bonus tile but was unlucky to roll numbers that didn’t add up to 9. Next turn, I did and was able to empty the 9 VP token pile, making three piles empty, and claiming the bonus tile. I won by 15 points. Good stuff.