Number ofpPlayers: 2-4
Time: 15 minutes
Age: 3 and Up
Game type: Back yard/cornhole
Gamer type: Anyone
Backyard gaming is a must for summer parties. You can either be the stuffy family that sits around doing nothing, or keep active and play games. A family that plays together, stays together – after the gloating and arguing, of course. After 10 years, cornhole – which took the nation by storm – has become a little dry. Now we have a new addition to the genre from Mozark Games: Cubockle.
If you’re like me, you grew up around horseshoes, then came along hillbilly horse shoes, then washers, then cornhole. Backyard gaming was the landscape under which many family parties were set. People would have a drink, throw something at something else, and have conversations. Now, too often, we see people sitting at parties, looking at cell phones and forgetting there are other people around. While Cubockle does not have a story, per se, it does create stories for families. This is one of the things kids will remember, earning it a score of 6 of 10.
Ok, so this is a yard game. Yard games are never known for their artwork. The one thing people need to look at in a yard game is durability. After we were done testing this game at a family event, we let the kids have at it. Honestly, they played the game for about half an hour (which is good for 4-8 year olds). Afterwards, the game became rolling the dice down the spiral slide to see who got the higher score. This kept the kids busy for about three hours (which was amazing), and it showed that the dice for this game are durable. I could not think of a much harder test to put them through than a half dozen kids rolling them down a slide. They survived with nary a scratch. Durability score 10 of 10 for normal play.
Yard games have to be simple enough that anyone can play, but complex enough to not be mastered in one session. Mozark starts out by setting up three levels of play, based on the distance that you set up the rings – which are the primary target for the game. This alone makes it nice for a yard game. Next, you roll dice to set the scoring system, not a 1/2″ X 1/2″ die from a board game, but nice big yard-sized dice. If you get the dice in the ring, you get what you roll. If you miss the ring, you’re still in the game, but “ringers” are only worth 3 points.
When you start throwing the bean bags, you have several options. If you throw the bag into the ring, it is worth 1 point. If you throw it up against your dice, then it is worth two points. The interesting part is when you get it in the cups on each side of the dice. If the beanbag is in the cup, but the die is out of the ring – then you get three points. Then the interesting part is when the die is in the ring. If you throw it into the cup while it is in the ring, then you get the number on the die. Great if you roll a 6, but not as exciting if you roll a 1 or a 2. This, of course, is counter balanced by you getting the points for the roll. Scoring is cancelling, which means only the player with the highest score each round gets points. You can also play race, where every point counts for a quicker game. 8 of 10.
In this game, the options are offense and defense. You can rush the score by just aiming for the rings, or you can build an engine by trying to manipulate the die with your bean bags, but overall, you are looking at offense and defense. Players throwing first try to score points, players throwing second can try to defend (by cancelling) or try to outscore them. In this game, the best defense is a good offense, but it still has more strategy than your average yard game. Also, you can move the target by hitting the die with the beanbag, which can change the scoring dramatically. 6.5 of 10.
With yard games, you have the option of throwing something at something else. That’s how yard games work. The novelty of the genre is based on finding new and creative ways to do this. Mozark did this. This game is novel for a yard game in the ability to manipulate the scoring area. Each throw can change things as you roll your own dice (or if you are aggressive, you can try to roll your opponent’s die with the bean bags). Regardless, you need to keep your eye on the ball, or in this case, the die. Great game, great colors, fun for anyone. 8 of 10.
Drinking games and yard games have one thing in common, they are all pretty much the same. It is the nuance that changes whether the game is a fad or something that stands the test of time. In the case of Cubockle, I think it has the potential to find a great following in the United States. By the way, the game is fully manufactured in the United States, right in Missouri. With most games coming from China or some place that uses slave labor to make them, having honest Americans paid a decent wage in making your game and keeping it reasonably priced is a great achievement; this earns Mosark a rare bonus point for this game bringing the score to 39.5. For any game this is a mega score, but for a yard game this is legendary. The game is durable, which means you won’t have to replace it every year, so this is a great game to keep in your shed for creating those family stories that the nation needs so much right now.
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