Tournament of Towers is dexterity game designed by Donovan Eberling and Jeff James wherein players compete to build towers to please the King and Queen. Players are the architects of Geometria and must determine creative ways to stack tower pieces. Launching May 15th on Kickstarter, the game plays with 1-4 players and is suitable for ages 6 and up.
How to Play
All players are dealt seven cards, which indicate pieces to be used for building. Players select one card to keep and pass the remaining cards left. This continues until all players have selected seven cards. Players then grab their pieces and create a build order with the cards. Pieces are then stacked on each individual player’s base. Once all pieces have been placed, players can place their architect figure on their tower. Players score one point per gold piece or architect figure used in their tower and the tallest tower gets awarded 3 points. Seven cards are drafted again as previously described and players build on their existing tower. After these two rounds of building, the player with the most points wins. Note that this is the main way to play Tournament of Towers, but there is also co-operative play and ultimate challenge modes.
Tournament of Towers is a super light game perfect for families. There are rules, but they are only followed willy nilly. If playing with young kids, you can skip the card drafting and just let them select pieces they want or give them as many mulligans as needed. Even competitive play is pretty friendly, mostly just motivating each other to attempt riskier placements. You see your opponent building high and you attempt to outdo them. The rules are only in place for those who want to play seriously. Whether you play seriously or not, one fun addition in the rules is events. Once players have selected their build order, a die roll determines what event will throw players for a loop. They include things like moving all gold pieces to the end of the build order or being dealt a random card to add to your tower. I really enjoyed these because they forced you to get creative. Players often choose a safe structural order, then events shake things up and they need to rethink how to fit pieces together. It really is just about playing how you like and having a good time. The anxiety of precariously balancing another piece higher and higher and the palpable tension as a tower tetters on the brink of collapse make this a party hit.
Note that I received a prototype version of the game, so the components you see pictured are 3D printed plastic pieces. The final pieces will be molded and through playtesting many of the weak spots have been bulked up for extra durability. The cards gave indicators on relative dimensions to help find the correct pieces in a large pile on the table. I also made a few small suggestions such as including a measuring tool, perhaps a banner shaped one to match the art and theme, so we don't need to argue over whose tower looks taller.
So… basically Junk Art, right?
It is undeniable that Tournament of Towers is very similar to Junk Art, so let’s compare the two. Towers is a little more free form and easily appeals to non-gamers. Junk Art is also a very casual game, but has more variety to the rules with the different turn structures and goals of each city in the game. Both games include 60 pieces, however Tournament of Towers has 30 unique pieces to Junk Art’s 15 different pieces. Pieces such as the gold spring in Towers open up some very creative possibilities. Towers however is limited to four players, whereas Junk Art can accommodate six. The Tournament of Towers pieces are plastic and the Junk Art pieces are made of wood. Both are excellent party games, it is just a matter of what you are looking for. If you prefer to stick to the rules, Junk Art is your game. It is more replayable in that regard due to the 12 different rulesets. It can even be paired with a copy of Flick 'Em Up for an interesting variant. If you want to stack pieces and build awesome towers, Tournament of Towers is the game for you. There is a wider variety of pieces and several that are more challenging to place than Junk Art. Or if you really like this style of dexterity game, get both and mix them together for the ultimate stacking game.
In summary, Tournament of Towers is easy to learn, fun to play and a great family friendly game. Whether you play for points or just try to combine pieces in new and inventive ways, you can’t go wrong adding this game to your collection. The Tournament of Towers crowdfunding campaign will be live on Kickstarter until June 25th.