Table Golf: Review

Well, Fairway officially reviews his first golf game this week as he checks out the highly entertaining, card-flicking dexterity game, Table Golf, by Zagix LLC. Unlike real golf, there’s no hushed audience or silence from your friends when you’re playing this game. Find out how Fairway fairs in this ferociously difficult (for him) dexterity game.

Table Golf is two- to six-player dexterity game that pits players against each other in a card-flicking competition to sink a card-ball into a card-hole. Table Golf is published by Zagix and available on The Game Crafter.

Initial Impressions ^

  1. I’m terrible at card flicking. That’s nothing against the game, of course, but I’m terrible.
  2. The art is simple and effective.
  3. The hole construction mechanism is fun on its own.
  4. There is never enough table space to account for my card-flicking abilities.

Game play ^

Inside the deck of Table Golf is a complete nine-hole golf course (tee box, hole, and sand, water and rough hazards) and enough cards for up to six players.  At the start, each player is given one of the six colored ball cards.  Players will use these cards to flick them from a card-tee box to a card-hole.

At the start of each hole, a “weather” card is drawn.  The weather card determines any special conditions that apply to this particular hole.  For example, it might instruct you in a specific way to flick your card — these are some of the more difficult weather conditions.

Then, players actually construct the hole. A player places the tee box somewhere on the table and then shuffles of the hazard cards and the hole card together. The player deals them to all of the players. The player who receives the hole card determines its location.  Finally, all of the players take turns flicking hazards onto the play area. Once two of a hazard are flicked onto the play space, the remainder of those are placed touching the two on the play area.

Once the hole is setup, players take turns starting from the tee box and trying to flick their card from the tee box to the hole.  Just like in golf almost no one gets it in on the first try. And, just like real golf, my card usually ends up on one of the hazards.  If a card lands on the hazard, the player is required to flick their card in a special way: e.g., if you’re in the water you flick it with your thumb.

The person to make it into the hole first takes the “weather” card, which is the game’s way of keeping score.  You collect two weather cards if you get a hole in one.

On the green ^

While it’s taught me I’m terrible at flicking cards, Table Golf is a pretty great dexterity game with some nice features and comes in a very small package.

Course creation.  For me, it’s almost more fun than actually trying to get the ball in the hole. I like that placing the hazards is a combination of random flicking and fun, thoughtful (maybe malicious?) hazard card placement.  And because sometimes it’s just fun to create elaborate holes, we have let players alternate just creating a hole however they want without the random aspects.

Clever use of the dexterity mechanism.  The game perfectly replicates the frustration of golf for me. In some respects, it probably replicates the feeling of playing golf really well if you have a trained, card-flicking skill. There is something incredibly amusing about watching your opponents’ cards (or even your own) head for the hole and then… veer off the table.

Art. Alisha Volkman did the art for Table Golf. It brings to mind the cartoon-y feel of a miniature golf art. It fits so well with the game itself.

Weather cards.  The use of weather cards to keep score is also a really smart design move.  Not only do these cards make playing the game laughably difficult, but it’s nice not to have to use pencil and paper to keep track of who’s winning.

Optional (drinking) rules.  The designer has optional drinking rules for the game. That’s to be expected. It seems to be a perfect fit for that. I wouldn’t recommend trying to play this at a bar, though, unless it’s empty.

The game itself notes that things like the weather card rules are also optional to play with. For first timers, it’s probably a good idea to skip them for the first few holes, at least.

I’ll also note that Table Golf is amenable to all sorts of house rules that make it more enjoyable for the players.  I mentioned above that we like to construct our own holes.  We also tend to play that players can tie on any given hole, rather than awarding the hole to the first player in, which tends to give the first player a huge advantage.

Where it comes up short ^

This game is mostly what you’d expect.  One thing to note though is that there’s a first player advantage in the default rules. It doesn’t happen often that more than one player is able to get into the hole on the same flick, so it doesn’t really spoil the game. But the sixth player definitely feels cheated when it happens. We altered the rule for our games to let there be multiple winners on any given hole. We’ve also thought about having “tied” players flick their golf ball from the tee to see who gets closest to break the tie.

tablegIn the hole ^

Everyone I’ve played with enjoyed Table Golf. And with enough space and the right kind of group, Table Golf is hilariously fun game to play. Since there’s no real commitment, there’s quite a bit of entertainment in playing even just a few holes between games or while waiting for others.

You can pick up a copy of this game from The Game Crafter.

Quick note about sleeves: I picked up the version of the game before UV coating was a thing at The Game Crafter so everything is sleeved. If I had UV coating, I probably wouldn’t sleeve the golf ball cards since it’s much harder to flick them that way.

Table Golf is in the hole for a par. ^


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