Bundles of Fun - A Review of Magnets: The Game

Magnets: The Game

Magnets: The Game is a new magnet tossing dexterity game similar to AttrAction, but with some key differences. If you love magnets, read on for a summary of the game and an assessment from a fellow magnet-lover.

Game Play

In Magnets: The Game, players begin by placing a circular, rubber ring on the table. Each player is given 5 magnets, and the remaining are dispersed around the center of the ring. Players then take turns tossing a magnet from outside the ring, trying to create bundles (stacks) of magnets. Any stacks of 4 or more magnets are retrieved by the player and added to his hand for future turns.

If a magnet lands outside of the ring, it is collected into a common stack for "charitable distribution" — these magnets are given out, one at a time, to players who have run out of magnets.

The game ends when all of the magnets have been retrieved. The player with the most magnets wins.

Magnets: The Game

Review

Anyone who has played AttrAction will invariably notice the similarities between the two games. However, there are some key differences that set Magnets apart:

  1. Each magnet is a uniform size and shape — a flat, round disc about the diameter of a dime. This gives the game a bit more predictability, but it also gives the magnets the ability to roll, which adds to the fun of the game.
  2. The magnets are tossed into a ring as opposed to anywhere on the table. The size of the ring can be adjusted for difficulty — the smaller the ring, the easier the game. This feature allows the game to be played on smaller tables — combined with the small magnet size, this feature makes Magnets more portable.
  3. Charitable distribution. When a magnet is tossed out of bounds, it isn't just lost by the player who tossed it — instead, it is given to a player who is out of magnets, making it a tool for that player to get back in the game and possibly come back for the win.

We found the gameplay of Magnets to be very enjoyable, with one exception: the game seemed to drag on forever as players tried to gather up the last magnet. The problem is that in order to win, all of the magnets must be retrieved. However, they can only be retrieved in bundles of 4. This means that with only 1 to 2 magnets left in the ring, players must toss their magnets inside without a chance of winning the game. Smart players will not want to set up an opponent for the win, so they will toss their magnet away from the others. This creates a continual loop where the game almost ends, but doesn't unless there is only one bundle of 3 magnets remaining.

We brought up our concerns to the publisher, as well some possible alternative rules to fix it: 1) end the game when there are fewer than 3 magnets remaining, or 2) allow players to toss up to 3 magnets at a time. Fortunately, the publisher took our feedback seriously and has added a variant to the game based on our first suggestion.

Final Word

With a slight rule variation, the additional features of Magnets make it a great alternative to AttrAction, with a bit more portability, predictability, and balance. If you like to support independent publishers, it is all the more reason to give this game a try.

Pros: Fun dexterity game, strong magnets, good components, portable tin case

Cons: Repetitive end game in the standard rules

Full disclosure: we received a complimentary review copy of this game.