Smak Review: An Outdoor Throwing Game from Helvetiq | Casual Game Revolution

Smak Review: An Outdoor Throwing Game from Helvetiq


Outdoor games can tick a lot of boxes: a fun way to get outside, an activity for picnics and backyard parties, and a nice element of nostalgia.

From Swiss publishers Helvetiq, Smak has you tossing wooden batons and knocking down towers to score points and hopefully win the game. But will it get you from the game table to the backyard?


Players start by splitting into two teams, which will throw from opposite sides of the playing area. There are twelve wooden towers which players set up in the playing area to form a rough X-shape. One side of each tower is red, with the opposite side being blue. Each side of a tower shows a different number of points. The side that matches your team color is the number of points it’s worth if your team manages to knock it down, while the opposite side is how many points it will be worth for the other team, if they knock it down.

In the very center of the play area, you stack four mini-towers on top of each other. This is the flag tower.

There are three wooden batons: two attack batons, and one defense. At the start of your team’s turn, you throw the defense baton, attempting to knock down one of the mini-towers from the flag. If you succeed, one mini-tower is removed from the flag, and any towers your opponents knocked down last turn are set back up. If you fail, any towers knocked down are set aside to be scored at the end of the game, and if there are currently any mini-towers missing from the flag, another one is added, making it easier to hit next turn.

Next, your team throws the attack batons. Your goal is to knock down a single tower with each baton; if you knock down more than one in a throw, the towers are put back up.

When throwing, you stay behind your team’s baseline, which is three paces from the nearest towers placed during setup. It must be an underarm throw, with one end pointing in the direction you are aiming for (the baton may not rotate horizontally in flight).

After your team has thrown all three batons, it is now the other team’s turn. The game continues until all towers have been knocked over and scored. The team with the most points wins.

Smak components


Smak’s rules are simple and straightforward, easy to grasp and teach. The two-sided towers are a clever mechanic that keeps the game feeling competitive. While both sides are trying to knock over the same towers, there is also some strategy involved in deciding which pieces to aim for. Those closest to you are worth fewer points, but they are also worth more points to the other team.

The directions for setup are written clearly in the rulebook, with measurements given in steps for most of the pieces and inches and centimeters for the few that are clustered around in the center. Consistency is really more key than exactness. Familiarity with the game would make for quick setup time, while newcomers don’t have too difficult a time learning, nor are there too many pieces to have to deal with.

There is a nice cloth bag included in the game to make it easy to transport, and the pieces are light enough to be portable but don’t feel cheap or tacky (though there was a very little bit of color transference on a small number of the pieces). They’re all made from a nice wood, the batons are easy to throw, and the towers easy to place. Since it’s all about throwing, rather than rolling any components, the types of terrain can vary.

There’s no cohesive theme or standout set piece that might lure someone to try Smak who isn’t typically a fan of outdoor games, but for those who like the genre, Smak is well-produced and has a flexible player count, not needing teams to be even. It’s satisfying when you make a good toss, and it’s always enjoyable to knock some things down.

Pros: Well produced, easy setup and rules, some strategy involved in choosing which towers to aim for

Cons: May fail to attract people who are already uninterested in outdoor games

Disclosure: we received a complimentary review copy of this game.