Updated: Dec 12, 2019
Published by Korea Boardgames, Topito is a rather clever pattern building and dexterity game with attractive, appealing components, including three cardboard podiums and a set of nine wooden blocks each featuring a circus animal or character.
Players each draw four cards from the deck of 48. Each card has on it an illustration showing one or more of the blocks and indicating how or where it needs to be. Some show just one block but specify where it must appear in a stack. Some show multiple blocks and the order in which they must be stacked. Other cards may show three blocks and a coloured podium: these can be stacked in any order provided they are on that podium.
In a player’s turn they may choose any one block not yet in play and place it on top of any existing stack or on an empty podium. The other option they have is to move any block or stacks of blocks already in play. This latter action involves dexterity because players are only allowed to hold the lowest block of the stack they are moving and they can only use one hand (the rules allow children exemption from this restriction). The only other limitation is that a player cannot simply reverse the previous player’s last action.
Though you can see the cards in the 360 view here, in normal play each players’ cards are hidden from view so no-one knows exactly what combinations their opponents are trying to achieve; they will need to be alert to the repositioning others make because this may tip them off as to their opponents’ objectives. In Topito, you can inadvertently assist your opponent and players can score their card by calling out “photo time” at any time when an arrangement of blocks meets the requirement of one of their cards – including on another player’s turn. Players draw their hands back up to four when they successfully complete an objective.
Topito may have the outward appearance of a children’s party game, and it can be played as such, but there is a challenging strategy game here too as players vie to be the first to complete the objectives on seven cards. There is scope for bluff and misdirection as players try to fool others as to the objective they are trying to achieve. On the other hand, this is a game where a fortunate card draw can affect the outcome, so don’t invest too much intellectual capital in your plans. Luck of the draw aside, it isn’t just children who will enjoy this game.