Skal! is a Viking toast and, in this filler-length dice-stacking dexterity speed game from Andrew Prowse, it's what you're required to call out triumphantly when you complete construction of the shape shown on a card.
The 2-6 players each represent one of the Norse gods. You have a player mat in that god's colour and showing their preferred dice face. You start off with four dice matching your colour and you use them in your construction but you'll need to grab more dice from the central pool. If you're the first to build the shape on a card, you give the Skal! toast and you win that card, which is worth a point.
Stepping up to the next 'level' of difficulty you can build cards that require a particular die face to be showing or which demand a tougher balancing challenge: these all score 2 points. It's a speed game and something of a race because the game is won by the first player to reach an agreed number of points: 12 points for a two-player game; 9 or 10 for 3-6 players.
There are further optional rules you can introduce to further step up the difficulty. Players can invoke a challenge requiring everyone to shut an eye (indeed, there's even a card that requires you to build blind - ie: with both eyes shut!) and you can require everyone to use only one arm. You can also play giving each god their own special power.
As an option for four or six players, you pair people up and they have to alternate their die placement. In our Board's Eye View plays, we found this team variant especially challenging. The rules even include a solitaire option but that seemed to us to lose much of the fun of the game, which stems from the competition that drives you to risk sacrificing dexterity for speed. Besides, if you play solo who will hear you when you cry out Skal!?
Skal! is obviously designed as a drinking game where the winner of each point doesn't just call out Skal! but they down a drink. If you play it as a drinking game then the unsteadying effect of alcohol provides an in-built catch-up mechanic! Our preview copy of the game came with tiny metal tumblers. These are size of shot glasses so they don't hold much foaming ale but if you fill them with spirits you can expect to get very drunk very fast! Happily, you don't need to be heavily intoxicated to enjoy this game!
Skal! is coming to Kickstarter in October. We'll add a link when the campaign goes live.
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