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Lanky Lineup

Designed and illustrated by Ashley Stanford and published by Switch Off Games, Lanky Lineup is an easy-to-play set collection card game with a strong 'take that' element. Each of the 2-4 players is trying to lay out a police lineup of six suspects; each turn, playing one card from their hand and drawing another, but players aren't only able to lay down suspect cards - they can also play action cards that are designed to sabotage other players' lineups.

The set collection element of building your lineup is super simple, literally child's play. It's the sabotage that makes Lanky Lineup both chaotic and fun. As a player nears completion of their lineup, they'll increasingly become the target of 'take that' action cards, so you'll have the frustration of being tantalisingly close to success only to have your progress snatched from you. If you hold a 'Stop' card in your hand it offers you some protection but not against all action cards.

Even if and when you manage to complete your lineup, it's by no means an instant win. It's at this point you have to draw a 'Jailed Bandit' card which shows two numbers in the range 1-6. You then roll a d6 and it's only if you roll one of those two numbers that you're deemed to have caught the real criminal to win the game. If your roll fails to match either number, which is twice as likely as succeeding, you don't get another chance to end and win the game until your next turn, by which time 'take that' cards may well have removed cards from your lineup and left it incomplete...

Of course it's a game with a high luck factor, and the end-game condition feels a bit like those old roll & move games you used to play as a child where you had to roll a 6 to finish, but nonetheless there's a lot to like about Lanky Lineup. It can be played by all the family, provided your children and/or adults in the family aren't prone to sulking or throwing tantrums when targeted for 'take that' attacks. Most of the 'take that' action cards mandate instant actions: you are required to show and play the card as soon as you draw it. In our plays at Board's Eye View, some players expressed the view that they'd have liked to have had a tad more agency over gameplay and hand management, perhaps by having the option to hold onto more of the action cards. The rules offer the option of filleting some of the action cards out of the deck to speed up the game and reduce the 'take that' competitiveness so we suspect the designer would have no objection with experimenting with 'house rule' options that allow a player to hold onto rather than immediately play an 'instant action' card - tho' be warned, this will increase rather than reduce the end-game sniping frenzy! :-)

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