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Mini Plakks

Board's Eye View is based in Tunbridge Wells in Kent in the United Kingdom. That also happens to be the home of Subbuteo, the famous finger-flicking football game. Many soccer fans grew up playing Subbuteo so any game combining flicking and football is bound to stir pangs of nostalgia. But whereas Subbuteo demanded a large table or floor space for its baize playing surface, Jordi Dominguez and Haritz Mugica's design for Mini Plakks has given us a flicking football game that could hardly be any more comnpact.



Open up the box and what you find inside is a hinged wooden board that unfolds to create a 33 x 25 cm pitch. You assemble the plastic goals at each end and a cloth bag contains pegs that are slotted into holes in the pitch to represent players. There are nine holes on each side and you only use six pegs so, theoretically at least, there may be tactical choices to be made over where to position your pegs. In practice, we found there were advantages and disadvantages in every layout: pegs placed close to your goal in the hope that they might offer some protection against an opponent's shots at goal will just as easily give your opponent an opportunity to score from a rebound.


In practice the pegs mainly function as a scoring mechanic: you take one of your pegs off every time your opponent scores a goal. If the pegs were intended to offer any advantage then this would be the very opposite of a catch-up mechanic.


Forget tactics - Mini Plakks is a fast, fun dexterity game where players alternate in their attempts to flick the ball into their opponent's goal. You have control of a goalkeeper, so quick-reflex defending is at least as much of a requisite skill as accurate flicking. You win when you score a final goal from a rebound against the walls after all your opponent's pegs have gone, so the game's not over till that final ball hits the back of the net, which keeps the game exciting right up to the finish.




There are cards that shake things up just a bit: each player chooses a card at the start of the game that they keep concealed until they choose to reveal it for its single-use effect... We found some cards were more useful than others. The card that lets you recover a 'player' (peg) has the effect of increasing the number of goals your opponent has to score to win. It's a much more reliable boost that the card that makes your next kick count as two goals if you score. The possibility tho' that your opponent might have taken the two goals card makes the 'nullify a goal' card the most valuable: at worst it has the same effect as the 'recover a player' card but it would negate two goals if your opponent's goal would've counted double. We wouldn't recommend choosing the card that just makes your opponent play their next three 'kicks' with their less dominant hand but there could be merit in choosing the card that prevents your opponent from using their goalkeeper for the next three 'kicks': if your flicks are usually on target, that card could potentially give you three goals.


A big plus for Mini Plakks is that it's never going to outstay its welcome: it doesn't take 90 minutes to finish a game. Even with good goalkeeping skills, you can expect to play Mini Plakks in around 15 minutes; less if players are not such dab hands at fending off each other's shots on goal. So it's a game you can probably play at half-time while watching a match.


As with other titles in the Plakks Entertainment range, Mini Plakks is well-made. It's a compact package that will make a great stocking filler for football-mad youngsters. And if the red and blue pegs aren't thematic enough for you, the game even comes with a sheet of stickers designed for you to use with a printer to print 'shirt' designs to match those of your favourite teams!


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