Sitting snugly in their tiny round tin, the cards which make up the game Dobble seem fairly innocuous. It’s hard to imagine that those small round cards can lead to frantic, fast paced game play, good natured insults, and extreme jubilance.
Type: Card Game
Players: 2- 8 (3-4 seems to work best)
Play time: Around 10 minutes
Dobble is a pattern recognition game, which in simple terms makes it a bit like snap – when you see two matching things, then you’re in luck! It is however very much different to snap, in the sense that you will always find a match regardless of which two cards you have (how does that even work? I’ve spent quite some time pondering this!).
The trick is to be the first person to identify which symbol on the card is the one which you have a pair of.
It sounds simple, but at times it can be frustratingly difficult, being unable to see for looking. Often, small people seem to be much more adept at identifying the correct symbol than their adult counterparts – and that’s why Dobble is such a great family game – because gameplay relies solely on matching symbols, even young children can pick up the simple rules easily and play with no problems. The game suggests it is appropriate for age 7+, however having played it with my 3 year old, it’s clear that it can be effectively used by a much younger age group than that.
There are two different versions of gameplay. The first, more simple version is where one card is placed in the middle of the table, one card is dealt face down to each player, and the remainder on a draw pile next to the initial card. Once everyone is ready, the dealt cards are flipped over and players race to identify which symbol on the game card and their own card matches. Whoever is first to match their symbol claims the card which is in play, another is turned over and the game continues until all the cards have been drawn. The winner is the player with the most cards in their hand at the end of the game.
The second version also begins with one card being placed in play in the middle of the table, but then the remainder of the cards are dealt out face down equally between players (any extra odd cards are placed back in the tin). When everyone is ready, all players flip over the top card in their hand and the race is on to identify the matching symbol with the card in play. As soon as a player matches the symbol, they shout out what it is and place the card in their hand on top of the one in the middle, making it the new card in play. Each player then has to identify which symbol matches for the new card. The winner is the player who discards all the cards in their hand first.
For younger players, or anyone who has not played before, the first version is slower and a better introduction to the game… but after a few rounds the more frantic, frustrating pace of the second version adds an extra element of fun (and competition!).
Priced at around a tenner, you can’t go wrong with Dobble, whether you want a quick appetite-whetter of a game to play with friends before diving deep into some strategy, something to play with family of all different ages, or just something to play on your own to tax your brain with.
I am a member of the Asmodee UK Blogger Board Game Club, we are sent one game a month to put through it’s paces before letting you know what we think of it.