TABLETOP GAME REVIEW: Hoop Godz
As tabletop games go, sports related games like Hoop Godz are hard to come by. Just googling basketball board games brings up a ton of old school strategy sim styled stat intensive bore fests. Thankfully, Hoop Godz is a fast paced competitive street ball game with a system that makes sense.
Sports like basketball are fast paced and involve a lot of simultaneous player movement and positioning. As a result, having a game system that can account for that is critical. Hoop Godz achieves this by modeling a 3 on 3 street ball game using unique characters, a court made of hexagons, and a mix of cards and dice to carry out all actions.
Before you even begin playing, the game components provided instantly get you excited. The cards for each of the 9 players provided pack a decent amount of info on them without overwhelming you. With an icon for player size and an explanation of their special skill, you instantly get a feel for what you must consider when playing the game. Some players move around the board better than others. Some rebound or dunk better than others based on where they are on the board. As a result, you can see how picking players will affect your playstyle. Not only that, you can quickly see the opportunity for expansions that add more players.
Without completely explaining how the game is played, the anchor of the gameplay is how the actions are carried out. Actions like shooting, blocking, rebounding, and stealing are all carried out with rolling a set number of dice. Cards that you hold provide the information telling you what die roll faces you must have to carry out the action. The thing that separates it from the pack is that the die rolls for offense and defense are carried out in ‘real time’. Both competing players roll and reroll until one side gets the combination shown on the cards. This dynamic adds a bit of tension and energy to an otherwise one and done element of gameplay that could really steal the energy or excitement from the gameplay.
This interesting dynamic could also be a sticking point for players to argue over. Many times in games that require competitive dice rolls, people will drop a die rather than actually roll them as they aim to kind of ‘cheat’ the system to get the result they want. This can lead to arguments for those too competitive to enjoy the fact that this is just a game. With adults, this may not be much of an issue, but I could see this as a recurring issue with kids that are 13 and under.
The balance for the whole game that makes every action you do strategic is the Juice system. This brilliantly acts as a stamina bar. Juice is used to carry out all actions. You can even use extra juice to improve your chance of success. Since you always have a limited amount of juice, when to ‘enhance’ is where a lot of your strategy is. If you use too much juice on one turn just to get into position to score, you may not have enough to counter the defense when you actually shoot. Bundle this with player position on the court itself and you have a recipe for play mechanics that require quite a bit of thought…and luck (aka quick rolling).
As this game grows, it will be interesting to see whether or not this system could be expanded to a 5 on 5 game. Personally, I imagine doing so would make turns a bit longer which would slow down the gameplay too much. Also, a one player mode that randomizes the opposition movement on the court would be interesting as well.
Trying to poke holes in the game mechanics for Hoop Godz is hard to do. While reading through the instructions was a little confusing at first (had to watch a Youtube vid with my 8 year old), we eventually got into a groove that was enjoyable. Since there are slim to none on the tabletop market, actually having a system that works is a HUGE achievement. Sports fans looking for a little family oriented board game action will absolutely love Hoop Godz!
Looking for more tabletop game reviews? Check out more of BJ Brown’s posts, right here on ForAllNerds.com!