AttrAction (Game Review)

Jul 29 2013

AttrActionThis cannot be a review of AttrAction, precisely, because AttrAction is so simple.

Imagine a handful of rare-Earth magnets, each a misshapen cube. Spread them out on a table. Now, play a sort of billiards with them: pick up a magnet and flick it towards other magnets. It will slide across the table, pulling other magnets into a chain. Grab the chain, then acquiesce to the next player. When your turn comes around again, pull a magnet off your chain and flick that towards the remaining magnets.

This seems simple, until you discover that the magnets’ unusual shape hides a strategic feature. Balanced vertically, they attract. Once a magnet falls over, though, it repels other magnets unless they carom in unpredictable patterns. As the game continues, collecting further magnets grows hard indeed.

That’s the entire game. The official rules suggest some minor variations, such as re-distributing stones each turn and scoring chain lengths across multiple turns. But in terms of mechanics, that’s it.

AttrAction is a fairly shallow game, but this belies its strength: it’s a perfect game to start people playing something. Pull out a bag of magnets and start fiddling with them, and people will crane their necks and ask questions. Then you can get a game going. Then maybe you can get other games going.

Moreover, you can come back to AttrAction often for a casual game. Break it out occasionally for a simple, easy-to-grasp contest suitable for just about any age (though note that AttrAction should not be played around dogs or very small children; the magnets are very dangerous if inside a stomach. Apologies for the grisly image.)

In any event, I enjoy AttrAction every time I bring it out. It’s an easy game that few refuse to play.

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