Slapshot is a wheeling, dealing game for hockey fans. Each player assumes the role of team manager. The object is to skillfully manage your team into the playoffs and then win the championship. During the regular season you can improve your team with drafts and trades, but injuries can upset the best of plans. Ultimately, your skill as manager determines if your team wins or loses.
Slapshot includes 54 zany hockey players like Slash Gordon, Puck Rogers, Ian Jury, Cheap Shot, Le Goon, and Jack the Tripper. The new edition has high-quality playing cards with rounded corners.
Slapshot is fast, furious, fun, and simple to play. Lace up your skates and checkout the game celebrated as the closing game each year at the World Boardgame Championships.
Slapshot has been around for a long time. This edition from Columbia Games is actually the first chance that I have had to play Slapshot. It is a card game about hockey in which each player builds, loses, and rebuilds a team of six players in a bid to make it to the championship.
The game components are simple and well done. There are 54 different hockey player cards consisting of goalies, forwards, and defensemen. Additionally, there is a scoreboard and six wooden player tokens to move along the board. The board has eight slots that represent games that you need to win to reach the playoffs. Once a player reaches the playoffs, they pair off against the current second place player in a seven game championship series.
Sounds like this would take a long time doesn’t it? Nope, each game lasts about 30 seconds, so even with six players it moves fairly quickly.
At the start of the game the cards are split into three decks, one for each position. Then each player, called the manager in the game, selects six cards consisting of one goalie, two defensemen, and three forwards. Each of these cards has a number rating from 1 to 10; the higher the number, the better the player.
On your turn you can choose one of three actions:
Trade with another manager: Select a card from another player face down, and then give them a card back from your team of the same type. The other manager cannot refuse to trade with you.
Draft a new player: You can discard one of your crappy players to the bottom of their draw deck and draw a new one from the top.
Play a game: Challenge another manager, who cannot refuse to play.
Playing a game is easy. Simply arrange your stack of six cards however you like, or simply shuffle them. Each manager then draws the top card from their deck. Higher number scores a goal. In a tie, no goal is scored. If one player is a goalie, then the goal is blocked, and so on.
Repeat this with each card in your deck, flipping them up one at a time. The manager with the higher score wins the game. On a tie you shuffle and start dealing again, the first manager who scores wins.
One thing to watch, the challenger manager is considered the away team. The home team gets a one point advantage to start. So you should be confident you can overcome this deficit before you go challenging that other manager to a game.
The winning manager advances their token on the scoreboard one space.
Players can also get injured by “bruiser” player cards, which force you to draft a new player after a game is over.
Again, when one player reaches the space marked “Playoffs” on the board, they immediately play a series of seven games against the player in second place. The other players are out. The first player to win four games wins the championship. This takes all of about four minutes, so the other players won’t be sitting around for long.
That’s about it. The game is simple to play and moves pretty fast. The kids complained that there was no strategy involved, but I disagree. There is strategy in stacking your deck of players when playing a game, and knowing when to seal a card from another player or take your chances and draft one from the deck. Sure, it isn’t a lot of strategy, but it is a simple game that manages to convey a hockey theme.
It may be TOO simple, but I suppose more rules would just make it take longer and lose the benefit of speed.
The game’s sweet spot is 4-5 players, as 2-3 players just aren’t as fun and 6 starts to drag a bit. In fact, playing with two players seems kind of pointless really. One thing that bothered me, there should be two extra tokens for keeping track of the score of an individual game on the board. It isn’t hard to keep track of the score in a game, but the tokens would be a nice touch to make it effortless. You could just use anything I suppose, but I’d like it included.
I thought it was an ok game and there was some fun involved. If you like hockey; this makes a good filler or game to play while watching a game on TV. Get the guys involved, grab a few beers, and play out a season in under an hour.