I’ve been eyeing for quite some time already, but I’ve never really had the chance to try it until last February. The game is called Toc Toc Woodman:
Before I talk about this game though, let me talk about two of it’s predecessors that is famous enough for some people to know about it. First is Jenga, a game where players stack wooden blocks (a total of 54) on top of one another to form a tall tower. Once built, each player takes turns removing a block from the tower, then places the removed block back on top. If the tower collapses, the player who last pulled a block without causing the structure to fall wins the game. This is what I’d consider to be a mainstream game as it is available in local malls and toy stores.
Uno Stacko is a popular tower stacking game that combines the game mechanics of the original Uno card game and of Jenga. Instead of having regular wooden blocks, Uno Stacko has colored blocks with numbers printed on them which dictate the next block that can be pulled from the tower. For example, I pulled a red block with the number 3. The player that comes after me has to either pull a red block or a block with the number 3. There are also special blocks that reverse the turn order just to keep the players on their toes. Consistent with Jenga, the player who last pulled a block without causing the structure to collapse wins the game.
Toc Toc Woodman is a similar game where the game pieces form a tower, but instead of involving rectangular blocks, the game pieces are in the form of a tree. The game pieces comprise of the tree base and several pieces of bark and core. To build a section of the tree, you need to attach four pieces of bark to one core piece:
You then place each section on top of each other, with the base (the roots) at the very bottom, until it looks like this:
Instead of removing one piece at a time, a player is given two attempts to hack at the tree each turn with an axe to try and knock the bark off of the tree without making a core fall off:
Of course, we can’t really prevent pieces of core from falling off the tree. As long as there are remaining sections of the tree, the game will continue. Each bark piece that you knock off the tree earns you one point, and you lose 5 points for each core piece knocked off.
Sound simple? Well, yes, the rules are quite simple, but the game in practice offers quite the challenge. First of all, nobody said anything about knocking bark off the upper sections – you can aim at the middle or even bottom sections right away, making the tree bend at such precarious angles:
After some time, the tree is sure to end up all crooked and bent, like this:
Once all the bark has been removed from the tree, the player with the highest score wins. Believe me, it’s a lot of fun – we couldn’t help but laugh out loud awkwardly while the game was happening. Definitely a game that I’m going to get a copy of soon.