Back for more, eh? It wasn’t enough that you felled the first tree when you were simply trying to harvest the bark. No, now you’ve been practicing. Your skills have leveled up, and you’re ready for a new challenge, like going for the golden bark or using hidden grubs to your advantage. And you’ve even sharpened your special tiny golden ax for good measure.
How It Works
The gameplay for Click Clack Lumberjack is identical to that of Toc Toc Woodman (see my earlier review). But it’s short, so here’s the gist: players take turns getting two hits on the trunk of the tree. Any bark that falls off is worth 1 point, any core pieces that fall off are worth -5. The game ends whenever all the bark is off the tree. The player with the most points wins.
There are a few additional variants available for Click Clack Lumberjack. First are grubs, which are indicated by stickers on some bark pieces (and included in the box). If a player knocks a piece of grub bark off the tree, they must make an additional hit on the tree.
There is the golden bark variant (sold separately). There’s an additional tree ring with golden bark and golden core. Each gold piece knocked off is worth double points (positive or negative).
Finally, there is the golden ax variant (also sold separately). For one hit per turn, a player may use the golden ax. Any points gained by the golden ax (again, positive or negative) count double.
Chopping Lumber or Sawing Logs?
Click Clack Lumberjack is the second edition of Toc Toc Woodman (the title change presumably making the game more English friendly while eliminating the bad translation vibe of the original). There is very little discernible difference between Toc Toc Woodman and Click Clack Lumberjack. And that is exactly how I would want it.
The fact is, if you own Toc Toc Woodman, you don’t need Click Clack Lumberjack. Functionally, they are the same game. If you don’t have Click Clack Lumberjack–well, that’s just silly. This is a game just about everyone should have (for the reasons I’ll enumerate below), and you’re not just cheating yourself but your friends and family also if you don’t have it.
There are a few small differences between Toc Toc and Click Clack, and all of these differences (besides, arguably, the title change) side in favor of Click Clack, but again, probably not to the point where you need to buy the newer version if you have the old one. First, the game comes in a more reasonably sized box. It’s still an odd-size box, but not so odd that you’ll have trouble fitting it on a shelf. It holds the pieces nicely, and while it’s not as sturdy as the old box, it’s sturdy enough for the game contents. Second, the rules are reprinted to fit in the smaller box and are a little nicer. And third, there is a variant included in the box–grub stickers that are applied to pieces of bark that cause the player who knocks them off to make another hit on the tree.
So if Click Clack Lumberjack is the same game as Toc Toc Woodman, has my opinion of the game changed since my last review?
Yes. Click Clack Lumberjack is better than I said it was last time. And let me tell you why.
Since my last review (and since receiving the new version of the game), I have played many more times, and with a wider range of people. I’ve now played with adults who don’t usually play games, with children, and with mixes of all age groups and gaming experiences, and it has always gone over well. I played the game with my four-year-old niece, and she loved it. I played with my two-and-a-half-year-old niece and…she wasn’t very good at it. But she had a good time. I played with people my own age, with my mom, with other adults. I played with some people who don’t usually play games, and they were cheering for the tree to fall on others in no time (and usually won). This game plays very well with most ages and experience levels because, let’s face it: no one is very good at wielding the tiny ax. It also doesn’t hurt that the rules can–literally–be explained in under a minute or from just a quick glance at the box. Because of the game’s versatility, it is currently (and likely to remain) my most played game of 2013.
But Click Clack Lumberjack, while a game for everyone, certainly has its niche. It is by no means a meaty or weighty game (except in the components sense–they’re a little hefty). It is intended as a dexterity filler, so I’d say two or three games is its limit in one sitting (though it’s great to bring out over multiple sittings).
There are a few variants available for Click Clack Lumberjack to add to the game’s complexity and strategy (such as it is). The first–the grub sitckers–is included in the box. I didn’t mind playing with it, but it also doesn’t feel essential to me (though I could see some groups really enjoying it, especially as it does add some challenge, especially when the tree is in a more precarious state). The second variant–the golden bark–is available as a separate purchase. I really enjoy this variant and would include it with non-kid players (and even with them; it doesn’t make the game much more complex). Hitting the golden bark off gives players a more strategic target, and finding the golden core (whenever that happens) gives players something to avoid. This variant is fun because it ups the strategy without impacting the complexity much. I didn’t care for the third variant (also available as a separate purchase)–the golden ax. The bookkeeping is a little more difficult–which pieces did I get with the golden ax again?–and for a game of this nature, any added bookkeeping stifles the fun for me. Some players will like it because, again, it adds another layer to the game. For me I think the base game with the golden core is the ideal setup.
Click Clack Lumberjack shares the functional components of Toc Toc Woodman, and they are still top notch. Dexterity games in particular rise or fall on component quality, and Click Clack Lumberjack excels here. The bark fits just right within the tree so that it holds together on the horizontal plane but slides out effortlessly if knocked off its perch. Gravity holds the tree together well because the components do their bit. The toy factor of the tree and bark makes this one nice to look at, and the tiny ax evens the playing field between old and young, experienced and not. I have no complaints about the components.
I know dexterity games aren’t everyone’s bag, but Click Clack Lumberjack is a versatile game that could (should?) find a home in most gamers’ collections. It’s more interesting than Jenga, funnier than Crokinole, better looking than Sorry! Sliders. It’s quick, it’s simple, it’s good for kids or adults. I highly recommend giving this one a try.
iSlaytheDragon.com would like to thank Mayday Games for providing us with a review copy of Click Clack Lumberjack. You can find the game on their website.