To mark 10 years since it originally hit stores, Asmodee has just released a Dobble 10th Anniversary Collector Edition, with the game known as Spot It! in the United States. Spawning many spin offs over the years, from Star Wars to Harry Potter variants, Dobble has now been entertaining gamers for a decade. Using simple speedy pattern matching, Dobble is for 2 – 8 players and a single game takes about 10 minutes. However, is the game still able to entertain players a decade on? Let’s find out!
Dobble isn’t just one game. With the circular cards shuffled there are multiple game modes that can be played, from the tower to hot potato. Each mode has one thing in common, each card has 1 symbol in common with every other card. Regardless of if players are trying to get rid of the pile of cards stacked in front of them, give cards to opponents or gain as many as possible, it is always done by finding what matches between cards.
For example in the tower game mode players start with a single card face down and a pile of the remaining cards face up in the middle, for all to see. When the game begins everyone flips over their card and attempts to find the symbol that is on their card and the one on top of the central stack. Whoever is the first to find and call the match takes the card from the pile, with it becoming their new card to match. The player with the most cards when the central pile runs out wins the game.
The other modes shake things up. The Well is the inverse of the tower seeing players starting with an equal stack of cards and attempting to rid themselves of cards by matching with the central stack. Hot Potato sees everyone holding a single card, attempting to match it with a card in someone else’s hand to get rid of it. Poisoned Gift is the first of two modes that see three cards needing to be matched, your card, the central stack and an opponent’s – where you give the matching set to an opponent as negative points, hence the name of a poisoned gift. Triplet sees a grid of nine cards made and whoever spots three cards with a matching symbol claims them.
Players aren’t just getting one set of cards in this collector’s edition, with both sets playing the same and they cannot be mixed. The first set is to some extent normal, with white cards which feature 8 symbols. A couple of the symbols have special golden outlines, making them stand out and the card have that little extra flair. The edges of the cards could have had the gold trim touch, akin to how the edges of the cards in Spicy have a golden finish. While it would have been an unnecessary touch it could have elevated the set to a stunning level.
The second set of cards has that bit extra going for it. Glowing in the dark, the second set features Halloween like icons – so it is a shame to have just missed out the spooky season this year. The spooky symbols do glow in the dark but you’ll have to be patient. Putting it into context the image in this review was taken over 30 seconds to show the glow. While it is noticeable to the naked eye it’s probably not enough to play by. It is therefore a nicety that verges on a gimmick, unless you want to spend a full day prepping the cards by laying them out on a table in full sunlight. The glow in the dark aspect is therefore not enough of a reason to buy the set on its own. Still, if you have the set it could make for an odd but unique experience.
When we reviewed the Harry Potter edition of Dobble one issue we had was naming the symbols. Being specific characters meant that those not very up to speed with Harry Potter were somewhat alienated when playing. With Dobble 10th Anniversary Collector Edition there is none of that, with the only times players have been tripped up is when they forgot what a pinata or a voodoo doll were called. It ends up more inclusive as a result, with everyone able to jump in and play, and not feel stupid for not knowing a symbol.
To house the two decks the Dobble 10th Anniversary Collector Edition comes with a giant tin, wider rather than deeper than the tin which the original game comes in. The cards aren’t giant to match, therefore the Dobble cards still fit nicely into your hand, as too much larger might make holding the cards the hot potato variant a bit awkward. The downside of the larger tin is that it’s harder to throw into a bag to take with you. The portability of Dobble is one of its strengths and that is lessened by having a larger tin. There wouldn’t be a better way of squeezing in the two decks though.
With unchanged gameplay the Dobble 10th Anniversary Collector Edition doesn’t try something new, instead it is meant as a celebration of the entertainment that the game can provide. Dobble is the sort of game that levels many a playing field. Whether there is a mixture of experience or age, all can compete equally in the fast paced pattern recognition fun. As a set, the Dobble 10th Anniversary Collector Edition doesn’t do too much to expand on that, though the saying “if it’s not broken don’t fix it” comes to mind. This edition takes the core experience, with easily recognisable illustrations, and provides two fun decks to play with. It would be a great gift to someone that loves Dobble or a family that’s never played before for Christmas!
(Editor’s Note: Dobble 10th Anniversary Collector Edition was provided to us by Asmodee for the review. The game is currently available from local board game stores! Find your local store here.)