Dobble 360 is a standalone speed matching game with a spinning twist, from Asmodee UK and Zygomatic. The game sees 2 – 6 players attempting to match symbols on cards, just like regular Dobble. However, the 360 element comes into play as the cards will be rotating on the central Dobble Tower! With games lasting around 5 – 10 minutes, symbols will be matched, cards won and a winner crowned. Is the twist an entertaining one and is it enough for fans of the series to pick up this new edition? Let’s find out!
Dobble 360 comes with 55 Dobble cards, featuring new pictures, and a rulebook describing multiple game modes. The first of these, aptly named Dobble 360, is the main attraction. It uses the Dobble Tower, with the other modes, such as the well and hot potato, from regular Dobble. To play the Dobble 360 mode one of the players needs to split the deck roughly evenly, adding each half to a side of the tower. The Dobble Tower has a slot on each side for the cards, with clear plastic windows to keep the cards from falling out. After adding 3 AAA batteries, with everyone sitting around the table, the game is ready to begin.
Slightly tapping down the top of the tower the rotation starts and won’t stop until it is pushed down again. The game is now going with players having to find the picture which appears on both “visible” cards. Visible is in quotes as players will only be able to see one of the two cards at any one time, due to the rotating tower. All of the 55 cards feature 8 pictures and regardless of which two cards from the deck are on show one picture will be on both cards. Note the size of the picture and the orientation of it might differ but one of the pictures will be on both.
The aim is a simple one, notice which picture is on both cards and shout it out first. If correct, the fastest player wins the two cards. The game instantly moves onto the next round with the two newly revealed cards being those that players need to find the new matching pair of pictures on. The game continues until the cards have run out, with one being left over – it is a 55 card deck after all. At this point the winner is whoever won the most cards, with ties seeing the victory shared.
Dobble 360 takes the frantic speed matching and thoroughly entertaining Dobble experience and, literally, puts a twist on it. The combination of speed matching and memory seems to work perfectly. Regardless of the version of Dobble that you play there is always a pressure. Staring at the cards on the table as time passes the pressure for someone to spot the pair of matching pictures rises. With Dobble 360 this is only increased as there is the pressure on the side of a memory game. Players will inevitably start questioning themselves. Rather than making many incorrect guesses players take a little longer to shout out an answer, though not by enough to drastically lengthen the experience.
There is one point with the regular Dobble games that can be a little awkward, when a card is won by someone and the next card must be flipped over. There can be a split second when someone, either the flipper or the rest of the players, sees the card ahead of time. It feels a little like cheating but realistically it isn’t unless done on purpose. This is gone in Dobble 360 as players cannot see both cards until after the base has rotated. So, everyone is in the same boat.
Dobble 360 is more expensive than the regular edition of Dobble, and a little more compared to the IP themed decks – such as Frozen Dobble. This increase is for the Dobble Tower itself, with the game still coming with 55 cards like the other sets. Interestingly, the cards included are smaller than those in the Dobble Collector’s Edition which was released recently, though those cards still fit into the tower. Therefore, gamers will be able to swap out the cards if they wish. There is also the fact that the rulebook does include multiple game modes, the standard modes of Dobble, that don’t use the Dobble Tower. While families will get this version for the tower, it is nice to see that it can be bought and used like a standard Dobble if players wish.
New illustrations grace the cards, with a total of 57 new little symbols to match. These range from diamonds to a bowling ball and the classic Dobble hand. While colours are reused to make it a little more difficult to find the matching pictures instantly, each has a unique silhouette. They are also commonly known things and items. This makes the experience instantly accessible unlike Harry Potter Dobble, where players need to know a lot about Harry Potter to be able to name some of the illustrations.
For a product that is going to be used over and over again, the build quality of Dobble 360’s tower should last. While on the light side, the product doesn’t wiggle when shaken and attempting to stop it spinning when powered on doesn’t result in any worrying breaking like noises. The clear plastic bit over the bottom of the cards doesn’t hamper the view of the cards at all – to the extent players forget it is there during play. It isn’t completely a faultless design though. While flat at the offset of the game, sometimes when half the deck fills the slot, as cards are taken, the remaining cards tilt forward. This makes it potentially awkward to see, without tilting or leaning down, depending on the height of the surface you are using. Thankfully, the tilt isn’t game breaking, but you’d expect the cards to lean the opposite way to maintain visibility.
One of the selling points of standard Dobble editions is the portability. Dobble 360 doesn’t come in one of the small metal tins, instead in a taller plastic packaging. It’ll still fit in a bag but it’ll take up most of it, unlike Dobble that can fit in a gap. The packaging probably needs to be kept. Otherwise there is limited protection for the deck of Dobble 360 cards. It can be a little fiddly to put the top back on that keeps everything inside from rattling around, as inevitably you accidentally push the top down and the tower starts to try and rotate. Having an off setting in addition to a speed switch would have negated this, though the push down on/off system does otherwise work flawlessly.
Having two speeds is a nice touch. For adults playing the slower of the two is too slow, as you start to see players leaning around to see the card on the other side. That being said, it gives players that bit longer, so will surely be useful for younger players that want to get involved. Seemingly not just doubling the speed, the faster of the two makes it hard to see all of the symbols before the opposite card has rotated and come into view. This speed works well with the normal Dobble panic perfectly, perhaps even eclipsing the panic from players – in a good, lighthearted, way of course.
Dobble has always been a go to, quick to play, game, which anyone can join in and provides a good kind of pressure. Adding the 360 degree rotation isn’t necessary but it sure is a fun twist, with the memory aspect aligning with the pressure that Dobble always creates. Having the ability to swap out the included deck for others you already own, including the IP branded decks, gives the Dobble Tower itself more chance to hit the table. The tilting of the cards in the holder is annoying but is only slightly detrimental to the experience. It’s certainly not enough to stop Dobble 360 from being the version I grab off the shelf when a quick entertaining party game is needed.
(Editor’s Note: Dobble 360 was provided to us by Asmodee for the review. The game is currently available from local board game stores! Find your local store here.)