Dobble XXL is the giant sized version of Zygomatic’s speedy observation card game, known as Spot It in the US. Designed to be played outside by 2 – 8 players, individual games take around 10 minutes. Coming with four unique game modes from The Circle to Wolf, these are brand new Dobble modes only possible with players physically moving around, from one card to another. However, does Dobble transition well from the table to the garden? Let’s find out!
Dobble XXL features 4 brand new modes: Relay, Circle, Beret and Wolf. Relay is a team based variant, seeing each team laying out 10 Dobble XXL cards in a column. With half of each team standing at each end a player must work their way along the cards. Standing on one the player must identify and shout out the single matching symbol on the next card to move up the column. With both teams competing to be fastest, players are trying to find the matches quickly to keep progressing. When they reach the end they tag their teammate who must work their way back down the column by finding matches. The first team to finish are crowned the winners!
Circle is an individual’s gamemode. Placing all of the cards in a circle players spread out approximately being the same number of spaces around the circle away from each other. All starting at the same time, players will be simultaneously trying to find the symbol on their current card which matches one on the next card in the circle. Advancing around the circle keeps players in the game, with players that get caught up by others eliminated – until there is only the winner left standing.
Beret is another twist on the normal Dobble style gameplay. In the Beret mode two teams are formed, with one player becoming the referee. Each team gives a number value to each player. At the start of each round the referee turns over the top two cards from the draw pile and shouts a number. The shouted out numbered players from the two teams run over to the cards and the fastest to determine the matching pair of symbols wins the cards for their team. The winning team is then the one to collect the most cards before the draw pile runs out.
Wolf is the final mode and pits one player against the rest. With the cards laid out in a grid the players can name a matching symbol of orthogonal (up, down, left, right) cards to move to them. If the wolf ever manages to move onto the same card as another player, or a player mistakenly moves onto the wolf, they are eliminated. The final player left with the wolf wins, becoming the wolf for the next round – if you play again.
Despite only having 5 symbols on each “card” the fun frustrations that the Dobble series creates is firmly present in Dobble XXL. Players aren’t sat around a table with rough piles of cards, where it can be hard to know who is in the lead. Instead, in each of the game modes players can literally see how well their opponents are doing; either catching them up on the circle or closing in as the wolf. Seeing how well others are doing ramps up the competitiveness and ensures that in a panicked rush you’ll miss the one matching symbol. Only including 5 symbols also allows players of all ages and abilities to get involved, and enjoy the fast paced matching fun.
The game modes have a spot of memory game about them, which isn’t present in standard Dobble. Whether it is remembering the relay column or overhearing the shouts of others as they go around the circle players can start to zoom around, or across, the cards. It’s a simple fix from one game to the next, just re-order the cards. Those that are good at memory will have a slight advantage though – if they remember correctly of course.
With normal Dobble cards there is the slight worry about slapping hands down on the table could bend or damage them. With the material used for the Dobble XXL “cards” they are rolled up in the box, so there’s no danger of bending them when jumping/standing on them. As a result they aren’t creased but you’ll just have to roll them the other way quickly prior to use, to stop the corners curling up a bit. This isn’t a huge problem and also goes away if you leave them out of the box for a few minutes prior to playing. Replacing the bending worry is the issue that over time they will get dirty and the images could fade. While there isn’t much you can do about the latter, thankfully the cards are easily cleaned with water and a cloth. Of course the cards are massively oversized, allowing everyone to easily read them at a glance. Though, just because you can see all the symbols doesn’t mean you can spot the match.
Dobble XXL captures the fast paced frantic fun that the card game around a table is known and loved for. The reduced number of symbols and the slight memory aspects don’t impact the experience as much as anticipated. Having players physically moving around the cards adds to the competitiveness, with the odd bumping into and nudging others all part of the fun. The “cards” are certainly durable and easily cleaned so they should endure many a play. Thus, for the limited months in the UK when it’s nice to go outside, Dobble XXL offers a fun garden game experience, and is sure to be a family favourite for many.
(Editor’s Note: Dobble XXL was provided to us by Asmodee for the review. It is currently available from local board game stores! Find your local store here.)