2-4 Players: 5 min play time
Designer: Peter Jurgensen
Publisher: Pegasus Speile
There does seem to be a plethora of “small box” games at the minute, (which is a welcome relief for my bowing game shelves.) One publisher that seems to have a particularly high count of these small family games is Pegasus Spiele. So it was that a small box was thrust into my hands at the UK Games Expo from one of the Pegasus team. This small box was “Nimble” from designer Peter Jurgensen.
Nimble is a very quick dexterity family game, with a VERY loose theme of children’s literary classics. Nimble is a real-time action-packed, fastest finger first game, in which the aim to get rid of your deck of 30 cards before anyone else does.
The game is set-up with each player taking one of the decks of 30 cards. Then 3 cards are placed face-up in the centre of the play area. Each card has 2 coloured areas, a central circle of a certain colour, and a surrounding “frame” of a different colour. Once someone shouts “go!” You must race to turn over your deck one by one adding it to your discard pile. If you spot that the “frame” colour of the top card of your discard pile matches any of the central circle colours of the top card of the 3 piles in the middle you can place it on the top of that pile. That is it… that’s the whole game, players keep playing as fast as they can until one player has played all their cards, at which point play stops.
The winner is the player who has the least cards remaining in their hand and discard pile. This is where it gets even tenser and interesting: each pile is then turned over and checked for accuracy. If a card is revealed that is incorrectly placed: the owner is identified by checking the back of the card to identify which deck it came from, that player is the immediately disqualified from that game: even if it was the player who had played all their cards.
In this game accuracy is all important. You are rushing to get your cards played, but paying too little care with even 1 card will see all your hard work undone. It is actually surprisingly difficult to remember which colour on your card you are trying to match with which colour on the card in the middle piles. The first game we played of this all 4 players were disqualified through erroneously placed cards! However, by game 2 people we significantly more careful about placing and only 1 player was disqualified. Players are forced to tiptoe the careful line between speed and accuracy and that does help prevent too much of a mess in the middle of the table.
Every game plays in less than 5 minutes. It’s quick, fun and remarkably challenging. It’s not without its drawbacks, however: as I mentioned before the theme is very much pasted on and could have been anything: indeed it wasn’t until the end of our 2nd game that someone noticed there were some drawings on the cards. Another big problem is scaling: as 3 cards always need to be played in the middle to start things this works fine at 2-3 players (in 2 players you can use 3 cards from a different unused deck, in 3 players each player can play a card to the middle before you start.) However at 4 players, just 3 players get to play a card to the middle before the game starts always leaving 1 player with a 1 card disadvantage, and we could find no official rule to balance this.
But even with those drawbacks, this game is great fun. It has a perfect balance between mad rush and demand for accuracy and is a great little filler or end of the night game. I also think it would be a great addition to a suitcase when heading on holiday/vacation. If you like real-time dexterity then you’ll find this great too. If you are someone who prefers more sedate brains over brawn game you might find this game wanting.