Monday, 23 July 2012

Klop - a gem of a game.

The name suggests a sterling example of onomatopoeia, but this game can also be found under the names Mölkki or Finska, and probably more.  It is an outdoor game of Finnish origin, in the same vein as bocce or bowls.

The rules are very simple – the pins, each with a number from one to twelve on them, are set up in a pattern, and players toss a log at them from the throwing point attempting to knock them down. 

There are a couple of rules that make the game somewhat different and certainly more interesting.  If a player knocks down one pin, they score a number of points equal to the number on the pin.  If they knock down multiple pins, they score points equal to the number of pins knocked down (and the numbers on the pins are ignored).  This means players have some choices to make about whether they try and simply knock down a bunch of pins en masse, or whether they try to be more accurate and take out a specific number.

The question of whether to go for many or one is made more interesting by the fact the winner needs to be the first to accumulate exactly 50 points; if you score more, your total is reset to 25.

After each throw the pins are stood back up – but rather than being placed back into the starting position they are simply righted where they lie.  This has the effect of causing the pins to slowly disperse as the game progresses, and compounds or adds some interesting layers to the choice of whether to try and knock down a bunch of pins, or one.  Add to this the pressures of a ‘three consecutive misses and you’re out’ rule, as well as the simple fact that the physics involved with the throwing, bouncing and rolling of a cylinder of wood can lead to unexpected consequences and you’re left with a highly enjoyable game.

Klop is an excellent game, easy enough to explain and start playing very quickly, and combined with a small set of rules that make for some unexpected and enjoyable situations.  All in all this is one of the absolute best of this style of game that I have played.  It’s highly enjoyable and takes more care than you might otherwise expect from such a game.  Ultimately, when this sort of game is wheeled out at barbecues, on holidays or just for some enjoyment at the park or in the backyard I want something that will be entertaining.  When the throwing piece bounds closely and unexpectedly over the top of the pin you were aiming at there are groans and cheers alike from yourself and your competitors, and the same occurs when a carefully weighted throw takes out the piece you need.  When all is said and done – the game is quite simply: a lot of fun. 


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