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Thursday, 7 July 2016

Pushing the Simplicity

Once upon a time you could step into a public house—the pub, if you will—and play a game. From Dominos and Skittles to Shove ha'penny and Nine Men’s Morris, these were games that were enjoyed up and down the country, but with the coming of cable and satellite television and being able to watch sport with a pint in hand, the popularity of such games diminished. Such games though have always had a poor reputation, often seen as a means to encourage the consumption of alcohol and gambling, and in some cases outright banned by kings as distractions for men who should be otherwise engaged in archery practice. Now the tradition of pub games has not gone away, as evidenced in Dave Gorman vs. The Rest Of The World, but in the 21st century times have changed with the playing board games being an acceptable pastime, one that can be played openly in public, whether that is in the pub or elsewhere. 

Which is where Push It: Ultimate Skill, Infinite Locations comes in.

Published by Push It Games following a successful Kickstarter campaign, Push It: Ultimate Skill, Infinite Locations is a very simple game that can be played anywhere that has a flat, smooth surface. A table, a floor, a newspaper laid on the ground—anywhere. Designed for two to four players, it comes with eight Pucks in four colours, a Jack, a cloth carrying bag, and an eight-page rules booklet. To be fair, Push It is so simple that it does not need a rules booklet, but it includes examples, explanations, and variations, so that it can played as a team game, with two players, and so on.

Push It starts with the Jack being placed in the centre of the table. Then everyone takes their Pucks and whilst sat round the table, take it turns to push, chop, or flick one of their Pucks at the Jack. They get to do this once, from the edge of the table, for each Puck. There is no second attempt at getting Pucks closer to the Jack. Once everyone has launched their Pucks at the Jack, scoring takes place. The player with the closest Puck to the Jack scores a point. If he has both Pucks closest to the Jack, he scores two points. Knocking both another player’s Pucks and the Jack is perfectly legal, but knocking the Jack of the table loses a player two points. Then another round starts and play continues until somebody has scored a total of seven points and wins.

And that is it.

To test it out, Reviews from R'lyeh took it along to Afternoon Play where it proved to be popular as both a game for four players and a team game for eight prior to a longer game.

It should also be pointed out that Push It has perhaps the most singular rule in any game in any of the games in the Reviews from R'lyeh ludography. This is the 'Bum Shuffling' rule. Essentially a player can lean and in the process, lift one buttock from his seat in order to push, flick, or chop one of his Pucks. He cannot though move his chair or shuffle said buttocks...

Push It: Ultimate Skill, Infinite Locations is a nice simple game. Even better, it is a nice, simple, and well-produced game. Both the Pucks and the Jack are beautifully polished pieces of wood that feel good in the hand and nicely slide across the playing surface of your choice. Whilst it might be reminiscent of pub games of old, Push It is the pub game that does not need the pub whose simplicity makes it the perfect filler game wherever and whenever.

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