Every Week It's Wibbley-Wobbley Timey-Wimey Pookie-Reviewery...

Friday 14 December 2012

Swim for your Limbs!

Get Bit! has been around for a while, but this “robot-swimming and robot-chomping-shark” game has been just a little difficult to get hold off as it went in and out of print. Now it is back in print – but for how long? – and available outside of the USA, I finally got to play it thanks to my friend Dave, and now, thanks to my friend Dave, to review it too.

Designed by Dave Chalker and published by Mayday Games, Get Bit! is a fast playing filler game for four to six players, aged eight and over, that can played through in about twenty minutes. It is light enough to be played by non-gamers, whilst just about everyone will enjoy both its theme and its components. The game’s idea is that you and your fellow “buoyant” robots are out for a leisurely swim when you are attacked by a robot-eating shark. Fortunately, most of the robots can swim hard enough to stay ahead of the shark. Unfortunately, this means that the shark will have a chomp at the limbs of the slowest robot swimmer – and the shark does love his robot limbs. As long as a robot has a limb, he can keep swimming and even keep swimming ahead of his fellow robots. It is all a matter of effort. Yet if he loses all of his limbs, a robot can no longer try and outswim either his fellow robots or that hungry, hungry shark!

The game consists of six Dismembermen robots, each in a different colour; a set of seven cards for each colour, for a total of forty-two cards; the rules leaflet; and the hungry, hungry shark with its jaw already to open and then clamp down on the slowest robot! The rulebook is plain, but it is an easy read and it explains the game well. The game’s physical components are terrific though, being high quality and durable. The humanoid robots are identical, bar their different colours, and are easily handled and posed, and of course, their arms and legs come off. The shark both charms and menaces simultaneously. Each of the sets of card is identical apart from matching the colour of one of the robots. Each set is numbered one through seven and is illustrated by an image of the robot swimming closer and closer towards the viewer. So the “1” card has the robot in difficulty and far away, whilst the “7” card is closer and making headway…

Get Bit! is an easy game to play. Each player receives a Dismemberman robot and a matching set of cards. All of the robots are laid out in a line, one after the other, with the shark at the rear. Each round of play consists of three phases: Choose Cards, Move Robots, and Get Bit. In the Choose Cards phase, each player selects one of his cards and places it face down on the table. Once everyone has chosen a card, they are revealed simultaneously and the Move Robot phase begins. If any of the cards played have the same number, then their players do not move their robots, whereas the player who played the lowest untied card gets to move his robot to the front of the line, furthest away from the shark. Then the player who played the next the lowest untied card gets to move his robot to the front of the line, and so on, until all of the robots that can move have done so.

Once all of the robots have moved, or not moved if there were tied cards, the robot last in line is subject to the Get Bit phase and loses a limb to the shark. He also moves his injured robot to the front of the line and gets to pick up all of his cards on the table and return them to his hand. A player also picks up his cards and returns then to his hand if he only has the one card to play. Then the next round begins. The Get Bit phase does not occur at the end of the first round, but do so after that. Play continues with any robot losing all four of its limbs being eliminated until there are only two robots left. When this happens, the shark eats the robot at the back and the one at the front gets away to swim another day.

Unsurprisingly, game tactics are as simple as the game play. This is a game of counting what cards that your rivals have played in order to try and work what the best card that they have their hand is. If you can play a card higher than that and it is not tied with any other player’s card, then you just might find yourself at the front of the “not losing a limb” queue. Included in the game are rules for four variants that allow two or three participants rather than the minimum of four; for a longer game; and a memory aspect to be added to the game. Expansions are available that allow for a seventh player and let a player control the shark!

Personally, Get Bit! is too light for continued play for my tastes. I would not want to play more than twice before it loses all of its limbs as far as I am concerned. Nevertheless, it is an enjoyable game, a fun game, an easy to teach game, and a good looking, very tactile game. Plus everything fits into the game’s very nice box.

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