The Fuzzies is the latest Jenga clone developed by some of the best party game designers working today.
There’s a big problem with Jenga.
The game play is fantastic. The tension building each turn is fantastic. The collapsing tower is fantastic.
The only thing wrong is after the tower’s knocked over. You have to rebuild it again. The time and patience involved in doing so takes the wind out of an otherwise great experience. You want to be playing, not constantly setting up!
This is where The Fuzzies comes in.
Instead of long rectangular blocks, The Fuzzies introduces little pompom’s which stick together inexplicably. They’re soft, malleable, and don’t feel as good to manipulate as a solid object does.
But they make setup take seconds.
You put them all in a cup, push them down, flip the cup onto the platform and you’re ready to play.
Otherwise, the game doesn’t reinvent too much, each turn you’re pulling a pompom from the tower and placing it at any point higher. There are some dexterous punishments if you drop any balls, but otherwise it continues until 10 or more balls fall from the tower, thus ending the game.
Removing the wrong piece
In Jenga, everything leads up to the one moment where it all falls apart. Then there’s the crash.
Everyone in the immediate vicinity is alerted there’s a loser. And if it’s not you, you feel that sweet release of pressure where you no longer have to face the challenge of the tower.
The Fuzzies sometimes fails to reach this climax. There are times when there are 5 or so balls knocked from the tower. Which isn’t enough to lose, but enough to get you into an Sisyphean loop of trying to put balls back on top, while more fall off. Meanwhile, the rest of the table loses interest in the game.
When The Fuzzies does end in the collapse of the tower, it’s missing the drama of the crash. Replacing it with a muted tumbling and a gigantic mess as the balls spread like bugs when you lift up a rock. Without the drama it loses the dread and the build up of tension. Making it feel more relaxed. The stakes for losing aren’t as high, so The Fuzzies never reaches the same levels of engagement.
Because of this, I’d rather play Jenga.
Pet owners be warned, as good as these fuzzies are at sticking together, they’re better at sticking to dog hair. After one incident we had to spend a good 5-10minutes picking hair off the fuzzies. And I still find the odd strand here and there.
The Fuzzies is an applaudable attempt to reinvent a classic. They’ve successfully tackled the main issue with Jenga, but in doing so they’ve failed to replicate the same magic. It ends up being a rare dud from publisher CMYK who’ve produced some of the best party games on the market in Monikers, and Wavelength.
Thanks for reading, I’m currently ranking all my board games in a best to worst list. You can see this games’ initial ranking below.
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