SNAP Review – Block Ness
The mysterious lake monsters have finally revealed themselves! There’s only one problem – the lake isn’t big enough for all of them. Who can win control of the lake?
This is a SNAP review for Block Ness.
Block Ness is an area control game designed by Laurent Escoffier and published by Blue Orange. It’s very tactile and works in 3 dimensions.
2-4 people can play in about 15 minutes. It’s best for ages 8 and up, although kids a bit younger can play.
The toy factor on this game is huge. Simon Douchy and Dominique Breton have made an excellent “lake surface” and sea serpent monsters.
The plastic sea serpents fit very nicely into the holes in the board. Each of the 4 types is distinct, not just in color, but also in the subtle patterns across each segment.
After getting out all the pieces, put the board back into the box. This becomes your play area, with plenty of room to poke pegs into the holes on the board.
Find your starting monster (it’s the one with the least height) and put it somewhere near the middle of the board.
Now each player takes turns adding on to their own monster.
Each turn, you add a new segment, adding on to either the head or the tail of your serpent. You’re allowed to cross over any serpent’s body, but never underneath.
And you can’t cross anyone else’s head or tail, either!
If you can’t place any more segments, you pass. When all players have passed, whoever has the least body segments unplayed is the winner!
If there’s a tie, the player whose monster has a higher head wins.
Block Ness looked like a lot of fun even before we knew how to play. The plastic monster pieces invite you to pick them up and play around with them.
But because the pieces looked so much like a toy, I wondered if the game would offer interesting choices or mostly just be about making fun designs and putting your sea serpent pieces into the board.
But I was surprised.
First, by the attention to detail. Each sea monster not only has a different design, but it’s selection of pieces is a little bit different. You can see this even with the starting pieces: some are longer and some are shorter. Every sea monster has wide pieces, narrow pieces, short pieces, tall pieces. They all have a range of options. But every monster’s piece selection is a little bit different than any other monster.
The spatial relations in this game were actually really challenging for most players. It’s tough to see exactly where your pieces are going to fit, without taking them and literally putting them onto the board.
It plays about the same at all player counts. At a higher player count, there’s more space on the board that you can use.
Planning helps you, but it feels like there’s a lot of luck. There is no hidden information, but it’s hard for most people to picture how to fit their own pieces while still allowing for other people’s moves, which they can’t predict.
Finally, we were pleasantly surprised kids win this game just as often as adults do. (Turns out, kids have better spatial planning than adults.)
Block Ness is fun and fast, and it’s easy to understand. Kids younger than 8 may struggle a bit with the placement rules, but other than that, it’s a good game.
We give it 4 ½ Loch Ness monsters out of 5.
Find Block Ness on Amazon or at your local game store.
The Family Gamers received a copy of Block Ness from Blue Orange for this review.
SNAP review music is Avalanche, provided courtesy of You Bred Raptors?
This post contains affiliate links, which do not change your price, but help support The Family Gamers.
Number of Players: 2-4
Age Range: 8+
Playtime: 15 minutes