SNAP Review – Magic Mountain
Anitra, did you ever race marbles as a kid?
How about Plinko. How do you feel about Plinko?
I love Plinko!
Who doesn’t love Plinko, right?
But this is a board game review, not a Price is Right game review or commercial. Thankfully, there’s something out there that captures some of the anticipation of Plinko, but with a little bit of strategy mixed in, too.
This is a SNAP review for Magic Mountain.
Magic Mountain is a cooperative strategic, Plinko-like game for 2-6 players, published by AMIGO. There is absolutely no reading in this game, so your pre-readers can totally play. A game is nice and quick: 5-10 minutes.
Let’s start with the art in Magic Mountain.
I mean, it’s there. It works. It’s serviceable but nobody is going to be impressed by it. There are ten minis – six students and four witches. They’re not super high quality, but again, they’re serviceable – and they’re sturdy. Your kids are not going to break these. And you can tell which one is which.
The game board is clear enough to leave no question as to where you can move the figures. And there are marbles. They’re… marbles. They’re fine too. The purple marble was a little dark, and I thought it was black – it’s supposed to be purple.
Let’s talk about the mechanics of this game Magic Mountain, this pre-reader game.
The game starts with six students lined up at the top of the sloped board. The four witches go a little lower down on the four witch icons. Players pull a marble out of the bag – these are “Will-O-The-Wisps” if you follow the story in the game manual – and then they pick one of the lanes at the top of the board to put the marble in.
Once the Will-O-The-Wisp is free, it’s unpredictable! It rolls down the branching paths, bumping into figures as it goes. Any figure it hits moves to the next spot on the switchback path in that marble’s color. If there’s no more spots, it goes into the holding area at the bottom, which is sort of the goal of the game.
The goal is to get four students to the bottom before three witches. That’s it!
Well, there’s also a competitive mode that works roughly the same way, where the two players control either four witches or four students. But you’re still just moving them by what the marble hits.
What did you expect from this, Andrew?
Well, I first saw this at the GAMA Expo last week and the folks at AMIGO were kind enough to demo the game for me. I saw the box, it looked cute. I expected something relatively simple and straightforward with the 5+ on the box and the fairly large, chunky pieces.
It just looked like a simple kids’ game to me. I wasn’t super interested, but I knew you were going to play it with our youngest.
We are the Family Gamers, after all – that’s what we do.
And were you surprised at all?
I was. When we first pitched playing to our youngest, Elliot, he wasn’t terribly interested either, mostly because he’s a big grump. But you got him to come over and try the game, and it wasn’t long before he was whooping and hollering.
I came over to see what all the fuss was about, and he was setting up for another game (because you had just finished). I double checked with him, because he seemed so uninterested in the beginning, but it only took five minutes and one game to win him over.
(Typical gaslighting seven year old, he was like “yeah, we’re playing again, obviously – what are you talking about?”)
From the first time I saw Magic Mountain I was honestly surprised at just how invested I was. Games of chance, like Plinko, always have people on the edge of their seats, because any bounce could be victory or defeat. You have some control over where the marble will go because of where you start it, but the truth is that once you let it go – just like the narrative says with the Will-O-The-Wisps – they have a mind of their own.
Yeah! I couldn’t believe how engaged everyone at the table was all of the time.
As that marble is rolling down the hill, you really want to pick your piece up and move it to the next appropriate spot as fast as possible – because the marble might hit it (again) if you catch it just right.
It’s also a game that an adult should set up. Clipping the plastic supports on to the sides of the board was easy for us, but it’s hard for little hands to do it without mangling things.
This is a ten minute game that is loaded with fun. We all love strategic games, but sometimes it’s just better to sit down and rock through something that’s nice and easy and fast with the kids.
It’s super fun!
So Anitra, what do you think we’ll rate Magic Mountain from AMIGO?
We rate it 4 out of 5 Will-O-The-Wisps!
Find Magic Mountain on Amazon or at your local toy store.
The Family Gamers received a copy of Magic Mountain from AMIGO for this review.
This post contains affiliate links, which do not change your price, but help support The Family Gamers.
SNAP review music is Avalanche, provided courtesy of You Bred Raptors?
Number of Players: 1-6
Age Range: 5+
Playtime: 5-15 minutes