Splitter – Two Halves Make a Whole!
Place numbers in mirrored spaces to create scoring groups!
Anytime I hear “roll-and-write“, my ears perk up. I prefer the simpler entries in the category (sorry Hadrian’s Wall) that are easy to learn and quick to play. I want something I can solo on my lunch hour or watching TV at night. Splitter fits this niche perfectly.
Splitter, designed by Stefan Nikolic, is a roll-and-write dice game where players place numbers in mirrored spaces to create groups of numbers to score. Published by Pandasaurus Games, Splitter is for any number of players ages eight and up. It plays in less than 15 minutes.
A game of Splitter takes 22 rounds. At the end of the game, players score points for each number group on their sheet.
To start, choose pad A or B and tear off a sheet for each player. You’ll need a pencil, too (four are included in the box).
The youngest player rolls the dice. Next, all players write down both numbers on their game sheets. There’s only one hitch: the numbers must go in the same row, and at an equal distance from the center line.
Once all players have written both numbers, the next player rolls the dice. Players must write the numbers on their sheet. Splitter continues until players’ pads are full, then final scoring begins.
Scoring is a snap in Splitter. Score each number that is in a group matching its value. So, for each 1 that’s on its own (no other 1s touching), score one point. For each pair of 2’s, score two points. Continue this pattern for all numbers (for each grouping of six 6’s, score six points).
Numbers in a group must be orthogonally adjacent to count. Multiple groups of the same number can be scored, but the groups must be separated from each other. Three groups of three 3’s would score nine points, for example. Number groups can cross the center line.
Both star box spaces on the game sheet double the points for a valid group.
Splitter also comes with a second game pad, B. It also contains 44 squares and two star spaces, in a different layout. The B layout also contains three heart boxes. At the end of the game, score five extra points if each heart contains the same number.
Splitter’s solo mode plays exactly the same with either game pad. Use the table in the instructions to evaluate how well you scored, and see if you can beat your highest score!
It’s simple, but the dice rolls make for challenging decisions. Symmetrical placement is something I haven’t seen before and that’s Splitter’s hook.
Like most roll-and-writes, the dice rolls create total randomness in Splitter. There’s no way to mitigate a roll you don’t want. More often than not, only one number is helpful and you’ll have to weigh placing the other. For me, I enjoyed figuring out how to work with what I had.
Rolling 6’s early and utilizing a star space can net a massive 12 points – if completed. Placement in Splitter gets really tense towards the end of the game, especially if you need specific numbers and don’t get them. But that’s also where the excitement comes in, hoping the number you need appears. And yes, there will be moments where you cheer out loud when the dice roll exactly what you need.
Anyone can play Splitter due to its simplicity, but kids’ enjoyment is a toss-up. There’s zero theme in Splitter to catch a young one’s attention. I’m just not sure its something a 10-year-old would grab off the shelf.
Splitter plays fine with multiple players, but it still feels like a solitaire game. There is zero player interaction; nothing you do impacts others. But it is fast, and before you know it, 22 turns have gone by and you’re ready for another game.
Splitter‘s scoresheets aren’t double sided, so laminating is a must if you want to play over and over. The randomness of the gameplay is also a turn-off for some players.
On the other hand, Splitter‘s box is small and super portable. You can teach it in 2 minutes. It’s the perfect game to play on a tiny coffee shop table, while waiting for dinner at a restaurant, or even in the school pickup line (console cup holders make great dice trays). It’s also a game that works well for remote gameplay with a friend.
Sheet B provides a little extra challenge with the three heart spaces and segmented layout. I like to switch things up and alternate A and B for back-to-back games.
The Family Gamers received a copy of Splitter from Pandasaurus Games for this review.
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Players: 1-12 (unlimited really)
Age Range: 8+
Playtime: 15 minutes