Overview: Wobble challenges you to get a plastic ball to the four holes in the right order by adding or removing weights on the edge of the wobbling, spinning board.
Players: 1 to 4 (though it’s not much of a solitaire game)
Ages: 6 and up
Playing Time: 30 minutes
Rating: It has its ups and downs.
Who Will Like It? Wobble isn’t a deep strategy game but it does require some understanding of physics and leverage—and quite a bit of luck. I think it would make a good family game, and some of the less-hardcore gamers in my group really enjoyed it.
Here’s what’s included:
- Wobble game board
- 20 plastic playing discs
- 4 plastic Wobble pawns
- 2 balls (one is a Ping-Pong ball; the other is slightly smaller and rolls wobbly)
- 16 pawns in four colors
- 1 six-sided die (which the instruction calls “dice”)
- 2 game sticks (basically white plastic chopsticks)
The board itself comes in three pieces—two edges snap on easily, but are not meant to be removed, which means that once you’ve put the game together it no longer fits into the box. Fortunately there’s a little resealable plastic bag to store all the parts. The board itself, however, is kind of large and—as you can see from the side view below—doesn’t really sit flat, which makes it a bit hard to store with all your other games.
The plastic is sturdy enough, though the round base of my board has fallen off a few times—a little super glue would probably do the trick. Also, the colored pawns that fit on the sides of the board are a little loose, and it’s very easy to knock them out in the course of play.
There are four Wobble pawns that are supposed to be “extra heavy” and are used in advanced play, but as far as I can tell they weigh just about the same as the discs. (Ok, I had to know—I weighed them on the kitchen scale, and the pawns are approximately 2g to the disc’s 1-1.5g. So they are heavier; you just can’t really tell.)
At the beginning of the game, each player takes their four colored pawns and places them in any order on their edge of the board. This indicates the order that the player must follow. If there are fewer than four players, the rest of the pawns are put in the board to maintain balance.
On your turn, you roll the die, which determines how many moves you get—a move can be used to add a disc or remove a disc (using a game stick). You also get to choose if you’d like to throw all the discs on at once, carefully or thrown with force, etc., as long as your fingers don’t touch the board itself. The goal is to get the ball (which starts off balanced in the middle) to the right hole according to your pawns.
If you succeed, you remove the pawn and then go for the next color. If the ball goes in the wrong hole, your turn ends and you put the ball back in the center (without removing any of the discs). Play continues until one player has gotten all four colors in the correct order.
Wobble is actually more fun—and harder—than I expected at first. Because of the built-in pegs between the center and the holes, it often takes some tricky maneuvering to get the ball into the correct hole. First you have to tip the whole board toward your color to get the ball to the corner. Then, you have to tip it away so that the ball moves from the corner into the hole—but not too much, or else the ball may roll to the opposite corner.
Meanwhile, unless you roll a 6 and have a lot of moves to play around with, you’ll probably be fighting with the other players over which direction to go, so on your turn you end up starting over—except now the board is balanced differently and you’ll need to decide whether to add more discs or knock a few off from somewhere.
I tried this on my felt-covered game table at first (as you can see in the middle picture) but found that the board doesn’t wobble nearly as much there. It was much more interesting when we switched to a hard surface, where the board was able to wobble crazily and spin around. I should mention that some of the high schoolers decided to take that “thrown with force” instruction quite seriously—if your players do the same, you may want to choose carefully where to play this game, as those plastic discs can bounce quite far when thrown.
All in all, Wobble is some good, raucous fun. There’s not a ton of strategy involved once you figure out the basics of getting the ball to the hole, and sometimes it feels like there’s too much luck involved if you roll a few 1s and 2s but your opponents are rolling 6s. The game is pretty much what it looks like—what you see is what you get. If that’s what you’re looking for, give Wobble a try.
Wired: Fun with balancing—trickier than it appears.
Tired: The odd-shaped board doesn’t fit in the box once assembled.
Disclosure: Marbles: The Brain Store provided a review copy of this game. Visit Marbles for other brain-teasers, puzzles, boardgames and more.