|Release Date: 2023||Players: 2-4|
|Designer: Jessica Metheringham||Length: 15-30 minutes|
|Artist: Jessica Metheringham||Age: 6+|
|Publisher: Dissent Games||Complexity: 1.0 / 5|
|Plastic (by weight): <1%||Air (by volume): 0%|
The house smelled of cinnamon, golden syrup and ginger. It was no surprise, because our oven was full of gingerbread rectangles on two trays. It wasn’t long until they were done and needed to come out of the oven to cool down. We had small bowls full of sweets and a piping bag ready to decorate them. Suddenly, I had an idea. Rather than building a traditional house, we could instead make Gingerbread Towers by Jessica Metheringham from Dissent Games.
The wonderful people at Dissent Games have done it again. Here is another game for all the family. This time our job is to stack cards as high as possible and collect points along the way. It’s pretty simple. Everyone starts the game by choosing one of the six different types of sweets. On your turn, you add one of the cards, which look like rectangular gingerbreads decorated with sweets, to the growing tower. You want to choose a card that has your sweets on it to score points. You also have to make sure you don’t knock any cards off the tower, as that will lose you points. Finally, cards on the same level mustn’t touch.
However, despite the simple rules, the gameplay can become very tactical very quickly. After all, if you place your card in such a way as to make it awkward for the next player to place theirs, you’re increasing the chances that they knock cards off and lose points. At the same time, placing cards in an awkward position is sometimes easier said than done. You can easily end up knocking cards out of the tower and losing points yourself.
Depending on how competitive you and your game group are, Gingerbread Towers can be a fun job of building the highest tower or it can turn into a matter of trying to outdo each other and creating a highly unstable tower of cards that is threatening to tumble at any moment.
One thing I haven’t mentioned yet is how you stack the cards. Gingerbread Towers is basically a standard-size deck of cards, which were beautifully illustrated by the very talented Jessica Metheringham and which are made from a thick card stock with a gorgeous linen finish. So you might expect to build your tower as you would with traditional playing cards: by leaning two cards against each other to create an A-frame, doing that several times, then laying other cards flat on top of the row of A-frames and building up from there. That would be what most of us would probably think. However, Gingerbread Towers is doing things differently.
Trigger Warning: maltreatment of board game components
The game’s designer has decided to force players to take a pristine deck of lovely cards and fold some of them in half and others into thirds. That’s absolute sacrilege! It goes against everything everyone in our hobby is willing to do. It makes people shudder and rebel. Nobody can bring themselves to maltreat these wonderful thick cards like that.
When I played the game for the first time, it was me who had to do the folding. Nobody wanted anything to do with it. In fact, some people left the room, so that they didn’t have to witness this cruelty to innocent board game components. I must say, even I didn’t find it easy to treat the cards like this.
Once it is done though, it is easier the second time round. So after you flattened the cards to put them back in the box and then play Gingerbread Towers again, it feels less cruel to bend the cards back into shape.
So, if you’ve made it this far in the review, you might still not be sure how the stacking of cards works in Gingerbread Towers. Well, some cards are flat, some folded in half, thereby forming a V shape and the rest are folded into thirds, creating a sort of bracket shape. The flat cards will always be placed flat on top of the tower. The V and bracket-shaped cards have to be placed upright, which means they create pillars for the next level.
The rules don’t really let you, but we decided to allow people to place the folded cards either with their short or their long edges upright, which created different levels. It made the game a bit harder, but also allowed players to be more creative. At the end of the day, Gingerbread Towers is supposed to be a light, fun family game. So we thought it’d be fair to deviate from the rules a little bit. After all, the designer made us deviate a long way from the commonly agreed norms when it comes to treating board game components.
The game is a lot of fun when you play competitively, as players egg each other on to go higher and higher. You can also play it cooperatively, of course, trying to build the tallest tower together. Either way, it is a lot of fun to play. The rules are so simple, the game length is short and it doesn’t take up much table space. Combined with the gorgeous art, it’s the perfect stocking filler to be played with the whole family on Christmas or Boxing Day.
I’d say you should check it out now and have a little taster. I can already smell the spices and hear the laughter of everyone around the table, as we build our giant Gingerbread Towers.
- Gingerbread Towers: https://dissentgames.
- Kickstarter page: https://www.
kickstarter. com/ projects/ dissentgames/ a-game-on-a-card-christmas-2023
- Dissent Games: https://dissentgames.
- BGG listing: https://boardgamegeek.
com/ boardgame/ 401980/ gingerbread-towers
Transparency FactsI feel that this review reflects my own, independent and honest opinion, but the facts below allow you to decide whether you think that I was influenced in any way.
- I was sent a free review copy of this game by the publisher.
- At the time of writing, neither the designers, nor the publisher, nor anyone linked to the game supported me financially or by payment in kind.
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