Pocket Sports Surfing Tour review

Posted by Matthew on May 25th, 2017

Pocket Sports

Out amongst the raging surf you are at home. Reading the swell, you know now is your time. Adrenaline pumps through your body as you swerve and weave across the wave. The wind rips through your hair and water droplets beat upon your face. Gripping the edge of your board you rocket up the lip, and become airborne. The day is yours.

Pocket Sports Surfing Tour is a micro-game which puts players in the action of an international surf tour.  This is achieved using five dice and some reference materials. Players roll a dice to determine the wave size, which in turn dictates what dice to use when surfing the wave and how many times to roll them. Rolling a sponsor, or scoring exactly 10 points on a wave, means that the player can choose to upgrade their surfer. The game is for 2-4 players, and can be played as a single round or as a six round tour.

At the very core of it Surfing Tour is a push-your-luck dice rolling game. Players have five chances to ride the waves each round, with a choice to ride or pass on a wave when rolled. There is a requirement to make at least three rides, meaning that there is some strategy in deciding on what wave to choose and when to ride it. This is compounded by the fact that the player could roll a No ride and completely miss any chance to generate a score.

Pocket Sports

Small waves utilise the safer dice, ones which contain small scores but no ill effects. As the waves get larger, the dice increase in scores. But along with better tricks and bigger scores comes the chance to Bail or Wipeout. Aiming for the biggest waves may let you catch a Barrel, where you can Shoot the Tube and gain score bonuses or even a sponsor.

Surfing Tour perfectly fits the Pocket Sport modus operandi. It uses a handful of dice and some rules to evoke the feeling of competitive surfing, while being completely portable. Once the players familiarise themselves with the rules, rounds can go by quite quickly, making this ideal for filling small gaps in social occasions.

There is some fiddling around, largely related to keeping score and recording the sponsors players generate. Player cards are available, which when used in a sleeve protector, can make things easier by marking them with an erasable marker. The rules are a little wordy, and may take two or three reads for the exact game process to sink in. But the game is so light on elements that it is fairly easy to make your way through and be playing in no time.

In the version I played there were some mistakes peppered throughout the rules and player cards. This was a prototype version, however, and I am told that the issues have been addressed in the final release.

Pocket Sports

Pocket Sports Surfing Tour is a great example of a succinct and well-conceived micro game. It blends some simple strategy elements with an easy to grasp press-your-luck mechanic, all while creating an experience which really captures the feel of competitive surfing. The game is straight forward enough that it can be played by older children to adults, and would make an excellent game for families to take on a trip. It could even be used to break the ice, or create some variety, in casual social gatherings.

Surfing Tour is available now on the Pocket Sports website, or through selected retailers.

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