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Reviews - Got It!
by Demian Katz

Got It!Tom Jolly's Got It! (2010)
Published by QualityTime Resources
Designed by Tom Jolly
Illustrated by David Niecikowski
Contents: 36 formula cards, 34 disease cards and instructions
2 or more players

Tom Jolly has been designing games for quite some time, and he's well known enough to get his name prefixed to the titles of his designs. In spite of this, Got It! is the first of his games that I have had an opportunity to try for myself. From what I know, this is a somewhat atypical design; Jolly is best-known for fairly theme-heavy fantasy games like WizWar and Cave Troll, but Got It! is a light and abstract game that, more than anything else, is about math.

At the start of the game, the formula cards are shuffled and laid out in a 6x6 grid of alternating numbers (between 1 and 14) and mathematical operators (+, -, x, wild). The disease cards are shuffled and stacked face down.

Got It! cards in playGameplay is simple: the disease cards are turned up one at a time, revealing target numbers. Players race to find sets of five adjacent formula cards in the grid that can be combined to meet the target number. For example, if the disease card valued "20" comes up, and the grid contains a sequence of cards that build the formula "2 x 4 + 12", the first player to spot this sequence would cure the disease and win the card as a trophy. Occasionally, nobody will be able to find a formula for a target number; when this happens, the card is set aside. After the deck runs out, cards that previously could not be solved with a five-card formula are tried again, only this time seven cards may be used to build the formula. In either case, players cannot double back to cards they've already used in that solution – each card can only be used once per formula. When there are no more target numbers left to tackle, the player who has earned the most cards wins the game.

This is at heart a very simple game, and rules are provided to make it even simpler when younger players are participating – simply by removing certain numbers and operators, the game can be made extra kid-friendly.

Got It! is presented in a minimalist fashion. The instructions are a single black and white page, and the cards are fairly small and feature only a couple of original graphics. In spite of the lack of visual variety, the graphics that are present are quite appealing. My copy of the game includes some cards that have been hand-corrected in permanent marker, but I am not sure if this is typical of the product or if this is unique to my review copy. In any case, my biggest criticism of the game's presentation is that the rules could have been made a bit clearer. Some minor details, like how order of operations affects formulas or whether you may double back and reuse cards within a formula, are never fully explained. A bit more text or a few extra examples might have made the game slightly less ambiguous... but as it is, it's not too hard to agree on house rules to resolve any disputes that arise.

The value of Got It! depends on what you are looking for. The "race to solve the puzzle" format makes it a good option for large groups of players, since you can accommodate a lot of people as long as they're all able to see the grid... but for adult gamers, solving math problems can wear thin after a while, and something like Ricochet Robots will probably offer more lasting value within the genre. Even so, this is entertaining enough for a play or two, and if you are looking for a tool to help kids practice math, you definitely won't be disappointed. Even though the arithmetic is barely disguised at all, the game format makes it surprisingly palatable. This game is unlikely to be viewed as one of Tom Jolly's more significant designs, but it is nonetheless a solid piece of edutainment that's just challenging enough to engage adults as well as children.



Related reviews on OgreCave:
  • Drakon, also by Tom Jolly (Fantasy Flight Games)

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