13 July 2021
An Ode to Vending Machines
Continuing his reign as the designer who tries the hardest to make a primary school sports day worth of weird things in a box (minus egg and spoon races), Jordan Draper this time offers us a delicious selection of colourful bottles and cans, some money, and, most importantly, a plastic vending machine.
As we expect there’s a mix of smallish games in the box, some use the randomness of the vending machine’s shelves to catch bottles, some use clever market mechanics, others just want you to flick a small can at a not-tallest bottle. When it’s good, it’s extremely good – there’s a version of checkers where you move the board (tiny bottle crates), a bottle gold-meets-snooker game, a blind-bidding war for tea-making ingredients, all unified by maybe the loveliest components we’ve in a while. Give players something to fiddle with like this, and even the weird set-ups work for the most part. The components are a key into an entirely new world of suspended disbelief. Only when the more complex games (some which, frankly, we just didn’t get our heads around properly) come into play do you break this spell. But, with 20-odd games in the box, we can’t be much more than mildy frustrated with the handful of duds. Our only other complaint is that not every game used the vending machine.
As an ode to vending machines it’s middling, as a box of oddly pub-or-party feeling games, it’s wonderful. Come for the components, stay for a bunch of strange, short, and replayable games with some of the most magical games pieces we’ve ever had the pleasure of handling. Pure play.
CHRISTOPHER JOHN EGGETT
PLAY IT? YES
Designer: Jordan Draper & Various
Publisher: Jordan Draper
Time: 5-45 minutes
This article originally appeared in issue 57 of Tabletop Gaming. Pick up the latest issue of the UK's fastest-growing gaming magazine in print or digital here or subscribe to make sure you never miss another issue.
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