05 December 2017
Clever as a brainteaser, not so fun as a game
Despite sounding like a Dutch sweet treat, Stroop is instead named after the psychological effect that involves the mismatch of written colours and the colour the text is printed in (so, the word ‘red’ in blue ink), making it tougher to name the colour of the ink versus when the word and ink matches.
Stroop is the breezy application of this phenomenon to a card game, expanding the brain-bending visual trickery to include text size, style and the number of letters in each word – as well as words that read backwards when the optional advanced deck is mixed in. We’d recommend you do so to weigh down the already light gameplay, which could blow away with the frustrated huff of a player.
It’s a diverting few minutes as players try to first play cards that are described by a central card, before switching to lay down descriptions of the middle card in the second round, changing the requirement with each new card until someone can no longer play, rather than exhausting their hand. This rule feels a little awkward at points, often putting the emphasis more on luck of the draw than the touted mental agility of players.
Similarly odd is the rule that starts players with a draw deck on the table, but the ability to draw as many cards as they want into their hand from the off – as long as they do so one at a time, which simply appears to be an attempt to give the impression that there is more of a game framework here than there actually is.
Despite having elements of a fast-paced party game, Stroop only plays up to four people and has little to offer beyond the initial curiosity of your first few plays. It’s an intriguing psychological demonstration, but that doesn’t make for a particularly great game.
Publisher: Grand Gamers Guild
Time: 10-15 minutes
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This review originally appeared in the October/November 2017 issue 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.