The local pub has been synonymous with games for as long as we’ve had alcohol to drink and the wherewithal to put tokens on boards. From backgammon to cards, games have always had a place in watering holes across time and geography. Many companies have tried to make games that would take their place alongside such timeless classics as Chess and Poker, and Nudge Games are coming onto the scene with their first product, also called Nudge, to see if they can’t crack that particular nut.
Nudge is a 2 player abstract game that I would be the first to admit is not the most attractive game I have ever seen. It is however very functional and it easy to tell what is going on at any moment, we will come back to the production values a little later.
Each player is tasked with nudging, see what they did there, just one of their opponent’s pieces off the board before the same thing happens to them. You get two moves on your turn and you can use those to push any piece a single square in any orthogonal direction. If you come up against one of your own pieces you can shove it along in front of you forming a train of pushing power!
If you come up against an opponent’s piece you can only push it if you have more pieces in you little train of tokens than your opponent i.e. 2 vs 1 is fine 2 vs 2 will get you nowhere. You manage to push one of those pieces off the board, and you're a winner! They have some great little instructional videos on the site if you want to know more about what you can do. There a bunch of different starting positions as well, each of which can give the game a little bit of a different feel as you think your way around the problems presented.
The game certainly feels like a classic board game you might find in any bar. The simple rules allow you to concentrate on the strategy of the game, of the push and pull against your opponent. It’s a quick playing game but you will have moments of frustration, in a good way, as you try and setup a trap then spring it only to find your opponent maneuvering around you.
I’ve enjoyed playing Nudge and I can easily see playing it from time to time and it definitely falls into the oeuvre of pub style games . I must confess though that I find it hard to get excited by it. Most of my game choices lean towards the thematic, I love games that have the theme supported by the mechanics, but in an abstract like this it just comes down to the mechanics. The game is simple, but not exciting and that means it falls a little flat for me. However, I would heartily recommend it if you lean more to the abstract side of the hobby, or just want a clever little 2 player game that can easily fit in your backpack or suitcase.
Push it good
Normally I would be done at this point in a review, I’ve told you how it plays a bit, how I feel about it, made a recommendation. Done. I'm going Columbo on you.
One more thing....
Let’s talk about production. The game looks kind of plain and that is because of the choices the team have made in bringing the game to market. Although abstracts are not really my thing, I took this game on because no matter how I felt about the game I loved the environmental pitch the company made to me.
For a while now, and this will probably become an article or podcast all of its own, I’ve had a concern about the environmental impact of our hobby. Many of the games we buy are seas of plastic, be that miniatures, dice or other components. It feels like in the last year or so some questions have started to be asked about what we can do about that, and the team at Nudge games have tried to answer.
For starters the game is completely made of material that is recycled or/and recyclable. From the back of the box:
“...the discs are made from fully biodegradable starch-based bioplastic, the board is debossed fully recycled grey-board and the carton is FSC certified fluted kraft board. The print is intentionally single colour to minimize production time and environmental waste”
On top of that the company are contributing 1 % of all game sales to the Woodland Trust! Isn’t that great? So what if the game doesn’t look the best, for the kind of game it is I think it looks fine. The price point is right as well, just over a tenner with P&P taken into consideration, though hopefully they might get a wider distribution at some point.
Push it Real Good
There we have it. An interesting, two player abstract that whilst it didn’t light my fire completely, I still enjoyed and absolutely applaud the company's efforts to make their game as environmentally friendly as possible. I hope that other companies will take note and make their own strides towards making their products more eco-friendly.
A copy of Nudge was provided by Nudge games for this review.