Rock! Review
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Players: 2 (ages 7+)
Playing Time: a couple of minutes

As a kid, I had two much-older brothers (still do, actually). Since they were into cars and girls when I was into hopscotch, I never ended up passing the time on car rides by playing Rock Paper Scissors. I never used the game to settle arguments, either. As a result, I’m not much of a Rock Paper Scissors pro—which made the new card game, Rock!, a bit of a challenge for me.

Rock! is a super-simple game that’s a mix between Rock Paper Scissors and the card game War—with a slight twist. Before play begins, each player gets half of the deck (which contains 20 cards each of rock, paper, and scissors). To play, both players flip over the top card on their pile at the same time. You then consider the Rock Paper Scissors rules (paper covers rock, rock breaks scissors, scissors cut paper) and decide which card wins.

But here’s where the twist comes in. It doesn’t matter who played the winning card; what matters is who can call out the winning card first. For example, if you play a scissors card and your opponent plays a rock card—but you’re the first to call out “Rock!”—you win the hand. You then collect those two cards. In case of a tie, you flip two more cards—and the winner collects all four.

After all of the cards have been played, the player with the most collected cards wins.

Because I didn’t play Rock Paper Scissors much as a kid, Rock! didn’t come naturally for me. It took me an extra split-second of thought, so I didn’t win a whole lot of cards. For that reason, I wasn’t thrilled by the game’s twist—but I wasn’t the only one. My opponent and I both agreed that it seemed like an unnecessary complication to a game that worked just fine without it.

After playing a round or two by the rules, we then switched over and played it like War—with the player of the winning card taking both cards—and we liked it better that way. The War rules make it a quick and simple—yet low-stress—card game that’s a fun way to fill a few extra minutes.

So while it isn’t my new favorite game, Rock! offers an interesting new twist on a couple of old favorites. And, whichever way you play it, it’s a good way to pass the time.

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