Menu

Tapple

Reviewed by: Herb Levy

(USAopoly, 2 to 8 players, ages 8 and up, 10-20 minutes, $19.95)

tappleAnother one in the recent spate of mass market offerings from USAopoly is a word game category game twist which is described as a Touch Activate Press & Play Letter Eliminator or, for short, Tapple.

As a category game, Tapple derives its inspiration from the original German word game Pim Pam Pet, a game that has been popular in Europe for almost 100 years. But games like it have appeared in America too.

Vintage games such as Quick Wit (Parker Brothers, 1938) and Dig (another Parker Brothers game which first appeared in 1940) share similar goals. The goal in Tapple, as in both its decades old predecessors, is simple: find a particular item or thing that fits into a particular category. In Quick Wit, cards expose different categories and letters and players try to be the first to call out something that fits; Dig uses cork “shovels” to “dig out” letters from a pile to construct a word fitting a specified category. Tapple modernizes this basic play with its “touch activator”.

The “touch activator” is a circular piece of plastic with a large red button in the center (powered by 2 AA batteries) and letters of the alphabet around its perimeter. (Not all letters are in play, however. No Q, U, V, X, Y or Z here.) And play could not be more simple.

A category card (from the 36 category cards with 144 categories) from the game is chosen and a particular category on that card announced. In turn order, a player presses the red button of the activator and has 10 seconds to call out a word that fits the category and press down the corresponding button that matches the first letter of the called word. No other word beginning with that letter may now be used. The player then presses the red button again and it’s the next player’s turn. He must call out a different word beginning with a different letter before time runs out. If a player cannot think of a word that fits the category, uses a word that begins with one of the used letters or just runs out of time, that player is out. The next player continues until only one player is left. That last surviving player ends the round, claiming the category card of the round and the next round begins with a new category card and all players once again involved.

The first player to amass three category cards wins!

Tapple is sturdy, a desirable quality in a item where you will be pounding the letter keys constantly. The yellow, circular, reset mechanism of the keys works well too (and it’s kind of cute to see all the letters pop into place all at once). Rules are about as simple as can be.

Tapple is one of those oddities: a game that functions like a toy. The time element adds a certain amount of frenzy to the action and fun. You will be amazed at what comes out of people’s mouths when the clock is ticking and “easy” answers are no longer available. For this reason, it is good to a be a little flexible as to what constitutes an acceptable answer. Otherwise, the game can bog down.

Although category cards are divided into “hard” and “easy” categories, that tends to be a distinction without a difference because what would be considered “adult strategy” is not a factor here. This is purely an exercise in quick thinking, leaning heavily on “gimmick” rather than “game”. Because of this, Tapple may not have much staying power with those of us who take their games seriously. But with kids, it’s a different story. This is the kind of game where rules are easy, play is quick (and noisy) and one that forces you to think fast, a combination that kids often find irresistible. And when you think about it, that, actually, is not a bad thing.


Have feedback? We’d love to hear from you.


Winter 2014 GA Report Articles

 

Reviewed by: Chris Kovac (What's Your Game?, 2 to 4 players, ages 12 and up, 60-120 minutes, $50) Asgard is a four player worker placement game designed by Pierluca Zizzi with a theme of Nordic gods battling it out for control of the seven worlds. The goal of the game is to have the most points (by building temples, winning battles during normal rounds of ...
Read More
Reviewed by: Herb Levy (USAopoly, 2 to 4 players, ages 8 and up, 15-30 minutes, $24.95) With the success of Telestrations (featured in the Spring 2011 issue of Gamers Alliance Report), it seems that USAopoly has decided that the mass market for games is a market worth exploring. And so they have with two new releases (both featured this issue). This review focuses on one ...
Read More
[With Jeff Feuer casting an eye on Star Realms and drawing some comparisons between it and Ascention: Chronicle of the Godslayer as both was done by the same designer, we thought it would be a good idea and useful to our readers to "flashback" to Jeff's initial look at Ascension in his review as it first appeared in the Fall 2010 issue of GA Report.] ...
Read More
[One of our popular semi-regular features has been Game Classics, a look back at some great games that, for various reasons, no longer populate the shelves of game stores or online retailers. We haven't done one of these since 2010 when we featured Star Reporter by Parker Brothers. Now, several years later, in this, our latest installment, we take a look at another Parker game ...
Read More
Reviewed by: Pevans (Feuerland/Z-Man Games, 1 to 4 players, ages 13 and up, 80 minutes, $64.99) After making a big impact with their first game, Terra Mystica, in 2012, I was intrigued to see what Feuerland Spiele would come up with for 2013. The answer is a new game from Uwe Rosenberg, Die Glasstrasse. Z-Man Games publishes the English language edition, Glass Road, and I ...
Read More
Reviewed by: Kevin Whitmore (Fantasy Flight Games, 1 to 4 players, ages 14 and up, 120-240 minutes, $79.99) Merchant of Venus was originally released in 1988 by Avalon Hill. Designed by Richard Hamblen, players explore a forgotten wing of deep space. With the demise of Monarch/Avalon Hill in 1998, copies of this game gradually disappeared, eventually turning this game into a "grail" game. For awhile, ...
Read More
Reviewed by: Joe Huber (Kosmos, 2 to 4 players, ages 12 and up, 90+ minutes, $69.99) Wolfgang Kramer is one of the most notable game designers around, nearly four decades after his first published design and three decades after his first Spiel des Jahres award. It’s interesting to note how his career shifted, over time, from designing almost exclusively on his own to designing most ...
Read More
Reviewed by: Herb Levy (Victory Point Games, 2-4 players, ages 13 and up, 20-30 minutes; $21.99) Hundreds of years ago, when explorers from Europe set out to explore the New World of the Americas, little did they realize that their adventures would become the sources of inspiration for game designers everywhere. But exploration is the theme in Old World, New World, the new game designed ...
Read More
Reviewed by: Herb Levy (Days of Wonder, 2 to 5 players, ages 10 and up, 40-80 minutes, $60) Intrepid explorers, delving into the mysteries of ancient ruins and temples to recover valuable artifacts, are the roles facing players in Relic Runers, the latest release from Days of Wonder, designed by Matthew Dunstan. Relic Runners comes in the typical Days of Wonder big square box which, ...
Read More
Reviewed by: Greg J. Schloesser (Ludonaute, 1 to 5 players, ages 8 and up, 30 minutes, about $29) Solitaire (also known as Patience and Klondike, which has some minor variations) must be one of the most universally played card games. Its origin is not known with exact certainty, but is widely attributed to Lady Adelaide Cadogan, whose book Games of Patience contained the solitaire card ...
Read More
Reviewed by: Jeff Feuer (White Wizard Games, 2 to 6 players, ages 12 and up, 20 minutes, $14.95) Star Realms is a deck-building card game for any number of players (each copy of the game lets you add up to 2 more players) by designers Robert Doughtery (co-designer of Ascension and it’s expansions) and Darwin Kastle (co-designer with Doughtery on Battleground: Fantasy Warfare). The designers ...
Read More
Reviewed by: Andrea "Liga" Ligabue (Cranio Creations, 2 to 4 players, ages 10 and up, 60 minutes; $34.99) What really makes the difference between a success and an average game is sometimes something not really well defined that deals with the great mystery of what is fun. To me, what really makes a game fun is a mix of good rules, entertainment, challenges, theme, graphics ...
Read More
Reviewed by: Herb Levy (USAopoly, 2 to 8 players, ages 8 and up, 10-20 minutes, $19.95) Another one in the recent spate of mass market offerings from USAopoly is a word game category game twist which is described as a Touch Activate Press & Play Letter Eliminator or, for short, Tapple. As a category game, Tapple derives its inspiration from the original German word game ...
Read More
A Piece of the Antidote Sometimes listening to the news can be demoralizing and just plain sad. As I'm writing this, we have marked the one year anniversary of the tragedy at Newtown Connecticut when one truly disturbed gunman took the lives of 26 people including 20 children in a burst of gunfire. At the same time, another troubled teen entered a school with weapons ...
Read More

If you enjoy games, then Gamers Alliance is right for you!