I was going to start this review with the Lumberjack Song lyrics from Monty Python, but I don’t think it’s actually appropriate for what is essentially a family game 😉 This is a dexterity game where you have to try chopping the bark off of the trees without actually knocking off the trunk.
Created in 2008 by Justin Oh, it’s actually the first Korean game that I have in my collection. I was first intrigued by it when I heard stories of a 3yr old winning a game.
Opening the box
Specs on the box:
- Age 5+ (hey if a 3yr old can play it anyone can!)
- 2-7 players
- 10 minutes
Inside the box is an instruction leaflet and a plastic bag. The bag contains all the elements to build a tree. A base with some roots upon which you stack several cores and bark that needs to be attached to the cores. There is a sticker sheet with bugs on them that are stuck on the inside of a few pieces of bark. It’s important to note that the game has different names, there’s Click Clack Lumberjack and Tok Tok Woodman. From what I gather only Click Clack Lumberjack has these grubs.
There’s also an axe. It’s plastic but kids love playing with it, as do some adults.
Pro tip, the box is rather weak and will over time be destroyed, which is why you’re supplied with the handy bag. To make the box last longer I recommend putting the bag into the box first and then putting everything into the bag. It will save the box for a little while longer.
Ok, you’re supposed to be a Lumberjack, but one that’s not chopping down any trees. You just want to chop down the bark. I’m guessing it’s maybe a test of skill on the part of the lumber jacks. This is one of those games that you don’t play for the theme, you play because it can make you laugh.
Each player will take turns making 2 hacks at the tree with the axe. Anything that falls off of the tree you keep. Once everything is off the round is over and you score up points.
Each piece of bark is a point. If you have a bug on it it’s an extra point and or an extra cop on the tree depending on how you want to play it. Each core that you have knocked off is – 5 points! That’s a lot because each core only holds 4 pieces of bark.
The winner of each round gets 1 less hit in the next round and the person who was last can get an optional extra hit.
Play until you feel like stopping, whoever won the most rounds wins.
It’s a quaint little game. Very much like Jenga but with a little more theme and the “tower” is far more prone to toppling over. I find it enjoyable and it’s a decent filler game, especially if people have had a few drinks. As everything is made of plastic you don’t have to worry about spills and damaged components, you just wash and wipe it down.
What I really like is how easy it is to teach to small children. They take to it VERY quickly and can easily entertain themselves. It’s often brought out when the young cousins come to visit or if we have a bunch of non-gamers who just want to have a few laughs.
I personally prefer games with a little more strategic depth to them but this one does see the table every now and again.
Can I play this at a braai?
Easily. You can play it almost anywhere. I don’t recommend restaurants though. Sometimes people don’t realise how light the pieces are and they go flying. Also most places use dark wooden flooring and it’s easy to end up missing a piece.