Updated: Jun 14, 2021
Sometimes when I play games I want lots of moving parts, granular scoring, deep tactics, a heavy dose of story, art, theme and atmosphere and other times I just want to have silly, uncomplicated fun. Toc Toc Woodman is really the epitome of that.
This month’s theme was “It’s Kinda Like…” I put together a list of games that you could describe as “kinda like” different mass market titles. We played Terra (which is kinda like Trivial Pursuit), Mysterium (which is kinda like Cluedo), For Sale (which is kinda like stretching the definition of Monopoly to breaking point) and Toc Toc Woodman which obviously owes some of its design choices to Jenga.
A Quick Overview
The players build a tree in the centre of the table from nine rings made from fives pieces - four bark pieces and a core. Then in turn order each player takes a plastic axe and hits the tree twice. You score 1 point for each piece of bark and -5 points for each core. The player with the most points wins.
Why choose it?
When I was putting together this list I wanted to demonstrate some games that my players could, at future dinner parties at Rick and Laurie’s house, when the inevitable post-wine Jenga comes out, say “Oh yeah, we played a game like this, except you got to hit the tower with an axe!”
Everyone has played Jenga or Cluedo making the concepts and themes in these games instantly recognisable but allowing for a fresh take and interesting twists.
Did they like it?
There is very little not to like about Toc Toc Woodman. The rules are simple but there is a skill to hitting the tree that requires good manual dexterity. The game provides genuine tension mixed with big laughs as the whole thing comes crashing down. The only people who might not like it are those playing a game at the next table. Toc Toc is a loud game, not only from the table talk and cheers but also from the pieces hitting the table or indeed the floor!
There’s not much left to say that I haven’t already said. Toc Toc Woodman is a perfect little filler that provides great table presence and few rules but demands actual skill. The design of the pieces allows for them not only to slide easily out from underneath each other, but the weight of each section of the tree pushes down on the next requiring you to know how much force to use with each swing.
This isn’t a deep game by any stretch of the imagination but it is a fun one and it is one you can go back to time and time again.
A review copy of the game was provided by Mayday games