Build or Boom Game Review: Race to complete the design then…boom!

Best Moment

The first time playing with my tiny toddler made for one of those melt-your-heart parenting moments. We chose a level 1 build, and her tiny little fingers carefully placed each block in its spot as Dad fumbled around trying to get it right. Her big brother and sister cheered her on and chanted “Blow it up! Blow it up!” when she was done. She squealed with delight when she hit the dynamite and sent my blocks crashing to the table. It may seem small, but big wins for kids are even bigger wins for parents!

Gameplay Overview

Choose a build card from one of three levels of difficulty. On “go,” start building the design on your platform. When complete, smash the other player’s dynamite to send her blocks flying for the win!

Quick Thoughts

Build or Boom is a simple, easy-to-learn, easy-to-play game that is great as a time-filler. It takes about 6 seconds to get out and set up; you’ll play maybe 5-7 rounds just a couple minutes each, and put it back in the closet. As a parent, there is no feeling of, “Ugh, I don’t want to take the time or energy setting this massive thing up and cleaning it up afterwards.” It’s quick, simple, and highly entertaining: a high ROI, if you will!

I really like that there are varying levels of difficulty for different player ability levels. This expands the enjoyment factor across many ages instead of targeting a single age group. We actually took this a step further and challenged our oldest with a hard design while our middle child simultaneously built a medium design. This allows for a natural handicap of sorts for different skill levels.

While initially confused at the box’s description of two full sets included in the box, it really does include two full sets of blocks, platforms, and dynamite. Each player gets a large set of colorful, high-quality blocks. The first challenge of the game actually comes in finding the right pieces to use!

The blocks themselves are construction-oriented and clever. There are cylindrical barrels, bridge pieces, flat boards, I-beams, and many others. We never fail to have post-game creative time just building however we want. Have a challenge to see who can build the highest (mine got pretty high!) or see how many blocks you can stack on top of the little construction man. You can play speed mode or relaxing mode, whichever you prefer.

Tips & Tricks

  • You may need to check the work on some of those less-than-precise kids who value speed over quality!
  • While Build or Boom is absolutely a kids game, try competing as adults. If you’re competitive like we are, it will turn into a frantic riot!

Scoring & Wrap-up

Overall, as a young kids game, I give Build or Boom a very high 8 out of 10 (“Very good – enjoy playing and would suggest it” on BGG’s scale) for the following reasons:

Promoters

  • Quick and easy learning and playing
  • Varying levels of difficulty to accommodate different ages
  • Clever combination of block-building, instruction-following, and speed
  • Excitement factor getting to blow up the other player’s blocks
  • Gets the creative juices flowing

Detractors

  • This game took the win for the most difficult game to re-box. =-) I highly recommend taking a picture of the set-up before removing pieces to know how to fit the game back in the box. There could be a re-boxing image included or a bigger box to fit all the pieces. The solution? Just throw them all in the box and don’t care about proper positioning.
  • The plastic seems a bit stiff the first few times playing which requires some twisting of the cords (to keep the platforms level) and a firm hitting of the dynamite. The solution? Play a few times, and it will loosen up.

Boom or Build is perfect for young kids of all interests and ages. It’s a perfect supplemental birthday gift or stocking stuffer and teaches balance, hand-eye coordination, instruction-following, and even a little bit of physics (some of those harder designs are tricky!).


Disclaimer: I received this game for free in exchange for my review, but believe me, I post authentic reviews every time and will be brazenly blunt if needs be.

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