Here in Chicago the weather is transforming into Summer from Spring and the leaves are back on the trees and flowers have come up to greet us. With the last snow days behind us we look forward to being outside more often. This is a great time to take a look at The Tabletop Golf Association, a dextarity game designed by John Garcia and published by Meeple Mania Games.
I have the coordination of a sea sick crocodile so dexterity games are not my usual go to. However Tabletop Golf Association was a very pleasant surprise for me I honestly enjoyed all the aspects of this game. TGA was kickstarted in May of 2022 and sucessfully raised $158,000 USD. John Garcia published a book about his journey and you can also pick that up here on the Tabletop Golf Association Page.
Alright lets take a look at what Tabletop Golf association really is. Its a sandbox golf simulator that uses a dexterity mechanism as its primary mechanic. In the box there are 25 large hexagon tiles that are double sided and made of wood. Each of the tiles depicts something you might see on the golf course, from greens, fairways and sand traps to trees, water and cliffs. There are 2 tiles that have holes in them and these are well the holes. Also included in the box is a spinner for draw/slice, a weather die, 12 pro golfer cards to give you some special moves, a pad of score cards and most importantly 4 golf balls (large ball bearings with a plastic hoop around them). There is a lot packed into this box.
The first thing players will have to do is build out the hole they are golfing on. This was one of my favorite parts of the game. There are 25 tiles in the box that are double sided so players can design holes without repeating a design. There are example holes in manual and on the TGA website. They also have some expansion to buy and add more hazards and unique features to your base game. After a player builds a hole they determine par for that hole. Then the weather die is rolled to determine the strength and direction that the wind will blow your ball.
The first thing players will have to do is build out the hole they are golfing on. This was one of my favorite parts of the game.
To tee off a player will flick the ball. Players shouldn't push or toss the ball down the hole. There are maximum amount of tiles that the ball can traverse. The game has hazard tiles that a players golf ball can land on. The hazard tiles all have unique penalties and maximum fly distances. For example a player that finds themselves in the trees, the player has to use the middle finger on their non-dominant hand and the ball has a max fly of 3 tiles. Players that flick the ball off the tiles or onto a cliff tile have gone off course and get a one-shot penalty and re-shoot from their previous spot.
The last part of the game in the box are the Pros. The Pros are cards that can be dealt to each player to add some spice to the game. each pro has a special ability like Ralph Roughner who has no penalty when hitting out of the rough or Donald Driver who has a max fly of 8 from the tee box.They have even included rules for draws and fades or slices and hooks. One thing I want to mention that with the nice wooden tiles that are smooth on both sides its helpful to have a yoga mat or something with a little grip on the table to help hold the tiles together especially if you have your younglings playing.
The folks at Meeple Mania though a lot about golf when they designed this game. If you yourself are not a golfer don't worry this can actually teach you the game in a very easy way (you will still need to hit the driving range to figure out the hitting the ball part). I was able to play the game with some grade schoolers in a "light" version of the rules and they really enjoyed it. Speaking of family friendly there is family friendly version of Tabletop Golf Association coming to kick starter soon. So weather you playing this at the clubhouse with a cold beer and your foursome or you at home with the family you are sure to have some fun with Tabletop Golf Association.
Year Published: 2022
Recommended Ages: 10+
Time to Play: 30-120 minutes
A review copy of Tabletop Golf Association was provided to Bert's Tabletop Games for review purposes by Meeple Mania Games. Some links in this review are affiliate links.