Review – Table Golf Association

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Designer John Garcia

Publisher Table Golf Association

Category Dexterity (Flicking)

Length 30-120 minutes (variable)

Release Date 2022

Player Count 1-8

Table Golf Association brings the golf course right to your game night! Build your dream course and get ready for a fun day on the green—it’s tee time!

Review

In Table Golf Association, players chip, putt, and slice their way to victory on the golf course. Played using similar rules to real golf, this game tests players’ accuracy as they flick special “golf ball” pieces along custom courses.

Inside the box are 25 double-sided, wooden tiles, from which players can build countless course configurations. The tiles have landscape features like water, trees, sand, and rough, each of which has an in-game effect. A ball in the rough, for instance, must be flicked with a finger on the non-dominant hand, and a ball in the sand must be flicked using, specifically, the non-dominant thumb. The hole tiles have an actual hole cut out of them, so the ball will physically drop in when it reaches the goal.

The different terrain types each have a “Max Fly” distance, which is the maximum number of hexes the ball can travel from that terrain. A ball on the fairway, for instance, can travel up to 7 hexes away, but a ball in the trees can only travel up to 3.

Each turn, the active player must roll the weather die to determine course conditions. The weather will either be sunny (no effect), windy, or very windy. If either of the latter are rolled, the player spins the spinner to show the wind direction. Wherever their ball lands, then, it is moved 1 or 2 ball lengths in that direction (1 for windy or 2 for very windy).

Players can either play the holes in sequence, where everyone independently plays the entire hole, or using traditional golf rules, where they all play the hole at the same time, marking their ball positions after each shot. (Personally, I prefer the first way.)

An included score pad helps players track their progress (scoring is done just like in regular golf), and the game ends when players have completed the agreed-upon number of holes.


Given that my game collection includes Crokinole, PitchCar, and Tumblin’ Dice, Table Golf Association is in good company. I enjoy this game for the same reasons I enjoy other dexterity games: it’s easy to get into, fun to play, and it’s a nice change of pace from traditional strategy games. There’s something very entertaining about games of flicking/stacking/balancing, silly games that just let you turn off your brain and have a good time.

The production of TGA is superb, with components that are built to last. The wooden tiles are quite durable, and the ball pieces slide beautifully along them. Precise flicking takes skill, so the more time players spend with this game, the better they will get at it. The included trophy piece is a nice touch, and the game also comes with 4 cardboard club pieces for folks who might have difficulty flicking. For being a self-published product, Table Golf Association is very good quality.

That said, there are a couple of hangups that I should mention. First, this game would have benefitted from numbered tiles. The rulebook includes a few pre-generated courses, but it is cumbersome to have to hunt for the correct hexes, especially when the correct hexes could be on either side of a given tile. Simply numbering them 1A/1B, 2A/2B, etc. would have helped a lot.

And speaking of the pre-generated courses, some of them cannot be built due to the distribution of tile faces. In the first course, for instance—likely a new player’s very first exposure to this game—the setup calls for 2 distinct hexes, but in reality, those 2 hexes are printed on opposite sides of the same tile. This means a player can use 1 hex or the other, but not both, and therefore cannot build the course as shown. (When I first noticed this, I thought I was going crazy, so I did what any gamer would do and checked the BGG forums. Turns out others have noticed this issue as well.)

Admittedly, neither of these problems are that big a deal, since TGA is largely about building custom courses rather than using premade ones. However, they are significant enough that they might mar a player’s first impression of an otherwise fun game.

It should be noted that players need not enjoy real-life golf to enjoy this game. I am entirely indifferent about the actual sport, but that doesn’t hamper my liking of TGA. To that end, folks who do like real golf—those who exist at the center of the gamer-golfer Venn diagram—will likely love this game. There is even an advanced mode for folks who want to step things up.

Overall, Table Golf Association is a fun dexterity game. It takes itself more seriously than most flicking games, but as a result, it’s a pretty faithful adaptation of real golf. If it sounds like something you might enjoy, check it out!

A review copy was provided by the publisher.

The Bottom Line

Table Golf Association is a fun dexterity game. It takes itself more seriously than most flicking games, but as a result, it’s a pretty faithful adaptation of real golf.

 

7

Author: Stephen Hall

A bard pretending to be a cleric. Possibly a Cylon, too. I was there when they dug up the "E.T." cartridges.