Review: ClipCut Parks

4D747236-0D59-4FE5-8F05-83AF85922371

Length

Release Date

Designer: Shaun Graham, Scott Huntington
Artist: N/A
Publisher: Renegade Game Studios
Category: Roll-and-cut
Players: 1-4
Price: $19.99 Amazon.com

ClipCut Parks puts a spin on the roll-and-write genre, introducing “roll-and-cut.” In this game, players strategically cut a sheet of paper to accomplish objectives shown on cards. It is very simple to play, but its spatial puzzle makes players think in a unique way.

Review

ClipCut Parks is, without a doubt, the weirdest game I played in 2019. In it, players use scissors to cut up gridded sheets of paper. The grids show an assortment of colored squares, and players aim to detach certain sections of the paper to match the squares shown on objective cards.

At the start of the game, each player receives a pair of scissors, a sheet from the pad of paper, and 5 random cards. Every card shows a unique arrangement of squares, some colored, some neutral, and some with special iconography. From the cards dealt, each player flips 2 face-up to form their tableau.

At the start of every turn, a player rolls the die. According to the result, all players then make cuts in their paper – each number shown on the die refers to a length of cut that everyone must make. For example, the “4” result instructs all players to make a single, 4-length cut (that is, to cut a distance of 4 squares in a straight line).

If the die shows multiple numbers, say 1-2-3, players must make each cut separately; they cannot “combine” cuts on the same turn. In other words, a result of 3-3 could not be used to make a single, straight, 6-length cut. The scissors must either change direction or be moved elsewhere on the paper between each required cut.

As play continues, sections of paper will start to detach from players’ sheets. Any time this happens, players must either use the fallen pieces immediately or crumple them up and set them aside. To use a section of paper, a player places it on a face-up card in his/her tableau. This is where the card iconography and coloration come in – any pieces of paper placed on a card have to match its requirements. If a card shows a red square, for example, a red square of paper must be placed on top of it. Likewise, if a card shows the recycling symbol, the paper placed on top of it must bear the recycling symbol. (It is all pretty intuitive to understand.)

When a player completes a card, he/she sets it aside and flips over a new one. Completed cards grant helpful bonuses that can be used in the future. The first player to complete all 5 of their cards wins! In case of a tie, the player with fewer crumpled pieces of paper wins.

A completed park card.


At face value, it wouldn’t seem like ClipCut Parks would be THAT much different than other roll-and-write games. After all, it uses the same core principle: players roll the die and do something on their sheets with the result. However, the simple twist of using scissors instead of pencils gives this game a spatial challenge I have not seen in other roll-and-writes (or any other genre of game for that matter). It is a subtractive puzzle, and it tickles the brain in a very unique way.

ClipCut Parks has good component quality. The scissors could have easily been those cheap kindergarten ones that never work, but I was happy to find that they were the other kind, the grade-school kind that are fun and easy to use. The engraved die looks and feels great, and the game’s artwork is vibrant and colorful.

My group’s primary concern was a lack of replay value. As I mentioned, the spatial puzzle is really clever, but the overall experience still feels like a “once in a while” kind of thing, not an “every game night” kind of thing. (Personally, I don’t mind this, though. The way I see it, it’s good to have both kinds of games in a collection.)

Fans of roll-and-writes or spatial reasoning games will definitely want to check out ClipCut Parks. It uses a familiar concept in a way I have never seen before. It’s very weird, but very cool.

A review copy was provided by Renegade Game Studios.

The Bottom Line

 

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.