In this review, I take a look at a very interesting physics based game that I first got to try back in 2018 at Queen City Conquest.
My friends like to refer to Drop It as “Connect Four for gamers” and I can’t disagree with them.
Read on to find out why I’m glad to finally have a copy in my collection.
Disclosure: This one was a Christmas gift from my in-laws. Links in this post may be affiliate links. As an Amazon associate we earn from qualifying purchases.
Learn about Drop It from Kosmos
This second edition is the version I received as a gift and the only difference between this second printing and the first is a Parent’s Choice Silver Award logo on the cover of the box. The game was also Recommended by the American Tabletop Early Gamers and was a Meeple’s Choice Nominee.
Drop It plays two to four players (more with the team play variant) with games taking about half an hour. The box lists the age requirement as eight and up but I don’t see any real reason even younger kids couldn’t play it (unless you have concerns with them putting pieces in their mouth).
In Drop It, players take turns dropping squares, triangles, circles and diamonds of their own colour into the board which consists of an upright plastic tray. Players then get points for how high up the board the shape is and if it is touching any special scoring circles. Be careful though as you’ll score zero points if your shape touches a matching shape or colour.
For a look at what you get with this unique dexterity game check out our Drop It Unboxing video on YouTube.
Overall the component quality here is awesome, with painted birch wood pieces, a solid tray and base, and ridiculously thick card board score board and counters. The game also comes with wooden blocks in each player colour for tracking your score.
One thing of note is that the box insert is designed for keeping the game components safe, especially the main gameplay tray. My particular insert was quite beat up due to this, which meant it was doing its job. This is great but I could see some game collectors being put off by having a damaged insert.
How to play Drop It.
You start a game of Drop It by dividing the pieces between the players.
With four players, everyone grabs all the pieces in one colour. With two players each player chooses two colours to play but uses only one scoring marker. The three player version of Drop It is a bit odd, as each player picks a colour to play and then the last set of pieces is divided evenly between the players.
To start, players place their scoring marker on the zero spot on the scoring track and the “board” is created by sliding the tray into its base and placing the bottom and side boards into and on these. Be sure to match up the letters on the tray, base and boards.
Each turn, players choose one of their coloured shapes to drop into the board, then depending on where it lands they may or may not score points. No points are awarded if the newly dropped shape is touching anything that is the same shape or colour. This includes previously dropped pieces as well as the bottom and edges of the board.
If you had a safe drop you then get points based on how high up your piece is with scores for each zone being listed on the side of the board. You also get bonus points if your piece is touching any of the circles on the centre portion of the board, which score one to three bonus points depending on their size.
Play then passes to the next player until everyone has played all of their pieces.
The important thing to note is that only the current drop matters. It’s only the piece that was just dropped that is used to calculate points earned that turn. The fact other pieces are going to shift, bounce and move around has no impact on the game score.
After the last piece is dropped the player with the most points wins.
In addition to these basic rules, there are four variant ways to play. The most basic is the easy mode where you ignore the bottom and edge pieces. You still place them in the tray as they show the points for each level but pieces aren’t eliminated based on the edges they touch.
The next variant also involves the edges. This has you flip the side and bottom boards to their other sides. These show shapes instead of colours for determining when a drop scores.
Drop It can be played in teams. This method of play can extend the game past the four player maximum. Team members share a score token and each team gets two colours and players alternate dropping pieces. The team with the most points wins.
The final variant was our favourite and involves the joker tiles. Each player takes two joker tiles. These can be spent after a drop to score a piece that otherwise wouldn’t score due to touching a matching shape or colour. If a player manages to get to the end of the game with tiles left they score three points per remaining joker.
Drop It will appeal to a wide range of gamers
I first got to play Drop It at Queen City Conquest in Buffalo New York back in 2018 and I’ve been meaning to get a copy since. Back then Deanna and Sean got to play it before me and taught me to play between RPG sessions.
Even back then I was smitten with the game and that hasn’t changed. While Drop It might not look like much there’s more going on here than you would think.
What I love most about Drop It is that it actually requires a good amount of logic, tactics and strategy. Picking what piece to drop when, what pieces to use up and which to save and when to use your jokers (if using that optional rule) are interesting decision points.
This is combined with the fun of watching what happens when you drop a piece and then being surprised when things don’t go as you expect or delighted when a drop goes perfectly.
Everyone I have played this game with has noted, on their first play, that the pieces don’t act how they expect. Adding to this is the brilliant design of the tray based board. The fact it tapers outward really helps to make each drop more interesting and hugging the corners more difficult than you would expect.
The scoring system is really well done and pushes you to take risks in order to get your piece that little bit higher or to make sure you hit a bonus circle. Once you’ve played a couple of rounds you also start to pay attention to what colours and shapes the other players have which can lead to some really cutthroat plays, especially later in the game.
We’ve played the game multiple times in different configurations and all of the ways to play are fun. In the end, we all seem to prefer playing with the colour sides of the boards and the joker tiles. What I like most about the jokers is that they can offset a mistake or turn a dead round into a way to instead get some points. With that, I also dig that if you can play well enough you won’t need to use them and can get some bonus points at the end.
While playing we also came up with a fifth variant and that is mixing and matching the side boards so that one area shows colours and the other shapes.
I do have a couple of issues with Drop It that are both design choices. The biggest one is that on the shape side of the edge boards the shapes are rather small and each of them is crossed out with an X which is larger than the shape. This makes some of the shapes hard to see at a quick glance, especially in some of the thinner scoring areas.
My next complaint is that the joker tiles are just thick enough that they look like you should be dropping them into the board along with the other pieces, but they are also just thick enough that they can get stuck. Now, this isn’t going to really be a problem for most groups but could be a problem if you play with younger kids. Even my youngest daughter, who isn’t all that young, when handed a joker immediately went to drop it into the top of the board to see what it would do.
Gameplay wise I can see one potential problem with this game, one that will only come up with highly competitive players, and that’s when you get an edge case and it’s hard to see if a piece really does reach a higher level, if a piece is or isn’t touching a scoring bonus and if a piece is or isn’t touching something of the same shape or colour.
If you play with highly competitive players I suggest setting some ground rules before the first game, like deciding does a piece have to be past a level line or touching it to count for more points. Personally, we’ve always used the “friendly debate” option of if it looks close just give the player the points. Now one trick we did find for people who really want to get up close and verify a drop is to put a white piece of paper up behind the board. This makes it much easier to clearly see any potential gaps.
Overall I loved Drop It when I first got to play it back in 2018 and love it just as much, if not more, now. Back when I first played I didn’t know the variant rules and I’ve got to say I think the best way to play Drop It is with four players and using the jokers. I also really dig the fact that you can play Drop It with more than four by breaking into teams. This makes this already great looking game even better for public play events.
Due to the amount of depth in this game, I think it’s going to appeal to a wide range of gamers despite its somewhat toy-like look.
There are some really solid decision points in this game and there is skill required to play well, and unlike many dexterity games that skill is as much or more about choosing the right piece to drop in the right place than it is about performing a physical act well.
Everyone I’ve shown this game to has loved it and I don’t expect that to change. It’s also a fantastic game for anything where you are gaming in public as it’s going to catch people’s attention.
This is the kind of game even heavy gamers should at least give a shot.
I’m super happy to now have a copy of Drop It in my collection and I expect this game to get a lot of play in the coming years.
Sometimes it’s easy. You try a game somewhere and enjoy it and then later get a copy of that game and it’s just as good as you remember.
That’s always a pleasant experience and one I don’t get to enjoy as often as I used to since we’re usually worried about the latest review copies that have shown up.
I’m really happy to have received a copy of Drop It as a gift. I’ve been meaning to pick this game up for quite some time now and now I don’t have to worry about getting around to it.