Product Type: other board games
Newest Review: ... there is a tube the centre is covered with holes in where you poke loads of plastic straws, you then drop a load of marbles on top of the... more
Kerplunk!!!! Say no more!
Member Name: Jojoborne
Advantages: Fun. Noisy. Kids love it. An old, cult classic. Not too expensive. Easy to store.
Disadvantages: Can be a bit flimsy if you buy an immitation of fake. If you don't like noise then don't buy it.
This review is for the Kerplunk game as a whole and not just this particular version because I feel the consumer needs to be able to compare the other versions against this version of the game. My aim is to to show how this version stands up against the other versions thus giving the consumer a valued opinion of whether or not to purchase it.
I was born in nineteen sixty-seven, which was the same year as the, soon to be popular, game 'Kerplunk' entered the toys and games market. I was given Kerplunk by my parents for Christmas in nineteen seventy-five when I was eight years old. So I will always remember this game, not just because I had it myself many years ago but because it came out in the same year as I was born, so I feel there is a link there, however tenuous it may seem.
The word 'Kerplunk' drives from the sound that the marbles in the game make when they hit a plastic tray at the bottom of the tower they fall from.
The game contents
Kerplunk was manufactured by 'Ideal' games, as I said, in nineteen sixty-seven and, in terms of sales figures, veritably took the games world by storm.
The game consisted of a plastic cylinder, measuring about 30 inches, when stood vertically, known as the 'Kerplunk Tower'. Twenty-five narrow sticks, known as 'Skinny' sticks. Thirty-two marbles and a tower base. The game was easy to put together so didn't use up too much of Grandfather's sweat and tears come Christmas morning.
Everything came in a sturdy, robust box and was easy to store away after use.
Setting up the game
The tower was placed in the tower base and placed in the middle of the playing area. The good thing about Kerplunk is that children enjoy putting it together and setting up the game. The tower has a middle section that is perforated; the small holes are made for the skinny sticks to pass through.
Once the tower is standing, the skinny sticks are placed at random through the holes in the middle section. Each stick is pushed into a hole and thread through the tower to eventually find its way out of the opposite side through another hole. This creates a web of sticks and once all twenty-five sticks are in place they provide a sturdy cradle or nest when viewed from above.
The thirty-two marbles are then placed into the top of the tower and rest on top of the sticks. The marbles become lodged in the tower as there is no way for them to drop with all twenty-five sticks in place.
The base of the tower contains four trays in which to catch falling marbles. These trays are numbered one to four to denote the corresponding players. Before the game starts the tower is rotated so that tray number one is open and the other three trays are blocked.
The game is now ready to play.
Playing the game
Kerplunk is made for two to four players.
To start the game, player one (or nineteen sixty-seven me) pulls out any of the skinny sticks. The tower is then rotated so that the opening in the base is now set for tray number two and player number two (only mildly sweaty Grandad). Player two pulls a stick out and rotates the tower to tray three and player three chooses a stick and so on.
As the sticks begin to dwindle and gaps start to appear in the web, marbles will start to fall. So if a player chooses a stick that dislodges three or four marbles, the marbles drop and fall into their tray. The aim of the game is to remove a stick that you think will dislodge the least number of marbles and try to keep you tray marble free. The winner is the person who has least marbles in their tray when the sticks have all been removed (not usually, starting to sweat profusely from the effort, Grandad).
Kerplunk could be a really fun game for kids and I have often took joy from watching them play as I've grown older. My two daughters loved it and the concentration on their little faces and the trepidation as they slowly removed a stick was priceless. The game can be very noisy, with screams of delight, moans of despair and marbles crashing into the base, or Kerplunking, reverberating about the house.
Kerplunk over the years
There have been many variations of the game since nineteen sixty-seven and sadly the manufacturers have changed a number of times and tried to cash in on the name, which has sadly resulted in some shoddy versions hitting the shops quality-wise.
The original Ideal version was a solidly made game and all the parts and pieces were well made. It was a dream to put together and children found it easy to do so. 'Mattel' picked up the game in the late seventies and also did a relatively good job of making a game that stood up to the battering that young children dish out when in 'destroy everything' mode.
The problems started in nineteen ninety-one when 'Tyco' picked it up. For some reason the tower was made of weaker plastic and the sticks were no longer sturdy, but bendy, and snapped easily. There are many review sites and forums where people have complained of this and a handful of people have actually complained to Tyco, saying that their children became frustrated putting the game together and that it didn't set up properly.
Hasbro have also manufactured a version of Kerplunk that does not stand up to the original version at all in the way of quality or craftsmanship and they really had to delve deep and research in order to create a better model. The outcome was the game on show here and they really haven't done so bad a job. They've combined many of the games better aspects and have seemigly come up with the goods.
Many other companies have since tried to remake Kerplunk.
In 2002 Mattel brought out a version called 'Super Kerplunk' or '
Kerplunk 2' to try and restore some of the games reputation. They have gone some way to doing this as the quality is a lot better than it has been for a while. The game however is a little harder to set up for children and a bit more complex to play but still fun and probably a lot more appealing as the game involves coloured marbles and a spiral tower with a helter skelter slide for the marbles to run down. The game is also lengthened by the fact that you have to drop the marbles from one level to another instead of straight the way to the bottom in one go.
Mattel still make the game for the US market today and it has been taken up in England by the very dignified company of Milton and Bradley and you can be assured there will be no shoddy parts or pieces in their game.
One of the most popular versions or 'cash-ins', whichever way you want to look at it was the 'Toy Story' version, also known as 'Alien Freefall Kerplunk'. The marbles are replaced by the little green aliens from the movie Toy Story and the tower is emblazoned with the Toy Story brand and its characters.
A rather cute version was the 'Honey Bee Tree', which, funnily enough, was shaped like a tree and used bees and honeycombs as the playing parts.
'Tumble' and 'Tumbling' are other well known names for Kerplunk.
The game has become known as Mikado across certain parts of Europe and also called Kosmakado, Mika-Bille and Mirmelmikado.
The game is popular the world over and even Japan and China have picked up on its popularity. France, Italy and other European countries have made versions of the game with many different names including Bolitas que Caen and Cai-Nao-Cai.
There are new rules such as the ones in Mattel's Super Kerplunk and in some games there are other variations such as keeping all the trays open so the marbles can drop to anyone. Nothing more satisfying than pulling a stick that releases eight marbles into someone elses tray....mmmuuwwwahhhh!
There has even been a giant sized adult version made for parties or barbecues in back gardens or beer gardens. It's called 'Cannonball Drop' and uses a giant tower, twenty-four huge sticks or straws and thirty cannon balls. The person who unleashes the most giant cannon balls is the loser!
My Final Thoughts
I'm glad to say that Hasbro have sorted themselves out and this game is now better quality and much more like the original, even if they have really taken Mattel's idea for Super Kerplunk and used that in some ways. I suppose no one can really blame them, after the poor attempts first time round they needed a fim base to build on and I feel they just about got it right
Kerplunk will always hold a special place in my heart and it is really good to see that it still holds appeal for children today after almost forty-five years on the market.
I would recommend it to anyone with children as it is fun, exciting and good for hand eye coordination and problem solving. It is easy to play and very involving, without being too serious.
It can be put together easily (providing you buy the right one) and all goes back into the box in a neat fashion. The box isn't too big and can be stored with other games or placed on a shelf without looking untidy.
Only one thing left to say really...........KERPLUNK!
Summary: Good old fashioned excitement and noise all rolled into one little tube.