Toc Toc Woodman Review

Toc Toc Woodman (or Click Clack Jumberjack) set up to play

Just in case you're new to the site, there's one genre of game that immediately captures my attention, beckoning me to play every title within it's realm.  (My loyal readers know where this is going.)  Yes - that's right.  I love dexterity games!  So, none of you will be in any way surprised that I asked for a review copy of Toc Toc Woodman. (Though, to be fair, I also like rhyming, so I prefer its alternate name of Click Clack Lumberjack.)

Toc Toc Woodman is simple (because it's a dexterity game). You start the game with a tree made of plastic.  Upon each section (or "ring") there are four pieces of bark that are carefully balanced.  Players alternate taking two turns hitting the tree with a giant plastic axe (that is about the same height as the tree, so the lumberjacks are obviously giants that are trying to make toothpicks with these tiny trees).  Each piece of bark that a player knocks off is worth one point, but each center ring that a player knocks off is worth negative five points.  The game is played until all of the bark is removed from the tree.  (Because that's how real lumberjacks do it - they don't need that junk in the middle of the tree.  It's all about the bark.  I think they're trying to make the world's least efficient piece of armor out of it.)

Now that you know how to play the game, I suppose I'll tell you what is good about it.  First, the components are very well done.  The pieces all slide very easily, which is incredibly important with a game like this.  (It would be awful if you knocked a piece off, but then it wouldn't fall because it got stuck.)  Also, the axe is nice, and, though I joked earlier about how tall it is compared to the tree, the length really does help you swing it at the tree more easily.

Tree ready to topple in Toc Toc Woodman (Click Clack Lumberjack)
A delicate situation
The next pro for Toc Toc Woodman is that the rules are well thought out.  Whereas you would hope (and assume) this for most genres, it's not necessarily a given in dexterity games.  Or, I should say, that it doesn't always matter if the rules are well thought out in dexterity games.  However, the fact that you get to hit the tree twice in Toc Toc Woodman is a really nice touch.  After the first few rounds, the tree will most likely be in a very precarious position.  So, it is helpful that you can use your first swing of the axe to try to stabilize the tree.  If each player was only given one swing, then any time you tried to stabilize the tree, you would just be helping your opponents.  It's nice that this situation has been thought through.  The other aspect of the rules that is well thought out is the scoring.  Since each piece of bark is worth one, and the center rings are negative five (and each ring holds one piece of bark), you lose one point for each entire section you knock over.  If this weren't the case, then once you had a lead, you could try to just knock over whatever was left of the tree.  Again, a fairly small rule, but one that shows that the game designer put some effort into the rulebook.

The other beauty of dexterity games?  There's not really that much to say about them, so I get to keep the reviews short and sweet... and on that note, let's move on to the cons.

The two cons that I have for Toc Toc Woodman are both related to time.  First (this one is pretty trivial), the game is a bit of a nuisance to set up to play, since you have to assemble each piece and then stack it without the pieces sliding back off.  If you're playing with a few players and they're all helping, though, then this is mitigated.

Second (also trivial), the game can take a bit longer than it should if players are overly careful when they play.  So, you have to strike a balance between playing to win (aka not losing points by knocking things over) and actually playing the game.  If you hit the tree, and it moves less than a millimeter, then you're probably playing a bit too safe - pick up the pace so that we can play it five more times, please.

Overall, I give Toc Toc Woodman an 8.0/10.  I really enjoyed it, and it is a happy new addition to my growing library of dexterity games.  However, it doesn't have that "special something" of games like PitchCar and Crokinole.  But, that's not to say that I don't intend to keep playing it - I do.

If you like dexterity games, then you're in good company!  Because I like them too!  You should check out the games I just mentioned, but also check out Catacombs, Bamboleo, and AttrAction.

I would like to thank Mayday Games for providing me with a review copy of Toc Toc Woodman.

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