Action Test

Piatnik, £8

Yet another card game, but this time one with a difference. For those with ancient game collections, this is the same game as Shock!, originally released in the seventies by the same company. Although it is billed and boxed as a card game, and looks like one, it is in fact a game of reaction with overtones of Snap. The game was, I believe, a training device used in the Austrian or perhaps German police which Piatnik decided to release to the general public. The game is played with three small packs of cards bearing a set of bold, symbolic pictures. The format of play is a little odd in that it requires an otherwise dormant third player to turn over the main stock of cards one by one. The other two players hold identical sets of cards which they have to play in response to the exposed card, hence the name of the game.

So, for instance, if the card turned over depicts a postman, you have to quickly lay your letter card, if it is a woman you play your rose (obviously incurable romantics at Piatnik) and if it is children, you give them a sweet (no raincoat jokes please). There are several combinations of cards, all with fairly logical 'picture association', spoilt for the UK market only by the rather different uniforms worn by Germany's public service equivalents. The first player to get the correct card on the table wins the turned over card and this builds up towards a game end points total. Very silly, occasionally funny (when you give a rose to the customs officer or cover your loved one with fire extinguisher foam) and strictly one for late night play.

As well as offering a bit of light relief, the reason I mention Action Test is that this new issue is rather different from that produced as Shock. In the earlier game, there were armed robber and terrorist cards that needed, respectively, a sub-machine gun or pistol response. The idea was that you didn't get carried away with the hardware and bag a policeman who was simply asking for your driving licence. These violent acts have completely disappeared from the new game, probably reflecting the modern views regarding all violence as a bad thing, but in the process losing sight of the original purpose (and message) of the game which was to test reaction AND thought. The old rule in which you lose the game completely if you shoot something you shouldn't (the children card looking very similar to the terrorist plus captive) has gone without trace.

Back to Res Publica or on to Collectors Corner.

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