“Don’t even try it Daddy…DON’T DO IT!!!”
Oh, Daddy did it alright. I had to move a cardboard raft with 14 wooden pieces on it to score my four-shell scoring card, and I love a good challenge. With soft hands and a delicate touch, I was able to move my loaded raft successfully, which got me not only my scoring card, but a fun moment and an eventual victory over my cutthroat 8-year-old daughter.
Flotsam Float (2022, HABA) features quite a few of these moments. I know I have a winner when my kids ask to play a game again right after an initial play, and both of my kids have left Flotsam Float out on our family game table for days. It’s a winner.
Treasure, Snakes, Lighthouses, Oh My
Flotsam Float is so easy to get to the table thanks to its simple approach to a dexterity game.
Cardboard islands are scattered across the ocean of your dining room table. Four cards hiding a destination are attached to the base of each island, while each island has a symbol on top. Randomly scattered at setup: 24 pieces of flotsam, wooden pieces representing things as small as a crab and as large as a snake (trust me, one is MUCH larger than the other, at least in this game) are placed one per card, four per island.
A raft is placed randomly on one of the islands, then players go to work. Take one piece of flotsam, balance it on the raft, then reveal the card under said flotsam to find out where it needs to be delivered. If the player can successfully place the raft on top of the next island, they get to keep the card, which scores 2-4 shells at the end of the game. (You guessed it—shells are points.)
You’ll even earn a small bonus if you can place an item on your raft higher than anything else already on it, once the raft has three or more flotsam pieces already onboard.
Then the next player has to work with whatever is already on the raft to add one more piece of flotsam to it from the new island. Lather, rinse, repeat, until only one island has any flotsam left over, then shells are scored.
I’ve only had Flotsam Float for a few weeks but my family has already taken loads of pictures with their biggest flotsam moves. This also means hilarity has ensued when trying to move 10+ pieces and all of them fall off, creating a loud Jenga-style crash and even louder howls of laughter.
And that’s why Flotsam Float is so easy to recommend. It’s easy to teach. It’s quick to play. It looks great on the table. It screams tension and fun on almost every turn. I wish more games could figure out that the magic can be so simple, and HABA (The Key series of deduction games, Valley of the Vikings) knows family games so well!