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Game Review

Switch 16

Ages 7 and up
Game © 2003 Pressman Toy Corporation
Date reviewed: 5/03/2004
game setup

2-4 Players 10+ minutes


Roll dice to remove cards from your deck -- switch decks (randomly or strategically) between players to ensure victory.


To set up, each player chooses a starting colored deck.   Players place their deck in the game board arranged in numerical order with the number one on top.  Players decide who goes first -- play proceeds clockwise.

On each player's turn, the player rolls the number of 6 sided dice pictured on the top card of  their deck ( 3, 4 or 5) plus the switch die.

If the switch die is blank, then the player uses the numbers rolled on the regular dice to remove cards from the top of their deck.  (You must roll  the number or add any number of the dice to equal that card's number in order to discard it.)  If you could not discard your top card, your turn ends.  If you were able to discard the top card, you may continue to discard cards as long as you can combine the dice to equal the next card's number.

After you have discarded at least one card, you may choose to end your turn, or take a risk and roll again.  If you roll again, but you fail to discard another card you must regain all of the cards you previously discarded. (All the way back to number 1!)

There is another card in the deck that won't require you to discard all the way back to 1... but you need the game to find out what that is!

The switch die is where the game gets complex.  It contains 4 possibilities: block, switch (green & red)  and blank.  If blank, nothing happens -- you ignore the die.  If the die rolls "block" then you get to control the block chip -- you may pick it up for future use, or leave it as-is. If the die rolls one of the "switch" values, then the fun begins!

There are two versions of "switch" -- green and red.  If you roll red, you do not get to look at the other dice.  You must switch decks with the player who has the lowest number on the top (i.e. you drop to last place),  and then your turn ends.  If you rolled green, you get to choose if you want to switch decks with another player.  If you don't want to switch, you use the other dice as normal.  If you do switch, your turn ends after the decks are exchanged.

The block chip is an important strategic factor in the game.  When the block chip is played onto an opponent's deck, that player may not discard from that deck until the block chip is removed.  If you control the block chip, you may remove it from a blocked deck and play it onto any deck at any time.  You may even play the chip as they are discarding between discards it is legal to play the chip!  Unless a player rolls the "block" value on the switch die, the chip can't be moved once it has been placed.

If the block chip is on a deck that you must switch to, then the bock chip stays with that deck.

To win, you must be the first player to discard the sixteenth card in your deck.

Cards closeup

dice in action

Winning Conditions:

  • The player who discards the 16th card in their deck first, wins

cards & dice

Our Opinion:

Thumbs Down!The mechanics of this game are solid. The zombies played it several times over the course of an hour.  Some games were extremely fast, and a few were excruciatingly long.   As with many dice games, the strategic elements of the game design get defeated by random chance more often than a competitive player would like to experience.  However, as a family game -- especially with younger kids -- the random factor levels the playing field quite well.

There isn't a lot of action to describe most turns.  You roll the dice, and then you hope to discard a few cards. The optimal starting roll of the three 6-siders is a 1, 2 and  a 4 -- which allows you to discard the first seven cards of your deck. If you have an adventurous player, the game can play a lot like Pass the Pigs or Cosmic Wimpout -- always gambling to see if you lose all of your cards that you have discarded so far.  Unfortunately, unless you resort to playing for points (16 points per round -- set your goal for total points as you see fit)  the game can be won in three rolls (my two-year old has done this twice!).  If you experience this, you really feel like the game isn't that great. If however, you get a game where no one can roll dice that get cards to be discarded consistently, the game plays much better and can prove to be fun.

The primary reason for the thumbs-down rating is that most of the reviewers didn't think that they would play the game very often if they owned it.  It lacked a theme that inspired them to play again -- they needed more of a gambling-for-money aspect to increase the game's appeal.  Most of them did agree that as a family game -- especially for camping trips or long road trips -- the game would be a good diversion for younger kids who haven't polished their strategic thinking.  The game is priced well for this type of usage: it's less than $12 -- and I've seen a few online sites that carry it for $10.

Rolling the dice over and over like this game can lead to uncovering obsessive/compulsive tendencies in the players.  Several of the zombies became obsessed with getting the dice to roll well even after we stopped playing the game. It's kind of like potato chips -- sometimes you just can't stop eating even when you aren't hungry anymore. 

Where to buy:

Toy stores or online game stores -- it costs about US $12.

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