Did you invent a game at the age of 14? Well, neither did we. BUT, Jeston did–the creator of Knock ‘Em. We were able to meet up with Jeston and his dad to play Knock ‘Em. He said that what started as a game with some quarters and dice in his room, quickly turned into planning out how to make it into a full scale backyard game for his friends and family to enjoy. HOW COOL.
If you have played and loved Kubb (which is one of our favorites), this will be a game you quickly fall in love with as well. We play all of our games with lots of our friends and family. We have to say this has probably been the most popular game to date. It might not be the most well-known outdoor game yet, but we sure hope this review finds the true seekers of fun outdoor games.
- Time to set up: 2 Minutes. Take the towers from the bag, and set up a cross/plus formation; A color going out for each arm of the cross. Place the Knock ‘Em labeled cups at each end, with the Black Knock ‘Em cup in the middle. (Think 8 ball for this one.)
- Duration of game: Original Knock ‘Em – 10-15 minutes. Blitz Version – 2-5 minutes depending on the accuracy of you and your fellow competitors.
- Number of players that are needed/can participate: Original Knock ‘Em- 2-4 players; Blitz Knock ‘Em – 4 or 8 players
- Where can it be played? Grass, sand, and pretty much anywhere! Although you probably wouldn’t want to play on hard surfaces, because the balls would roll and roll and roll and a large part of the game is throwing the ball from where it landed on the previous turn. Hence, the reason why grass and sand are the better options.
- How to play? Original Knock ‘Em: we will do our best to make this as clear and concise as possible because it’s super straightforward after you have played a round or two. To set up the game, you place the death (black) tower in the center and then space the four colored towers about 18 inches to 3 feet from each other (depending on the group you’re playing with or how much room you have) forming a plus sign. See the pictures for a visual of the setup. One of the cups has the Knock Em’ logo on it and should be placed on the furthest out tower position from the center.
Players will line up behind their last cup and toss the ball towards the center death tower. The player who gets their ball the closest gets to go first and the order proceeds clockwise from there.
During a player’s turn 1. they will toss their ball aiming to knock over another competitor’s tower. 2. Leaving the ball where it lands they are allowed to move one of their upright towers within a step of where their ball landed. 3. If the tower that the player knocked over has the Knock Em’ logo on it then they can resurrect one of their own towers and place it anywhere within the boundary (the boundary is loosely created by drawing an imaginary line about the distance around the starting towers.) Additionally, a player who knocks over a Logo tower can also move one of their towers within a step of their ball.
Players continue to take turns attempting to knock over other players’ towers and strategically moving their remaining towers until the last tower is standing. Any player who hits the death tower is immediately out and their towers are removed from the game.
Blitz Knock ‘Em: You will set the death (black) tower in the middle, and then choose two colors to set up every other tower in a line with the death tower. These should be spaced about a foot to a foot and a half away. You will then have one teammate walk about 10 yards one way, and the other teammate in the opposite direction. When you are looking at each other, you are about 30 yards apart, and the line of towers is in the middle of you. Add another pair of players in. Each team is working to hit over one of the colors of towers as quickly as possible, by rolling and throwing the ball across the distance to each other. Don’t hit the death tower over! And be accurate; if you hit over your competitors towers, you just have them a distinct advantage.
Backyard Buffs’ Rating: 19
Ease of storage/portability: 5. We’ve said this in the past with other games that we’ve reviewed, but drawstring bags are the absolute best! They’re easy to transport and allow you to carry other things at the same time. When cleaning up, you can stack all the towers together making it compact. Since the pieces are plastic, it’s light and about as transportable as it gets with outdoor games. Don’t underestimate the power of convenience. Drawstring bags for the win!
Durability (packaging or game pieces): 5. After breaking in the game for the past few weeks, we’ve been impressed by the durability of all the pieces. None of the towers have as much as a scratch and the balls are all still fully inflated. The only comment that we would make is that the balls did get pretty dirty fairly quickly. That’s to be expected and by no means takes away from the game.
Friendly for all Ages/Skill Levels: 5. Easy to play with any group of people. You can easily set up the game to be a bit closer in distance for younger or older players as well. Those with good hand eye coordination typically tend to do better with aim and execution, but any player can still make it work with the throwing or bowling technique.
Fair Pricing: 4. We typically don’t like to just take our own opinion into this particular rating because the price point is relative to the buyer. Many times, we play the game with quite a few different people, and then ask various players how much they would pay for the game which they are playing. We followed this process for Knock ‘Em, and the consensus was that the game may be a tad bit high for college age/young adult group.
Conclusion: We’ve spent the last couple weeks working on wrapping up this review by playing the game with as many friends and family as possible. This game is undoubtedly one of the most original games we have ever played. Every person we’ve played with wanted to play another round “now that they have the hang of it.” We’ve had multiple friends ask to hang out and make sure that we brought the game. One friend even bought the game the day after we played with them. That being said, we feel like we don’t have to talk this game up because it speaks for itself. The strategy involved in planning your moves and the skill required to make tough shots makes this game an all-time favorite in the Backyard Buffs’ fun trunk. If this game isn’t being played in parks across the country in a couple years, then we’ll be shocked. Jeston created an instant classic. Hats off to you friend!