WATER WORKS - Reviewed by Mike
Category/Format: Fun/Card GameParker, 2-5 players 30-40 mins
This quirky card game from Parker was bought at a Boot Sale for the princely sum of 50 pence ! It involves players attempting to lay a pipeline from their faucet (American term for what we know as tap) to their spout, ensuring that the direction of flow is in the correct direction for the spout and the first player to do so is the winner. However the other players may lay cards which change the direction of your pipeline or cause it to spring a leak, so it's not as straightforward as it may seem.
Apart from the Faucet and Spout cards, other cards depict lengths of pipe in several types : -
- straight, but in either a horizontal or vertical fashion ;
- bend left and bend right ;
- 'T' joints ;
Most of the pipes are made of lead and several of them contain leaks. There are also cards on which the pipes are made of copper and these do not leak.
The number of pipe lengths to be laid 'twixt tap and spout' vary according to the number of players, the fewer players the longer the pipe has to be. Players are issued with 5 cards each at the start of play. They also receive 2 miniature monkey wrenches, which can be used to fix leaks (see later). General play is the same irrespective of the number of players.
Players place their taps and spouts on the table with a suitable distance between them. They then perform one of the following actions, and certain restrictions apply to each: -
Play a card which extends their OWN pipeline;
- The card must not contain a leak;
- The card must match the orientation of the existing pipeline, i.e a vertical pipe on a vertical pipe.
- Extensions CANNOT be played if there is a leak in your pipeline still in need of repair.
Play a card which causes an opponents pipeline to leak;
- The card must contain a leak. You CANNOT lay a good pipe on an opponent, even though it is tempting to direct his pipeline in the opposite direction to which he wants it to go !
- If an opponent's pipeline already has a leak he cannot be given another one to repair;
- A leak cannot be placed on a section of pipe that has already been repaired.
Play a card which repairs a leak in their OWN pipeline;
- if the player has a 'good' card which matches the section of pipe that is leaking (i.e vertical, horizontal, left bend, right bend, T-Joint, leaky cap) he places it over the leaky one to repair it. The material the pipe is made of does not matter as long as the shape matches.
- a section of pipe can only become leaky once, so a further leak cannot be placed upon one that has been repaired, so having done so you can safely forget about it.
Discard a card (i.e. do nothing).
- There will be occasions when the cards in your hand cannot be 'legally' used so you therefore announce that you are discarding one.
Play a monkey wrench to repair a leak in their own pipeline.
- These can be used instead of cards by simply placing it on the leaky section. Once repaired the section cannot be made leaky again.
If a card has been played, the player takes a new one from the stock pile to replace it. All used cards are eventually shuffled to become the new stock pile so a card you may want could still come back into play. However, monkey wrenches are not replenished so you have to use them sparingly.
Play continues in this fashion until one player's pipeline contains the required number of lengths to reach their spout, at which point the game ends.
Hopefully the description above will give you some idea of the game. You are faced with the choice of extending your own pipeline or placing leaks on opponents. The latter seems a good idea as it slows down their progress as they have to repair it before extending it. However if they repair it using their monkey wrench you have added to the length of their pipeline.
When playing leaks it is advantageous to play cards like bends which turn the direction of flow in the opposite direction, so that even after repair the opponent has to play some 'good' cards on their own pipeline to get it going back the right way. T-Joints can be annoying as well, as after repair one end of the joint has to be capped before the pipeline can be continued.
Players have to constantly count the length of opponent's pipelines to see if they are close to winning and try to stop them if at all possible. Results are often close leading to an exciting finish and some weird plumbing systems on display !
A good light-hearted filler or end-of-evening game and one that never fails to give pleasure in my group. Probably not available in the normal outlets now but worth buying if you spot it in charity shops or boot sales.