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Bubblee Pop


Grégory Oliver, Alexey Rudikov

Bankiiiz editions, Blackrock Games

No. of Players:



Gamebox author Ralf Togler writes about the game:

Are you – like me - a child of Tetris? I came in contact with the popular computer game in the early 90s during my final years at school. We started using the computer in maths and of course informatics at that time. And the pupils who had solved the tasks were sometimes allowed to play. Well not all type of games, but Tetris was among the games that was “allowed”. Some of us were true masters. I only gaped at the speed in which some of my friends solved the geometrical puzzles. But why am I telling you all of this old stuff?

The reason is, that Bubblee Pop follows a similar game concept like the famous computer game. Two players are sitting opposite each other and face a board with an individual playing area (a planet) in front of them and a neutral sky in the middle of the board. Both, the player's zone as the neutral sky, consist of bubble spaces in five rows. At the beginning of each turn the neutral sky is filled up with coloured “Bubblees” (funny bubbles), randomly drawn from a bag. Two of these Bubblees can be activated by the active player, provided they are connected. As there are two lines in the sky, you can either activate two vertically or two horizontally adjacent Bubblees. Activating make the Bubblees fall, with the result that they are drawn to the playing area of the active player, following the same row. So they fall until they are blocked by other Bubblees already in the player's zone. Similar to Tetris you must be careful not to block your playing area, because if this zone is completely filled, so that you cannot activate any more Bubblees to fall to your planet, you immediately loose the game. So you must care to get rid of the Bubblees on your planet again. And this is how it works:

If at any time three or more of the same-coloured Bubblees are vertically or horizontally connected in your playing area, those Bubblees and all other directly connected Bubblees of the same colour are removed from the board and placed in your private scoring area. This also can result in a chain reaction, because after the removement Bubblees on top of empty spaces are drawn towards your planet again. So they can also come into a position where they are connected with other Bubblees of the same colour.

A great nuisance are black Bubblees. Three of these nasty tokens are placed in our playing area right at the set up. Three more are thrown in the bag and can be drawn by refelling the neutral sky. And so they can also find a way to your planet. In contrast to all other colours black Bubblees cannot be removed in the normal way. Even if three black Bubblees are connected, they do not leave the board. So there must be other ways. And this leads us to the powers: Whenever a line of Bubblees is removed, it also triggers a respective power. Depending on the colour of the Bubblees you can for example take one of your Bubblees directly from your playing zone to your score area. Herewith you can even take a black Bubblee. Other powers let you send Bubblees from your playing area to your opponent`s one and stll others let you swap two adjacent Bubblees.

The game ends, if the sky cannot be filled again (because there are no more Bubblees left). The player with the most Bubblees in his scoring area wins the game.

I personally loved the simple concept of Bubblee Pop and the feelings the game evoked. And although simple, the game still offers some tactical manoeuvring. If you skillfully use your powers, you can disrupt the one or other plan of your opponent. So not an insignificant number of matches end ahead of time with one player being stacked in his zone.

Bubblee Pop is a new, interesting version of the old computer game Tectris, actually a version I will keep playing. I only hope you don't become hooked on it. There is a chance to become, because the game also offers a solo variant. In this solo mode you set up the opponent`s area with 20 different puzzles of Bubblees. It is your aim to completely empy the opponent`s zone. Next to your powers you can always send one or two Bubblees to the opponent's zone if you match 3, respectevely 4 or more Bubblees. And of course the Bubblees pop in the opponent's zone, too, following the same rules as in the normal mode. In the last level of the solo game there is a complete line of five black Bubblees in the opponent`s area, not the easiest way to begin the game. So you need a lot of practical training...

Bubblee Pop - Level Up!


One year after the release of the original game, you can level up the game by a small expansion that introduces two new colours to the game. You can exchange these new families with colours of the original game in whatever way you want. For example you could take out the green colours of the base game, because you are not in the mood to swap to many Bubblees when activating the powers. Instead you would take in the new orange or white families from the expansion. But you could also take out two of the original families to play with both of the new families. vces and rules of the game remain the same except of new powers of the new families. As a result, when you are playing without powers, there is no difference to the original game. So why should you take in those new colours? First of all, there are more varieties to play the game as well as five new solo missions. But then, much more important, the new colours will make the game much more interactive and more aggressive.

The new orange colour will let you steal one Bubblee from your opponent, either from the scoring area or, more annoying for your opponent, from his game area. But the real mean colour is white. Enabling the white power let's you take a new black Bubblee from the stack and place it under one of your opponent's rows. As a result all Bubblees are pushed one step further to the sky. I think you can imagine what chaos this might cause in your opponent's rows.

Bubblee Pop – Level Up! is not a big expansion, but it truly improves the game, making it more variable, so you can alter the powers to your mood and your wishes. I think it is definitely an enrichment and a must have, if you like and play the game more frequently.

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Copyright © 2016 Frank Schulte-Kulkmann, Essen, Germany