I have this innate ability to be very good at dexterity type games. The more obscure the game is, which involves some sort of muscle memory, there’s a pretty good chance I’ll do alright in it. KLASK, however, is a game that has challenged me a little bit, but I keep going back to it because it is impossible to play just one game. KLASK not only challenges you in a game which is reminiscent to both soccer and air hockey combined, but it also forces you to be aware of your surroundings, as your opponent is going to force you to avoid the built in obstacles of the KLASK board.
Before actually talking about the gameplay, we must first talk about the components. The playing field itself is a beautiful wooden board, finished in a matte blue color and if I’m not mistaken, each game is handmade, which makes it even more incredible. On each side of the board is an indented circle, which serves as the goals players are aiming for. They are not overly deep, so it allows the ball to kind of circle in and out. So, every time the ball goes in, it’s not necessarily an automatic goal. The KLASK game is fairly lightweight, comes in a box about the size of a console game, and has an attached handle for easy transportation. All of the remaining pieces are made of plastic. The game comes with a yellow ball, which serves as the object which you are trying to score. It also comes with three white magnets that are placed on designated spots in the middle of the board. Players try to use these white magnets to knock into their opponents to try and score a point, or move them around the board as almost a trap to their opponents. Lastly, but most importantly are the player pawns or ‘strikers’. The top half of the striker sits on the top side of the board, while the bottom half is a magnet that players place under the board to control the pawn on top. These magnets are incredibly strong, and you’ll see when you pull the components out of their bag, they will all be stuck together and a little hard to get apart.
Play begins with a player starting from one of the two corners on their side of the board and they will kick it off to their opponent. Play will go back and forth as the two players use their ‘strikers’. A player’s hand can be moved anywhere under the board up to the midpoint line, where there is actually a wooden vertical divider to stop the player from crossing the midpoint. Once a point is scored, the player who just got scored on will start the ball into one of their two corners and will kick off to start a new point. If the ball goes flying off the board, it will be placed back on the nearest corner from which it went off, and play resumes. The first person to six points wins, and the game comes with a score track built into one side of the board.
There are four ways to score in KLASK: 1) You knock the ball in to your opponents goal. 2) You are able to get 2 (or 3) of the white magnets in the middle of the board stuck to your opponent’s striker. 3) Your opponent gets their striker stuck in their own goal. 4) Your opponent loses control of their striker and are unable to get it reconnected to their magnet. This is where the wooden divider underneath the board comes into play. If you try to slam your “striker” too hard while moving forward, it may fly off into your opponent’s half, and you won’t be able to get control of it again, giving your opponent a free point. It is the most rare of the scoring opportunities, but still a possibility, especially if you’re trying to knock a white magnet on your opponent’s pawn.
Because of the four scoring rules, KLASK becomes so much more than your typical tabletop air-hockey game. You now have to pay attention to the surroundings of your striker, where you are on the pitch, etc. If you start chasing after a ball that is coming towards your goal, you have to make sure that you are able to stop it, while also not putting your own pawn in your own goal (which is much harder than it seems). In fact, the first 1-2 times you play KLASK, your opponent will probably score half of their points just from you putting your pawn in your own goal. On the underside of the board, there is no indention for the goal, so you can’t really tell exactly where it is when chasing a potential goal. Through longer points, you’re going to have the white magnets rolling all over the pitch, and with a) the strength of the magnets and b) the position of the ball, you have to carefully maneuver your striker around the magnets without picking up two. I have found that it’s almost easier to just go ahead and surrender to one white magnet on your piece, because in reality, it’s one less magnet rolling around on the board to be dangerous. You also find yourself playing to different games. Do you try to use the ball to push all the magnets to your opponent’s side, or do you try and just play the “simple game” of trying to just score the ball in the hole?
You can see a couple of rounds of the game being played below:
As state before, I’ve never played just one game of KLASK. It ALWAYS turns in to best 3 out of 5 games, which turns into best 4 of 7, until it just gets late or someone needs to go somewhere else. It’s easy to pick up for all player skills, but still a little difficult to master with the four ways to score. You’ll find yourself making rookie mistakes each game, but will laugh every time it happens. KLASK was recently picked up by Target and is available for purchase for $49.99, but may be on sale from time to time. KLASK is one of those games that you will want to take on vacation for those rainy days that you’re stuck inside, but still want something to do. If you have a big family, there’s a good chance you’ll see yourself breaking out KLASK tournaments, over and over again. I highly recommend KLASK and you should definitely check it out!