Gizmos – CMON Games – Review


Gizmos is a very entertaining and engaging game. It should be a hit for many different types of gaming groups as well as a family favorite.

Publisher: CMON Games

Designer: Phil Walking-Harding

Artist: Hannah Cardoso, Julia Ferrari, Giovanna BC Guimaraes, Mathieu Hartlaut, Saeed Jalabi

Game Type: Marble, Card Drafting

Initial Year of Release: 2018

Age Range: 14+

Expected Playtime: 45-50

Number of Players: 2-4

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Theme and What is it?

Invention and ingenuity go hand in hand. One naturally leads to the other; so it is with Gizmos. You are building an invention that will have cascading effects once certain elements are triggered. It is up to your ingenuity to makes these triggers and effects as potent as possible.

Gizmos is an engine building game for 2-4 players.

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Gameplay Mechanics

Each player receives a player board where they begin to build their invention. This board becomes their home base. They also have an energy sphere which holds marbles collected from the dispenser. There are three levels of gizmo cards. These are shuffled and four are laid out from deck 1 for all players to see. Three are laid out from deck 2, and two are laid out from deck 3. The energy marbles are dumped into the dispenser and the game is setup and ready to play.

A player’s turn in Gizmos starts out very simple. You pick one of four actions and perform that action. They are: File – place a gizmo card in an archive, Pick – pick a energy marble from the tray of visible marbles, Build – build a gizmo from those visible on the table or the archive, Research – pick three gizmo cards from one of the decks and select one gizmo to either build or archive.

Things start to get crazy once a player has built a good number of inventions. Gizmo cards will sometimes have triggers on them. When an action triggers that card, it will have an effect. Multiple cards can be triggered from an action, and then the effects of the triggered card may trigger other cards. This cascading of effects is the key to the game and will allow players to maximize the cards they are playing. Once a player has built sixteen gizmos or has built four gizmos from deck 3, the game ends. Players add up the victory points from their built gizmos and any other points they may have earned in the game. The player with the most points wins!

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Initial Impressions

Because we are huge fans of Potion Explosion, we were very excited to try Gizmos at our house. Once we got the game up and rolling, we realized that we would have a very different experience than we have had with Potion Explosion and that was going to be a good thing. I don’t like when games that seem similar end up playing exactly the same. Gizmos did have a marble drafting element to it which allows you to buy new cards, yet the way everything interacts is very different than Potion Explosion. The marbles are more of a currency in Gizmos and are not the main focus of the game. Seeing the marble dispenser for the first time made think they were going to be used more than they really are. But the real star of the game are the gizmo cards. It was great fun watching the combinations that were created and trying to figure out how to create bigger combos.

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Game Build Quality

All of the components are very built very well. The marble dispenser, which will be everyone’s first worry, is made of thick cardboard and should hold up. The cards are nice and the marbles are made of a light weight plastic, keeping the weight of the box down. I think people will be very happy with everything in the box. Speaking of the box, it is a very large box. This is because of the base for the marble dispenser.

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Artistic Direction

The art is great fun in Gizmos. All of the gizmo cards have varying artwork that really captures the theme of the game. The iconography can seem a bit daunting at first, but there is a separate sheet that helps figure that all out. Once understood, the iconography really helps the game move at a faster pace once lots of things start to happen.

The artwork is lighthearted and makes the game feel less serious. You aren’t trying to save the world, just make some silly gadgets. I think it enhances the experience and also allows new gamers to feel welcome.

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Fun Factor

The real treat in Gizmo are the triggers and effects of those triggers. Combinations and chains are a huge factor in who is going to win Gizmos. Once players learn how the game works and the iconography, game speed will really pick up and moves happen quickly. It is important to slow down and make sure all of your cards are being resolved before finishing your turn. After you have a dozen gizmo cards built, it can be challenging to move through all the chain reactions, but it is not an unrewarding challenge. Finding all the combos and pull off a huge chain feels great and is fun for everyone watching.

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Age Range & Weight

The age range for Gizmos is 14+. This game starts out feeling like a light game and can get heavy quickly. It all depends on how well players can gauge the cards available and how those cards will interact with what they have already built. Younger players and new gamers may feel a bit overwhelmed once they have a half dozen or so cards built. Just be patient with them and help them through the process. Gizmos has great potential to be an awesome gateway game if taught by the right kind of person. Players new to the game shouldn’t worry about creating huge combinations right off the bat. Let them explore the mechanics and work with them to figure it out. In the long run it will be a rewarding experience as everyone falls in love with the game.

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Gizmos is a very entertaining and engaging game. It should be a hit for many different types of gaming groups as well as a family favorite. The marbles make it fun but are not overbearing. The real exciting part of the game are the gizmo cards and making them work together to create awesome combos. There is some difficulty to this because only so many are in view at any moment, or you can try your luck with a research action.

Gizmos will find a place on our shelf and should make its way to our table on a consistent basis because it has so many elements that my family enjoys. Great gameplay and artwork as well as a fun group dynamic while watching everyone trying to build combos. And because the components are strong, it should last years and bring lots of enjoyment to our home. That is what gaming is all about, right!


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