While not quite my favorite genre, I have always been a pretty big fan of the speed genre. I like a good strategy game, but sometimes it is nice just trying to play cards or do other tasks as quickly as possible. Since I like this genre so much, I try to check out as many games from it as I can. After picking up today’s game, Spit!, for really cheap I was interested to see what it had to offer. While I like the speed genre, it does have one somewhat glaring issue. The genre simply is not the most original. Some games add a unique twist to the formula, but many offer mostly the same experience. I worried that Spit! was going to be one of the later games. Spit! is a simple, quick and fun little speed card game that fails to really do anything original to make itself stand out.
How to Play Spit!
Spit! includes two different games that you can play with the cards. These are as follows:
- Two players will play at the same time. If there are more than two players, the players will take turns playing the game.
- Shuffle the cards and deal out the entire deck to the two players.
- Each player will place four of their cards face up in front of themselves to create a row. The two rows should be far enough apart that cards can be placed between them.
- One of the players will say “spit!” which will start the game.
Playing the Game
The objective of Spit! is to try and play all of your cards before the other player.
To begin the game each player will take the top card from their hand and place it face up between the two rows. These two cards will form the two discard piles.
The players will then begin playing cards from their row (face up cards) to one or both of the discard piles. To play a face up card it must either be one number higher or lower than the top card on one of the discard piles. Zeros can be played on either nines or ones.
After you play a card to one of the discard piles, you will take the top card from your hand and add it to your row.
If neither of the players can play one of their faceup cards, both players will say “spit”. Each player will take the top card from their hand and place it on top of one of the discard piles. Each player should add a card to a different discard pile. The players will then resume playing like normal. If one of the players doesn’t have any cards in their hand, the other player may place one card on the top of both discard piles.
End of Game
If a player successfully plays all of the cards from their row and hand they will immediately win the game.
If the players get into a situation where neither player can play cards, each player will count up their cards. The player with less cards will win the game. If the game is still a tie, the tied players will play again to determine the winner.
When more than two people are playing the winner of the game will face the next player. When all of the players have played at least one game, the last remaining player wins the game.
Spit! In the Wind
- Two players will play at a time. If there are more than two players, the additional players will play the winner of the current game.
- Shuffle all of the cards.
- You will place cards face down on the table as follows: pile of five cards, one card, one card, pile of five cards.
- The rest of the cards will be dealt out to the players.
- Each player will take the top five cards from their pile in order to form their hand.
- To begin the game each player will flip over one of the single face down cards in the middle of the table. These two cards will form the two discard piles.
Playing the Game
Both players will play at the same time. When they find a card in their hand that is either one higher or lower than the top card of one of the discard piles, they can add it to the corresponding discard pile. Zeros can be played on either nines or ones.
After playing a card you will add the top card from your pile to your hand.
If neither player can play a card from their hand they will both say “split!” and will turn over the top card from the facedown piles in the middle of the table. Each player will take and place the card from the pile on their right onto the discard pile next to it. If the middle piles run out of cards, the bottom five cards from each discard pile are shuffled to form new piles.
End of Game
When a player plays all of the cards from their hand and pile they will win the game.
If neither player can play their remaining cards, the player with less cards remaining will win the game. If there is still a tie, the tied players will play another game.
When there are more than two players, the winner of each game will play one of the players who haven’t played yet. The player to win the last game will win the game.
My Thoughts on Spit!
Featured prominently on the packaging, the publishers of Spit! claim that it is “The Fastest Game in the Whole Wide World!”. That is a big claim as there are games that literally take seconds to play. While the slogan is kind of stretching it, I don’t think it is actually that far off. As a speed game Spit! needed to be quick, and it succeeds at that task. I would say that most games will take one to three minutes to complete. It honestly takes almost as much time to set up a game as it does to play it. No matter your thoughts on the actual gameplay, you have to give the game credit for getting right to the point. The game’s quick speed makes it a perfect filler game. In fact it is so short you likely will want to play several games back to back, determining a winner by who wins the most games.
The main reason why Spit! is so quick is that the rules are so simple and straightforward. Basically the whole game revolves around playing the cards from your hand as quickly as possible. To do this you either play a number that is one higher or lower than one of the top cards in the middle of the table. The game can literally be taught to new players within a minute. Anyone who can count to at least ten should have no issues playing the game. Spit! is simple enough that children and adults can enjoy it.
With the speed and simplicity out of the way, lets move onto the actual gameplay. It is a fun little speed card game. Those who enjoy trying to play cards as quickly as possible should have fun with the game. Cards are played frantically in the game. If you get overwhelmed playing speed games where cards come out quick, Spit! will not be the game for you. To do well in the game you need a quick reaction time and even faster hands. There is legit skill to the game as the player who plays cards faster will have a distinct advantage in the game. Strategy is pretty limited, but those who enjoy these type of speed games should enjoy their time with Spit!.
The main problem with Spit! is that there really isn’t anything original about the game. I have played a lot of different speed card games, and I can recall several games that are basically the same with only a few minor differences. I think this can be attributed to the fact that Spit! is based off of public domain card games like Speed. Ever since cards were created with numbers on them, people have played games where they tried to play the cards in numerical order as quickly as possible. I honestly can’t think of a single mechanic in Spit! that is unique to it. Outside of the piles being able to wrap around (zeros can be played on both ones and nines), there is absolutely nothing even close to original in the game. Spit! is still a fun game, but it brings nothing new to the table. If you have played one of these type of games before, you have already played Spit!.
Outside of the fact that it has nothing particularly new to offer, the other main problem with the game comes from its reliance on luck. The game relies on quite a bit of skill as the player who reacts faster will likely win. The one exception to this is if you aren’t dealt cards that you can play. There will likely be times in the game where neither player has any cards that they can actually play. If one player has these situations come up more often or for longer periods of time though, they are going to have a hard time winning the game. There really wasn’t a way to avoid this situation and the game is short enough where it doesn’t matter all that much, but it is still a problem for the game.
If you took a look at the how to play section you will see that Spit! actually includes two different games that you can play with the cards. I ended up trying both games and I have to say that they are basically the same. The only real difference between the two is where cards are placed. Of the two I preferred Spit! in the Wind for one simple reason. Instead of placing your cards on the table, you will hold them in your hand. As it was sometimes hard to get the cards off the table, it was much easier to just play them from your hand. On top of this with the cards remaining in your hand, the other player won’t be able to see the cards that you have available to you. Some people may prefer Spit!, but I personally would never play that variant over Spit! in the Wind. While on the topic of different game modes, Spit! can technically be played by as many players as you want. As players just take turns playing the game though, you are better off playing with only two players. This is especially true since the first people to play are at a distinct disadvantage in the game.
I am going to wrap up this review by talking about Spit!’s components. The game’s components are nothing special. There have been a couple different versions of the game released over the years. My copy is the 2005 version which comes in a small plastic case. I appreciate the smaller size as I hate when board games come in boxes much larger than they need to be. I don’t really see why the cards had to be long ovals instead of standard cards though. The shape of the cards add nothing to the game, and actually are more of a distraction than anything else. Otherwise the cards are pretty typical. The biggest problem that I had with the components has to deal with the game being a public domain game. You could easily just play the game with a standard deck of playing cards and it wouldn’t have any impact on the game.
Should You Buy Spit!?
I had conflicted feelings towards Spit!. I enjoyed playing it as it follows the same formula as so many other speed games. The game succeeds at creating a quick game that is really easy to play. Like so many other speed games, it is satisfying trying to play cards as quickly as possible. The main problem with Spit! is that it adds nothing new to the formula. If you have played any other speed card games, you pretty much have already played Spit!. The game also relies on quite a bit of luck, and you could easily play the game with a standard deck of playing cards.
Ultimately my recommendation for Spit! comes down to your opinion of speed card games in general. If you have never cared for this genre, I don’t see anything that Spit! has to offer that will change your mind. Those that generally like speed games should enjoy Spit!. If you already own one of these types of games though, I don’t really see the point in picking up Spit! as it doesn’t do anything new. If you don’t already own one of these types of games though and can find it for cheap, it is probably worth picking up Spit!.