NMBR 9 (Boardgame)

With the blocky-ness of Minecraft and Roblox, why not a boardgame with blocky numbers from 0 to 9? NMBR 9 has players stacking up number tiles on top of each other to reach a high score. Tiles are worth more the higher they are in the stack, but numbers can only be stacked if they are completely supported by tiles underneath. NMBR 9 is a great little relaxing game with simple rules and since players are always building on their own number stack there is no antagonistic play.



Designer: Peter Wichmann
Publisher: Z-Man Games
Players: 1-4
Ages: 8+
Time: 20 minutes
(review copy provided by publisher)

NMBR 9 begins with a card flip to show the starting number tile. All players remove that numbered tile from the box and place it in front of them and then a new card is flipped. The new tile indicated (on the card) is removed from the box and must be placed adjacent to a player’s previous tile. A third tile is flipped and it is placed adjacent to any other, previously played, tile. If a player is tricky and has planned ahead, it may be possible to place a tile on top of previously placed tiles. However, the rules are strict. A tile can only be placed on top of other tiles if (1) it covers up part of at least two different tiles (no direct stacking) and (2) a tile must entirely fit onto previously placed tiles – every part of the new tile must touch a tile directly beneath it. Players continue playing until everyone has placed two tiles of each number 0 to 9.

When all 20 tiles have been placed in a player’s area, points are scored. Players score 0 points for any tile touching the table. Tiles placed on the second level (on top of the bottom layer of tiles) are worth their value in points. A number 8 would be worth 8 points. Tiles on the next level up (3rd level) score double their value, and so on. (I believe I have yet to make a significant 4x score by getting something on the 5th level.) As the game has no direct confrontation and simultaneous play, it can be played solo (go for your personal high score) or several sets could be combined for groups of five or more people.

NMBR 9 has a lot going for it and it makes a particularly good game for non-hardcore gamers. The rules are simple, but the choices are not. Although the game is very abstract, the colorful pieces help to draw in non-gamers. Players make all their decisions simultaneously with each other so there is little or no downtime even with many players. Additional props to the designers for making an excellent insert tray for the box, every number fits perfectly into its appropriate slot, making setup and breakdown a breeze. NMBR 9 is an abstract title, lacking any strong theme, but its colorful pieces and simple gameplay make it a strong recommendation for almost any gaming group.

Kid Factor:
No “appropriateness” issues, no reading requirements, and no direct player interaction make NMBR 9 a great family game. As long as kids can stack their numbers correctly (no overlaps on empty space) they can play the game. Calculating a final score is a bonus as some, but not difficult, addition and multiplication are involved.

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