If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? If it does, the sound must be “Click Clack”. Grab your suspenders and plaid flannel, trim your beard, and stop eating those flapjacks. It’s time to play Click Clack Lumberjack.
When introducing this game to new players I always axe them the same question—“Have you ever played Jenga?” (I know that axe joke was the worst, try and look past it and move on). As in Jenga, you have a tower made of lots of pieces that you are looking to remove without toppling the entire thing over. In this case our tower is a beautiful brown plastic tree. Starting with a stump for a base, the game is set up by covering each tree core with 4 pieces of bark then stacking them on top of each other to form a tree.
Players take on the role of Lumberjacks (and/or Lumberjills) as they grab their axe and start chopping away at the tree. The gameplay is pretty straightforward. Players use the axe to hit the tree two times, collect any pieces that have fallen off, and pass the axe to the next player. The scoring is simple (and here is where this game is way different and infinitely better than Jenga). Fallen pieces of bark are worth one point. Fallen wood cores are worth negative five points. For example, if an entire wood core with four pieces of bark were knocked off the tree, a player would net negative one point (+4 for the 4 bark pieces and -5 for the wood core).
Depending on which version of Click Clack Lumberjack you pick up, you might have the optional grub stickers. (The original game produced in Korea was called Tok Tok Woodman and did not come with the stickers.) These stickers are applied to some of the bark pieces adding scoring incentives to knock off one particular bark over another. The grub stickers are a welcome addition to a simple score system.
There is a “Golden Axe Expansion” and a “Golden Bark and Core Expansion”. These little add ons are a nice way to liven-up the gameplay. The Golden Axe Expansion allows players to choose between the normal axe that comes with the game or the golden one. The golden axe allows for one swing instead of two, but the benefit (or downfall depending on the result) is that anything that is knocked off of the tree from a swing with the golden axe is worth double the points. Bark would be worth two instead of one. But don’t forget those pesky cores, they would be worth negative 10 instead of five. Ouch! The Golden Bark and Core Expansion are pieces that are just like the other bark and cores, but colored gold (duh). They score, by default, double the points of the regular bark. Here is the extra kicker, if you knock off a golden piece with the golden axe its worth quadruple points!
As a dexterity game, Click Clack Lumberjack is great. I wouldn’t give it the filler game label necessarily, I might lean more towards just calling this game an icebreaker. In other words, this is a great starting game for your game night. Its also a great game for unwinding after a punishing two or three hour heavy game. As a standalone game, its wonderful for kids and family style gameplay. I’ve played this game with adults that shouldn’t be allowed to have that much fun with a little toy axe and plastic pieces. I’ve also played this game with my little niece and nephew— universal fun all around. The only difference between playing Click Clack Lumberjack with adults instead of kids is the onslaught of obligatory wood jokes…those jokes, of course, coming from the “adults”.