AttrAction: the power of play

I had friends over Friday night for dinner, drinks and games. It was a new beginning, a kind of relationship do-over after some past wounded feelings, so it was important to me that the evening went smoothly.

I’d planned an easy, quick meal that could accommodate everyone’s preferences. With drinks flowing, we ate and chatted, and the atmosphere grew steadily warmer. With full bellies and loosened inhibitions, we set about picking a game.

I waffled, as usual, about what to play. As the primary game guy, it usually falls on me to choose a game suitable for the occasion and the various experience of the players. I’d just gotten a copy of LORDS OF WATERDEEP, but I haven’t played it enough to be comfortable teaching it. It’s probably too complex for this mixed group, anyway. The award-winning HANABI had been requested earlier, but we chose another R&R Games product to start.

Really, it's futile.

ATTRACTION is a simple game of sliding or tossing strong shooter magnets into a field of similar magnets balanced on end to create, by magnetic attraction, groups of magnets. These groups, which clack and stack together in surprisingly vigorous fashion, may be collected by the shooter with the goal of possessing the most magnets at the end of the game. That’s all there is to it: lob a strong magnet onto a table scattered with other strong magnets and marvel at the weird, science-y effects. Also, collect magnets.

There isn’t much game to be found in ATTRACTION, but I don’t think the game is really the point. This is a game about playing with a big stack of shiny magnets and as a play experience, it was delightful. The few rules are simple and it comes with some suggested “advanced” variants, but we quickly found ourselves making up rules on the fly. I suggested a variant I learned at ACD Games Day last year where, instead of returning magnets to the center of the table when knocked off, it was legal to capture and keep them, but only if you caught them “on the fly” with your own collected magnet stack. This led to all sorts of competitive attempts at magnet-catching and improvised play styles.

Games of ATTRACTION are short, lasting only about 10 minutes, and we played five or six in a row before anyone was ready to play something else.  All but one of us had played HANABI previously, but it had been a while, so I briefed everyone on the rules and we started playing. By this time, however, we’d all had a few drinks and only made it about four or five rounds into the game before returning to the less-demanding playfulness of the magnets for the remainder of the evening.

It was an evening of laughter and celebration. Whether by the power of play, good food, strong drinks or the miracle of magnetism, old wounds were forgotten and everyone went home happy. I’m already looking forward to our next play session.

Fuckin' Magnets



2 thoughts on “AttrAction: the power of play

  1. AttrAction looks like fun: I’m always interested in games I can take to a family gathering.

    I own and like Hanabi, I’ve had a good time playing it with my daughter.

    I recently picked up Lords of Waterdeep on sale for iOS. It’s well done. I can see why people keep talking about it. I’d prefer an adventure game that simulated the quests themselves, but it’s nice to find a worker placement game that I actually enjoy.


    1. I need to get Hanabi back on the table. It’s a great little game and we had a blast playing the first time.

      We’ve played Lords of Waterdeep at my Board Games & Beer nights at a neighborhood pub a few times. It’s really a well made game. I’d also love a game that did questing better, but this is a nice, accessible token placement game with a theme that appeals to my groups pretty well.


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