Our Top Pop review, what we have to say about the resource management and set collection game. It is the 1960’s. You are the owner of a soda pop company expanding your brand and making it the USA’s best soda. Armed with your marketing and advertising resources, you target specific cities to maximize your reputation. Your company’s reach will rise with the correct timing and influence, and you will be the Top Pop. The theme doesn’t really tie into the play, but the quick-fire abstract strategy gameplay is certainly worthwhile.

We took a look across fun, replayability, player interaction, quality and art & style to come up with the overall score for our Top Pop review. See the breakdown by category below.

*Images shown are of a prototype, not the final components.

FOR MORE: Top Pop on Kickstarter Preview Page


Fun (7 out of 10)

For the fun section of the Top Pop review, we award a great 7 out of 10. This is on the table in no time and is a lightning quick game of escalation that will get crazy quick and often given you plenty to do. The balance is great and you are constantly thinking about how your actions affect the other players. In an abstract strategy title, all that equals great fun.

City cards come up and you have a certain amount of bottle caps that you can play to try and claim them. If you ever have the most caps on a city, you can grab it on your turn. This comes around so quick that other players have to try to jump in and intervene. This is an interesting set collection game that you have to make big decisions on each on of your turns.

Replayability (6 out of 10)

For the replayability section of the Top Pop review, we award a good 6 out of 10. This is a quick and fun thing where much of the factors are different each game. What cities pop up and where will have everything to do with setting the bar for what players should work for. The genius in the hook is overdoing your opponent by just a little bit and that certain will remain fresh for many games.

There are different ways you can weigh how greedy you will be in how you take you bottle caps so the game is not just one lane. The paths to victory do feel different every time so there is always something new to experience. That being said, it is a simple thing so it will not take a long time to get everything you need out of this game.

Player Interaction (7 out of 10)

For the player interaction section of the Top Pop review, we award a high 7 out of 10. There is a one-upmanship on overdrive here that is so quick and unlike anything else out there. You are trying to claim cities with your bottle caps and if no one else makes a play in one round of plays, you get it. This turns into a constant race to beat people and outlast each other. It has to happen quick or it is gone and this is not just on one city, but many.

You can get bottle caps to use in different ways and you need to manage how much you want to help your opponents to weigh against how many you need to get in order to secure the necessary cities. Everything you do has a strong effect on everyone else.

Quality (7 out of 10)

For the quality section of the Top Pop review, we award a very good 7 out of 10. This is a smart abstract strategy game that doesn’t really exist elsewhere. It is so quick and ingenious that you constantly question why nothing like it has come along yet. Something this simple that still has a lot of bite deserves credit for its ingenuity.

The components are nice for the most part but nothing out of the world. Since only a prototype is available now it is hard to say for sure but of some of the cool graphics are any indication, things should turn out fine.

Art & Style (5 out of 10)

For the art & style section of the Top Pop review, we award a middle-of-the-road 5 out of 10. A theme doesn’t have to tie in with the game, so it is hard to withhold points, but the soda Barron setting just doesn’t make sense. You could have slotted anything into this, and not even a tycoon type of setting, this could have been about traveling to the moon. Bottle caps do stack, but that is about as close as it gets.

That being said, something is better than nothing and the vintage soda stuff is a cool look that is treated right. The designers do a good job of tapping into that nostalgic vibe and giving each of these soda companies their own style.


Top Pop Review | Board Game Halv

Top Pop is a set collection and resource management game that plays like an abstract strategy title. Cities cards flip up and each player has a mixture of soda company bottle caps that will help you spread your reputation to new cities. If you ever start a turn having the highest stack of caps on a city you get it, so this inspires players to be quick and always stay on top of what other players are doing. There is a ton of gameplay in a very short period of time. This has been our Top Pop review, we hope you enjoyed it!

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Editor's Rating:

See the full explanation of the judging criteria here.

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