Topple is a dexterity game that reminds me as a more mature version of Don’t Spill the Beans. The game is first assembled by placing a plastic rod into a base piece. The bar fits firmly in the base, and stands straight up in the middle of your playing area. You then balance a larger playing surface onto the bar, creating a wobbly field to stack pawns on.
Topple includes 48 pawns (12 of each color), the Topple board, the base, the rod, and one six-sided die. If you got your copy at a thrift store (like I did), you might find some monopoly money or a dead cockroach as well, but they aren’t required for play.
Decide as a group the total number of points required for winning the game. Divide the playing pieces according to color, and roll a die to determine who goes first. Play continues to the left of the first player, with only one player moving at a time.
Players begin their turn by rolling the die. The number rolled determines where you may place your pawn. The topple board has numbers on each location on the platform, and a player must place their pawn onto one of the corresponding locations. Sixes are wild, so players can play their pawn anywhere when they roll a six.
Scoring in Topple is a bit tricky, but manageable. Placing a piece that completes a row of five in any direction scores a base score of 3 points, plus an additional 1 point for every one of your pawns that tops a stack in the row. That is, if you have a pawn at the bottom of a stack but another players pawn is at the top of the stack, you wouldn’t get the bonus for that part of the row. Rows can be horizontal, vertical, or diagonal.
Adding a piece to an existing row of 5 will score 1 point for each of your pawns that are at the top of the stack in that row.
Bonus points are awarded for adding a piece to any stack that is already three pawns or greater. You score 1 point for every pawn of yours in the stack (not just the one on top)
Multiple Rows award points per row–that is, if you place a piece that completes or adds to two or more rows, you score each row individually.
If you cause any of the playing pieces to fall off of the board, the round is over, and you lose 10 points. Additionally, whenever someone causes a Topple while playing a piece (as opposed to Toppling outside of their turn) the player whose turn it was prior to the Toppler is awarded 3 bonus points.
Dos and Don’ts:
Never touch the board or any piece already in play.
You always lose points if you cause a Topple, even if it occurs outside of your turn because you bump the table or board.
Always look for the best play on your turn. Since you can score multiple times by adding to more than one row simultaneously, it is advantageous to seek out such scoring opportunities.
Winning the Game:
The current round ends whenever a Topple occurs. If all of the pieces have been played in a round, remove all of the pieces from the board and continue play as normal. Win conditions are met when A) a player has equal to or greater than the agreed upon number of points, and B) the round has ended. That is, if you score the winning number of points mid round, you MUST continue playing. If you still have the most points at the end of the round, then you win the game. There is no official procedure for what to do in case of a tie, so simply choose to share victory (yeah right!), or play another round.
Two Player Variant:
If you want to play with two players take all of the pawns for two colors instead of one. Players are responsible for both colors. You can choose which color to play on your turn, but only score points on the color played that turn, not both of your colors. So if you had the orange and yellow pawns, and you decided to play an orange pawn on your turn, you would only score Row/Bonus points for the orange pawns in play, not your yellows. All other rules are unchanged.