My great buddy Craig Berg introduced me to this nifty little 2-player card
game while we were vacationing together in Fall Creek Falls, Tennessee back
in April. I thoroughly enjoyed the two games we played, so included it on
my latest game order.
The game was designed by Klaus Palesh and Horst-Rainer Rösner and is
released by Winning
Moves. The game has flown under the radar of most gamers as it has received
very little publicity. Ben Baldanza did write a good review of the game in
the latest issue of Counter magazine, so hopefully more folks will take
notice of this fine game.
The mechanics of the game are exceedingly simple, yet it presents the
players with some tough choices along the way. There are five colors of
cards, ranging in value from 2 - 6 each. The cards are laid out in five
rows of seven
cards each and each player begins the game with $20 and one wild card with a
value of '2'.
On your turn, you must perform one of two actions:
1) Take one of the cards from the face of one of the five rows; OR
2) Sell a matching pair (a pair is considered two matching colors) for
If you take one of the cards, it must come from the face of one of the rows
and the amount you must pay is equal to the number listed on the card. So,
if you take a 'Yellow 3', you must pay $3.
Option 2 requires a player to surrender two cards of the same color,
generating income to the player. The amount of income is determined by
multiplying the values of the two cards. So, if a player surrenders a 'Blue
4' and a 'Blue 2', his income is 4 X 2, or $8. This is the ONLY way a
player can earn money during the course of the game. The wild card may be
paired with any other card as a set.
The game ends when only two rows of cards remain, at which point each player
has the opportunity to sell one more set of cards. Players then tally their
money and the player with the greatest amount of wealth wins.
The game becomes one of 'chicken', as you have your eye on grabbing cards
that will increase the value of a set. However, you must be very careful
when choosing a card as it may uncover a card that your opponent desires.
The process of choosing which card to select can be tough and is clearly the
main element that makes this game 'click'.
Proper timing is also important, especially in regards to determining when
to sell a set of cards. The game can end rather quickly, especially if both
players grab cards from a few rows several turns in a row. Being left with
several unsold sets at game's end can be financially devastating. Players
must decide when to sell and when to hold out in hopes of a better card to
increase the value of a set.
I find the game to be easy to learn and teach, and it can be played in 10 -
15 minutes. The rules recommend playing 3 rounds, but playing just one
round is also perfectly satisfactory, especially since there are no real
'luck of the draw' problems inherent in the game. I can see this one coming
out with regularity as a quick filler.
Since Lenny had arrived early, I had the opportunity to teach him the game.
We played one round before others began arriving. Lenny was caught with
several sets unsold at the end of the game, which cost him dearly.
Finals: Greg 58, Lenny 33