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Subject: Coloretto - a review from the Gamescape rss

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mike hibbert
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Designer: Michael Schacht
Publisher: Rio Grande Games
No. of players: 3 to 5

Coloretto is a fairly light filler game, which will please both casual gamers and more serious gamers – well, it has gone down well in our group! The rules are very simple, but the game play certainly gives you something to think about, a theme I have noticed with other Michael Schacht games.

The Bits

The contents of the box is unassuming enough, you simply get 63 coloured cards and a set of rules. The cards are of fairly good paper stock quality, but where they really shine is in the printing. You get nine cards of each of the seven colours, and the cards can only be described as vibrant, along with ten +2 cards, a last round card, three rainbow colured jokers, five row card and five summary cards. Each of the coloured cards has a chameleon motif, and the different colours have themed backgrounds, so that the colour-blind are not at a disadvantage.

The Premise

The idea of the game is to collect sets of different coloured cards, the more you have in a set the higher the number of points you get at the end of the game. The amount of points escalates quickly, so it is worth trying to get as big a set as possible. e.g.
1 of a colour gives 1 point
2 gives 3
3 gives 6
4 gives 10
5 gives 15
And finally 6 gives 21

Simple enough, shuffle the cards and we’re off – but wait, there’s a twist, and it’s a bit of a nasty one.

The Sting

You only get points for three of your sets, and worse still any more that three will give you negative points, using the scale above. Ouch! So you can collect as many sets as you like, but any more than three and they start to count against you. Easy then – just only collect three colours! Well, as you may have guesses, it’s not that easy – read on to find out why.

Pick a card, or pick a pile?

On your go, you have a very simple choice, you can pick up a card from the face down draw deck or you can pick up one of the discard piles. There is one discard pile for each player.
So, you chose to draw a card, once you have done so, you must play it on one of the discard piles, but here’s the rub, by doing so you could be adding a colour to a pile that someone else is interested in. The trick to the game is to draw your card, and then try to find a place to discard which offers the least attractive choice to the other players, whilst making it possibly attractive to you next go! But seeing everyone is collecting a range of colours this can become quite tricky quite quickly, it’s nasty decisions like this that make the game a bit more of a thinker than it seems at first glance.
Each discard pile can only have three cards on it, so you can either wait until one has three and take it, or you can play it safe and take a pile before it gets to three, that way you limit the different cards you have to pick up – remember it’s only the highest three sets that score you positive points, the rest are negatives. So if you have four reds, three pinks and two yellows, picking up a pile containing a red, a blue and a yellow is going to be good for you, but will cause you to have some a negative point, but what if the pile contains, red, green, blue or pink, pink orange, or red, brown, brown?? You get the idea, there are lots of ways to score point, and you need to balance the plus and minus points to see what’s best at the time!

Greed is good or greed is bad?

One aspect that comes up fairly often is the situation there you are the only person left in, there is a discard pile in front of you containing only two cards, they are both colours that you want. What do you do?? Do you play it safe, and just take the cards, or does greed come into in, do you take the top card as well? This is known in the Gamescape as the “greed is good or greed is bad” moment – does it work out nicely and you get a colour you want? Or does it all go horribly wrong as you draw yet another colour for your growing collection?

Mike’s verdict

Coloretto is one of my favourite filler games, it gives enough options to make you have to think about what you are doing, but is simple enough to be picked up by non-gamers alike.
Overall, a solid thumbs up from me!
 
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