I often wonder if, as a reviewer, I talk about things for too long. You should have seen the earlier drafts of this very paragraph, where I go on and on, talking about how long I talk for! Look at how short, and crisp, and not rambling, this very paragraph is! It’s a thing of wonder!
So... for this review, I’ll switch things up: since I’m doing a review of a micro game, I’ll try to do something like a micro review. Let’s get this short review going! Here we go! On with the review that won’t be long! Oh no, I can’t stop myself from wasting space!
Elevenses for One takes place in the Elevenses… universe? So just… England, I guess?
Let’s try this again.
Elevenses for One is a one-player-only reimagining and reimplementation of Elevenses. In Elevenses, you served tea, pretty much. In Elevenses for One, you serve tea… but all by yourself.
The game is literally made up of 13 cards, and two of those cards are used as a timer for the game. That means that there are eleven(ses) cards that you’ll use in the game. The cards are numbered from one to eleven(ses), and your goal is to place those cards, in order, from one to eleven(ses) on your “cart” before you run out of time. You have 15 in-game minutes to complete the game, and each card has a unique action on it.
(In case you wanted to know what the game looked like on the arm of a leather couch... now you know.)
To start the game, you set the “1” card to the side. Then, you shuffle the other 10 cards and lay them out in a single row. You will go through the cards in that row, one at a time, doing one of three things with each card:
1) If the card you’re resolving is the next card numerically in your “cart,” you add it to the pile and resolve the action on the card. You also lose one minute.
2) If the card you’re resolving is NOT the next card numerically in your “cart,” you can just resolve the action on the card, flip it over, and lose a minute.
3) If the card you’re resolving is NOT the next card numerically in your “cart,” you can alternately place the card in the discard pile (which can hold a maximum of three cards). You do not resolve the action on the card, you do not lose a minute, and you must use the actions on some other cards to get that card out of the discard pile, eventually.
The actions on the cards let you do things like shuffle your cards, flip other cards down so you don’t have to deal with them, swap positions of cards, pull cards out of the discard pile, etc.
When you’ve gone through the entire row of cards, you reshuffle whatever’s left over, and rinse and repeat. If you “spend” 15 minutes doing these actions before you get the eleventh(ses) card placed on the cart, you lose the game. There are a few other, little rules, but THAT’S ALL WE HAVE TIME FOR THIS REVIEW IS ALREADY TOO LONG FOR THIS TINY LITTLE GAME
I’ll start with a couple of nitpicky things: there are, effectively, only ten cards that you need to worry about in the game, and much of the rulebook is dedicated to explaining some strange edge cases and interactions that are not very intuitive (at least, to me), when you go purely off the text that appears on the cards. What that means is that, when I play this game, I often have to play it with the rulebook fully splayed out, so that I can refer to it once or twice during the game. For a game that makes such an emphasis on a compact, speedy, charming experience, going back to the rulebook like this just leaves a bit of a sour taste in my mouth. The game certainly isn’t overly complicated, but I think that the text on some of the cards could have been a bit clearer (or a separate player aid card could have been added, perhaps).
And I guess this gets to the heart of the basic critique that I have of the game: a game that is meant to be played in eleven(ses) minutes and has eleven(ses) cards has basically no margin for error at any level of the gaming experience, in my mind. So the fact that some of the cards are a bit unclear and the rulebook feels like a necessary security blanket is a bigger black eye than normal for me. Likewise, the fact that the rulebook tells you to “place the clock card on top of the timer card so that only the number 15 is showing,” while the clock card looks like this...
...just feels like a bigger misstep than it otherwise would. These aren’t game-crippling missteps, but everything looks bigger under the microscope. It would be like taking sub-par pictures of your game components on your living room couch and making your review way longer than it should be.
Don’t get me wrong – I think the game is clever and an excellent little filler for most solo gamers. At least when you first get the game, the choices are fun, challenging, and it does play quite quickly. The game strives for charming, and it gets that just right. It’s a nice way to unwind at the end of a day or after a brain-burner solo marathon, but it’s not a perfect experience. When you add in the fact that there is a second, excellent – if you like mathy games – micro game (Bowling Solitaire) in the box when you buy the newest edition of Elevenses for One, there are plenty of reasons to check out this game, in spite of a few warts.
END OF VERY SHORT, COMPACT, NOT WAY TOO LONG REVIEW
If you like this review, please check out my other reviews in the Meeple, Myself, and I series!
Once upon a time, the time card was different. I think there were two versions in the print and play: one with minutes and one with times.
- Last edited Mon Dec 25, 2017 4:25 pm (Total Number of Edits: 1)
- Posted Mon Dec 25, 2017 4:22 pm