Many hobby/strategy board games that we play take something old and familiar and breath new life into the concept. This doesn’t necessarily make something good or bad but it helps bridge the gap from say Uno to Love Letter. If you combined Yahtzee and The Game of Life, you would get CV.
CV is short for curriculum vitae, better known as your resume, and this game has players making choices throughout their entire life, including their relationships, jobs, and activities that they partake in. CV is primarily a dice rolling game with set collection sprinkled about.
Right out of the gates, I have to mention that the artwork is phenomenal. I really need to give credit to Piotr Socha as their work breathes life into the game. Each card is unique and creates with it the mood of the scenario surrounding the card. It adds a nice level of humor to what could be considered a stressful subject (life) without overdoing it and becoming campy. I do want to make note that the artwork is predominantly white individuals, if that is a concern for anyone. It doesn’t detract from anything but it would be nice to have more diversity in the games that we play.
The cards that the artwork is printed on is standard card fare. If this game required more shuffling or more hand management, I would recommend sleeving them but it’s not necessary for this game. The dice are of high quality and have unique engravings for the different symbols shown. The token for bonuses are meh but they get the job done. Nothing good or bad to say about them.
The box however, I have something to say about that. I have no idea why the box is the size that it is as the components could fit into something half of what is currently available. Okay, that’s a lie. I know why the box is as large as it is: it stands out on the shelf.
The game does include a plastic insert that holds all the pieces in place, which is nice, but it feels like it really draws your attention to how much dead space this box has. Granted, if more expansions become a thing then the extra space will be worthwhile but for now, it really ticks me off as it takes up needed space with its unnecessary size.
But let’s shift gears and talk about what CV does right. The theme is everywhere. It makes the game simple to grasp and will capture players interest and imagination immediately. CV makes me feel like I am trying to guide my fictional person through their life, avoiding any and all pitfalls that I can on our shared journey. This feels similar to a Betrayal at House on the Hill where the experience is rewarding and fun as you get into your role but unlike Betrayal, there is some actual gameplay involved.
The costs and rewards from the cards tie in thematically and most importantly, make sense. Having children will decrease your financial standing, best summed up by Homer Simpson. Some cards grant you an extra die, which is similar to being offered additional resources or bonuses throughout life, but typically you have to pay a cost for such a benefit, like keeping your spouse happy with a smiley face die.
I really enjoy when games are easy to set up and minus games that are built while you play, CV is real easy to get ready. The cards have five unique backs to differentiate themselves and each player is dealt their starting cards, which are three childhood cards and an overarching goal for their life that is unique to themselves. There are other goal(s) available that are shared between players as well. Of the three childhood cards, players will choose one that they want to keep and then pass the remaining two until they end up with three total cards. These three cards are the building blocks of their young lives.
On a players turn, they will roll somewhere between four to seven dice that are adorned with different symbols. Most rolls will be done with four dice but there are additional cards that you can receive that will grant you more dice to roll. The opposite is also true where cards can remove dice from your hand so plan accordingly.
After the initial roll, players can set aside the dice they want to keep and reroll the dice they want to discard. The only exception to this rule is when the bad luck symbol is rolled. These cannot be rerolled. If three bad luck symbols are rolled on a players turn, they will lose one active card. On the flip side, if they roll three good luck symbols, they can take a card from the supply for free.
Players can reroll their initial roll twice (for a total of three rolls) per turn if they would like/are able to. There are cards that allow additional rerolls.
After all rolling is done, the current player can buy up to two cards from the general board. Cards are bought by exchanging symbols and/or dice to take them. When adding cards to a players hand, some cards will need to be placed on top of the players current deck (such as a job) whereas other cards (such as health) can be placed anywhere in their deck and is only used for final scoring.
After the purchasing of cards, the empty spaces on the board are replenished with cards from the correct draw pile. When the game order returns to the first player, the leftmost card on the board is removed from the game. When either of the first two decks are diminished, players will count how many cards they have total and if any player has half the total of the player with the most cards, they can take a card for free from the board.
This continues through early adulthood, middle age, and old age. When the old age deck has less cards than the current number of players, the game is over. Everyone will reveal their hidden goals from the start of the game and score them as well as scoring themselves against the shared goals. Lastly, players will score their sets of cards and the player with the most points is the winner.
CV does come with a scorepad so it’s easier to record what your points were for the game. I have a love/hate relationship with scorepads. I love the ease in scoring (as math is hard) but hate that it’s a finite resource and I only have so many of them.
CV is a weird game where you don’t have to think and strategize. Are there things you’d obviously like to do or accomplish? Of course. But those are outside your control as you leave your fate in the hands of the dice gods. You actually start to have fun as you roll dice and collect cards. Nothing wrong with that. That’s what every game should strive to be. The only issue is that it keeps happening. After thirty minutes you wish you were playing something deeper, something with more calculated movements. If I’m going to spend an hour playing a game, let me play something more interactive and with more depth instead of Life Yahtzee.
The game involves zero player interaction. The only interaction is taking a card that another player might want. It’s basically a solo experience as you wait for the dice to come back into your hand. Playing with two players isn’t bad as turns happen pretty quickly and you can typically have somewhat of a plan of what card(s) you want to get, rolls depending, but at three and four players CV overstays its welcome. The only time I want to watch someone else roll dice is when I’m at the casino and I’ve got money on the table.
This is a game where you are rolling dice, collecting cards, and tangibly creating a narrative between those cards. This is definitely a game that is best with less players as it can drag with three or more. I’m not going to say it’s an excellent two-player game but I honestly wouldn’t want to even try playing at four again.
Which mentions the next point in that the game is also heavily luck based and that luck, good or bad, can decide the game. It can be incredibly frustrating to get bad roll after bad roll or watch the card you want be swiped by another player. It’s a perfect analogy for life as everything doesn’t go your way but it can get real old, real fast…like life.
The replayability of this game is sadly quite low. The game comes with eighty-seven cards and you’ll see them each and every time you play. If playing with a full player count, the game will move even quicker and you’ll have access to less cards. Which can rebuttal my point as you will not have access to the same cards (more than likely) in a subsequent playthrough, which leads to trying different strategies.
I also worry that the Yahtzee mechanic is too light for a game that tackles the theme of life. Nothing in the game appears overly serious but neither does it come across as overly comical either.
I look at this game and want it to fill that void of “what should I play with my spouse” but there are better games for that, such as Patchwork. If I wanted to play an hour long game that deals with the life of a character and growing old, I would much rather sit down to The Pursuit of Happiness, which I admit is a different style of game but isn’t remarkably heavier.
I want to like CV. My fiancee wants to like CV. But it just doesn’t click with us. If games were quicker, maybe twenty to thirty minutes, I think this would see the table much more often. We can knock out a game of Viticulture or two in an hour or if we really want to chuck dice, we can play Fuse six times in the time it takes to knock out CV.
This game is for some people but not for us. It was fun the first few times but now we’ve moved on. At this moment in time, Amazon has copies for $20 and honestly, that’s the most I’d pay for it and that might be just because I enjoy the artwork so much. I’d definitely take a flyer on it for ten though.