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Subject: Looking for a quick game that can fit in your pocket? rss

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Brandt Fundak
United States
Cleveland
Ohio
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As someone who games over a lunch hour, duration and portability are things I think about when purchasing a game. While many games in the market are doable in under and hour, it's always good to have something that can be put in your pocket and carried around with you. Michael Schacht's Coloretto is such a game.

Coloretto is compact--the whole game comes in box that can fit in one's purse or pocket and is made up of a deck of 63 cards in 7 different colors (9 of each) featuring a picture of a lizard with a background. In addition, there are 3 wild cards that look like rainbow lizards, and 10 "+2" cards, which are simple cards that indicate that you get 2 points (more on that later.) The nice things about the cards is that while the one side of the card is vibrantly colored, the card back is in grayscale, which stands as a stark counterpoint to the "play side" of the cards. It's that sort of small detail that I like for a game that is essentially about collecting colored cards. There are also cards that exist as landing spots for the cards as they are dealt out (and then taken) by players. The nice thing about these cards is that they are multi-sided to help play one of two versions of the game as described in the rules and there is a special set for a two player game, which has slightly different rules.

Basically, the idea of the game is that you are attempting to collect sets of the multi-colored cards for points. In the "brown" version of the game, the more cards of a given set you have, the more points you get. In the "gray" version of the game, it pays to be more precise, as sets of 3 or 4 are worth more than a set of 6 or more. The catch, however, is that if you have more than 3 sets of colored cards, you take a penalty for having them. So for example, if someone has yellow, green and blue sets and then is forced to take a gray card through game play, that player will now take a 3 point hit for having more than 3 sets of colors. Players draw cards and place them on the landing spots where they see fit. A player can place a card on their turn or take the cards on the spot, but if they do the latter, they are no longer allowed to draw cards and place them. Since there are only 7 colors to deal with, game play is incredibly quick and there are many opportunities for screwage, if that's something you enjoy when gaming. Someone might place one of the wild cards or +2 bonus cards on one of the landing spots looking to grab it and then their opponent may drop a color on that spot that would lead to them losing 3 points thanks to an extra color. Coloretto forces these sorts of quick tactical decisions, which I think makes the game more fun. The box states that the game should take 30 minutes to play, but once you understand how it works, a game should finish in 15-20 minutes.

Coloretto is not a game that is so earth shattering that it will change your view of gaming, and if you want something with more theme, depth and the accompanying overhead that comes with it, you can try Schacht's Zooloretto, which implements the same selection scheme (except with tiles, not cards) and can also be played in under an hour. But if you are looking for a game that is compact and certain to be played, possibly three to four times in one lunch hour, then Coloretto is a game you might want to check out.
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Chris Copac
United States
Hudson
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I love Coloretto. It's easy to teach, and simple for non-gamers.
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Burster of Bubbles, Destroyer of Dreams.
United States
Sunnyvale
California
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Just imagine the red offboard up here. I'll create it Real Soon Now...
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Yep, one of my favorite portable fillers. Note though that the OP is describing a version of the rules that's a bit different from how I've ever played or watched anyone else play; I suspect that newer versions of the game have 2 sets of rules while older versions have only one.

(Not much different -- 3 sets good, more sets bad, with triangular numbers within each set.)

A minor portability constraint is that the edition I own is not suitable for shoving in a backpack unless you've banded the box, as it tends to come open easily. (Dropping the game in a plastic bag would also work.)

Thanks for a nice review of a classic filler!
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