Card Games

Don’t Buy Uno, Get this Simple Card Game Instead

Card Game Review:

Point Salad

Rating: 7.6 out of 10 stars

Intro

What I hope to accomplish with my card game reviews is to introduce you to a new game and help you determine whether the game is a good fit for you. I will consider and rank five criteria: gameplay, design, strategy, originality, and replayability.

Description

Point Salad is a card drafting game for 2-6 players. It has over a 100 ways to earn points, which is why it is called point salad. In the gaming world, point salad has come to mean a game in which there are a ridiculous amount of ways to amass points and win. The name is very fitting and clever.

Gameplay (8 out of 10 stars)

The game is super simple. On your turn you can take one point card or two veggie cards. The point cards dictate what veggies you need to earn points. The veggies allow you to actually earn those points.

There is another optional action that you can do once per turn. That is to flip over a point card in order to gain the veggie on its back. (Cards are doublesided.)

That’s it. Easy to learn, harder to master.

Design (6 out of 10 stars)

Design includes two categories: art and components.

The art is aesthetically pleasing, but nothing special. The designs are simple and generic.

It’s a basic card game, so there is not much in the form of components, but that is understandable.

Strategy (8 out of 10 stars)

The strategy level in this game is very high because of the ways to earn points. There is a definite gap between those players who are making decisions on the spur on the moment and those that really know what they are doing. My dad is an expert player and thinks more mathematically than I do, so he beat me by more than a hundred points last time we played.

Originality/Creativity (9 out of 10 stars)

This game is creative, especially in the way that it utilizes both sides of the card, and by the sheer number of ways to get points. The title is creative too, as I said earlier. There is not a game in my family’s collection that is quite like it.

Replayability (7 out of 10 stars)

It is short so you can play several times in a row. I do think it would get old if it were played too often though, mainly because the gameplay is so simple. Serious board gamers may get bored quickly.

Conclusion

The game box says it is for ages 14 and up, but I would say any child who knows rudimentary math skills should be fine playing this game. In fact, it could be used to help children develop their math skills. It is not primarily an educational game, however–it is mostly just fun. I played this game with a variety of people of different ages and everyone enjoyed it, so I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys simple but creative card games.

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Card Games

My Top 10 Favorite Card Games in 2021

Recently, I created a list of my top ten favorite board games in 2021, and I thought, why not one for card games in 2021? In general, I enjoy board games more than card games, but these ten I enjoy every time they make it to the table.

Here is my list:

#10: Coup

Coup is a bluffing and risk-taking game. Your objective is to manipulate others and take control of the court.

Each player has two cards that represent the influence of particular character types; for example, assassins or a dukes. Each character type has an advantage named at the bottom of the card, such as allowing you to draw three coins.

You can use the abilities on the cards in your hand, or pretend to have a card with a different ability. Other players may catch you if you are bluffing and force you to lose influence. If the other player is wrong, however, he or she is the one who will lose influence.

Once you reach 7 coins, you can launch an unblockable coup, forcing another player to lose influence.

Since each card in your hand represents influence, when you lose influence, you lose a card. You never draw another another card, so once you lose two cards, you are eliminated.

Even though I am not particularly skilled at bluffing, I enjoy playing this with family members who are good at it. I generally play it safe at the beginning, but some people start bluffing from the start.

It’s a simple game that is perfect as a warm-up for a lengthier board game, or for when you only have a short time to play.

#9: Sushi Go!/Sushi Go! Party

Sushi Go! is a drafting game. Each player starts with a hand, chooses a card, and passes their hand to the next player. All players then flip their chosen card and those cards take effect.

Some basic cards just score the points denoted on the card. Others require two or three in a matching set to score the point. Some are kept until the end of the round, and some until the end of the game, before scoring.

I like this game because of its cute theme and easy gameplay. After one game, players can easily become accustomed to the scoring system. It’s a great game to bust out when there is not much time to play.

The variant, Sushi Go! Party, provides an even greater variety of cards to make the game less repetitive. I fully recommend Sushi Go! Party if you can get it instead of Sushi Go!, but even the original simpler version will give you a good time.

#8: Bohnanza

Bohnanza is a game where the objective is to plant and harvest beans to gain coins.

In the beginning, each player receives five cards. The order of the cards matters in this game, so you cannot organize the cards in your hand.

On your turn, the first action you must take is to plant bean cards from your hand. The first card you must play on one of your fields. The second is optional, but can only be placed if it matches one of the beans you already have in your fields.

The cards you place must be the first (and second if you decide to place two) card on the right side of your hand.

Next on your turn, you turn over two bean cards from the top of the deck. You can then decide if you want to keep and immediately plant those two cards, or get rid of them. The only way to get rid of them is by trading with the other players. If no one is willing to trade, you must plant those beans. The active player can also trade cards in their hand along with the two beans from the deck.

A player can also give bean cards for free. This may happen because they want to get rid of cards they would otherwise have to place in their fields.

The third part of your turn is planting the turned-over cards from the deck if you haven’t traded them, and/or planting the traded cards. If you plant a bean that doesn’t match either of your stacks of beans in your fields, you must harvest your largest bean crop and then plant the bean.

You can harvest beans at any time, whether during your turn or someone else’s. When you do, you look at the beanometer at the bottom of the card that says how much different amounts of beans are worth. Then you gain coins matching the amount listed on the bottom for the number of beans you have.

The game ends when the draw pile is emptied and shuffled for a third time.

There is a variation that includes several more types of beans: the cocoa been, wax been, and coffee bean.

#7: Point Salad

The game is super simple. On your turn you can take one point card or two veggie cards. The point cards dictate what veggies you need to earn points. The veggies allow you to actually earn those points.

There is another optional action that you can do once per turn. That is to flip over a point card in order to gain the veggie on its back. (Cards are doublesided.)

There are over a hundred ways to earn points, and more experienced players can earn vast amounts of points by employing effective strategies.

That’s it. Easy to learn, harder to master.

#6: Dixit

I believe Dixit qualifies as a card game rather than a board game because the small board is only used for scoring purposes.

Dixit is a party game in which players take turns with the storyteller role. The storyteller looks at the cards in their hand, picks one, and without showing it to anyone else, uses a word or phrase that they hope will lead some players, but not all players, to guess it. For example, “Mirror, mirror.”

The goal for the other players is to guess the storyteller’s card.

Each other player uses the word or phrase to choose a card from their own hand, trying to trick the other players into falling for their card instead. For example, let’s say the storyteller’s card is of a woman who looks like an evil queen, and the storyteller is thinking of the classic Snow White.

Another player chooses a card with a literal mirror on it. A third, remembering that the queen asked for Snow White’s heart, uses a card with a picture of a heart on a platter. And so on.

These cards are mixed up randomly, and then players vote secretly using upside down numbered tokens on which one they think is the storyteller’s.

As explained before, the goal for the storyteller is to have some, but not all, of the players guess the storyteller’s card. The goal for everyone else is to choose the storyteller’s card.

If no one chooses the storyteller, or everyone chooses the storyteller, the storyteller gets zero points. This means the hint was either too vague or too obvious.

Players who are not the storyteller can gain bonus points if they trick someone else into voting for their card.

When my family plays, we have a rule that no one can comment after the storyteller chooses his or her word or phrase. This is to prevent players from accidentally giving further clues, such as by saying what the word or phrase reminds them of.

This is one of my favorite card games. It is a bit more complex than most party games, which I appreciate. I love the art on the cards, especially with the expansions. I think it is hilarious how two of my sisters use obscure anime references that they both understand to get ahead in the game.

Other relatives use references to sports, which they know that some players will get, but that my sisters and I will be clueless about.

One caution is that it is not good in groups where most people know each other really well, but there are some newcomers. The newcomers will feel left out and discouraged by how well the other people play off of each other.

Dixit has artwork that is stunning and intriguing, which lends itself well to giving ambiguous hints. I like all of Dixit’s expansions, and while they do not change the rules, they provide more cards with new artwork and styles.

#5: Saboteur

In Saboteur, you play a dwarf mining for treasure in caverns. The game is three rounds long. Each game, there is at least one, but usually two saboteurs.

The goal of the regular miners is to make a trail seven cards long to the treasure, which can be in one of three places. (Generally, they use maps to ascertain the location as soon as possible.)

The goal of the saboteur is to prevent the other miners from reaching the treasure. This can be done by placing dead ends, turns, and other unhelpful pieces. Saboteurs can also sabotage the tools of the other miners, breaking lanterns, pickaxes, and wheelbarrows.

When a dwarf has a broken tool, he or she cannot place anymore tunnel pieces until they are healed.

The dwarf that puts the finishing card on the tunnel gets to choose from the treasure first. For the Saboteur to win, the other miners must be unable to place more cards or obviously be unable to finish the tunnel to the gold. After winning, the Saboteur automatically gets three gold because it is harder to win as the Saboteur.

This game is so much fun, we have played several consecutive games in a row on some days. It doesn’t feel like simply a warm-up for a more complex board game – it’s more like the main event. This is one game that is simple enough to learn quickly and yet does not get boring.

#4: Dominion

Dominion is a deck-building game. In it, you play as a monarch attempting to gain influence and expand your kingdom. You start out with a small deck and use treasure to buy cards to add to your deck.

The real goal is to gain victory points by buying victory cards, but these otherwise powerless cards clutter your deck and make it harder to take actions during your turn.

The base game has some variety in which cards you can create the store with, but the expansions greatly modify gameplay and what your decks will consist of.

One of my favorite cards is the Witch, which curses other players by giving them -1 victory point cards to clutter their deck.

This is a phenomenal introductory deck-building game that has dozens of variations. I would recommend any of the expansions to add on to the game, because all of the expansions I have played have changed the course of the game and made it very interesting.

#3: The Bears and the Bees

In the Bears and the Bees, all cards are hexagon shape like honeycombs. When placing a card, you must match two sides with the adjacent cards. If you match three sides with the adjoining cards, you get to place an additional card. Sides that look like honey are wild.

all of their cards scores the best, getting zero points. You are supposed to get the lowest number of points to win. The first person to put down all of their cards scores the best, getting zero points. The other players score points according to what cards are remaining in their hands. That ends the round. The game is played over three rounds.

There are several special cards:

Bear: Has to be played with one side touching honey. After it is placed, no other cards can be played touching it.

Flower: Makes all other players draw a card.

Worker bee: Make one player draw a card.

Drone bee: Has three sides that are honey.

Even though I am not great at this game, I found it creative and very enjoyable.

#2: The Crew: The Quest for Planet Nine

The Crew: The Quest for Planet Nine is a cooperative, trick-taking game made up of 50 missions. You can binge these missions and do them all one after another, or you can complete them on different days and start off where you left off. Technically you can do them out of order, but I don’t know why you would do that because they each increase slightly in difficulty if you do them in order.

The Crew is unique because not only is it a trick-taking game, you also have to win certain tricks and are only allowed very limited communication with your crewmates (fellow players).

#1: Cover Your Kingdom

Cover Your Kingdom is a set collection party game. Each player chooses a kingdom to rule, and you will try to convince creatures such as Pigxies, Uniquehorns, or Sighclops, to reside there. You do this by matching two creatures from your hand and placing them down to make a clan, or by trying to steal clans from your rivals by using cards that match their clan type in your hand.

Each separate clan you make is placed in either the Mountains or the Valley. Each new clan is placed over the preceding clan in its respective region, alternating horizontal and vertical. Rivals can only steal the clan on the top, so it is important to cover high-scoring clans. The more often a clan is stolen, the higher worth it is because it will accumulate more cards.

You win by having the most points at the end of the game. It is ruthless–it is fun. It is my favorite card game because it is not only easy to teach, it also causes much laughter and drama.

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Card Games

Card Game Review: Sushi Go!

Sushi Go! Cover Artwork

Card Game Review:

Sushi Go!

Rating: 7.2 out of 10 stars

Intro

Sushi Go! was one of the first card games I played that I recall actually enjoying. I’m not much of a card gamer. I’m more of a board gamer. Now it’s a staple of my collection, played quickly and easily by friends and family alike.

Objective

What I hope to accomplish with my card game reviews is to introduce you to a new game and help you determine whether the game is a good fit for you. I will consider and rank five criteria: gameplay, design, strategy, originality, and replayability.

Description

Sushi Go! is a drafting and hand management card game for 2-5 players. It is recommended for ages 8 and up.

Gameplay (7 out of 10)

The game is extremely simple. Each player picks a card in their hand, and then passes their hand to the player on their left. Players reveal their chosen card and then choose a card from their new hands. A round ends when all cards are played, and there are three rounds. Scoring occurs after each round.

The real game lies in making combos with the cards you choose and keeping cards from landing in your opponent’s clutches. Each type of card has a different benefit. For example, if you manage to get 3 sashimi, you get 10 points. Whoever has the most maki rolls gets 6 points, the one who gets the second most maki rolls gets three points. Dumplings get more points per dumpling, a risky move unless you get a lot of them. There are many other cards with different abilities.

My main complaint is that it is hard to be coordinated and remember to wait for cards to be revealed, but that may be just because of distractions or the player group.

Design (9 out of 10)

Design includes two categories: art and components.

The art on the front of the cards is amazingly cute and thematic. I love its simple charm. The leaves on the back of the card do not fit the theme as much, but that may just be a Gamewright thing. Not sure. The backs aren’t unappealing, they just don’t match the theme, which is why I didn’t rate the design a 10.

Components are just cards, but they are good quality and no complaints there.

Strategy (6 out of 10 stars)

Strategy is fine, since you have to consider what cards you are letting your opponents have when you choose which card you want. Seeing what other players are up to and planning around it is also important to winning.

Originality/Creativity (6 out of 10 stars)

The game idea is not all that original, even if the theme is pretty creative.

Replayability (8 out of 10 stars)

I’d play this several times in a row or on several different days in the same week. It would get old eventually, but it’s simple and fun.

Conclusion

I’d say this is a very simple yet fun game, and it is a good way to introduce new gamers to the drafting mechanism in gaming. I recommend it for families, children 8 and up, and even maybe for college students.

Acknowledgments

Thanks to Alyssa A. Wilson for her feedback on this article.

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Card Games

A STEM-Themed Game that Makes Learning Fun

Card Game Review:

STEM: Epic Heroes

Rating: 6.5 of 10 stars

Intro

I played this game five times with my sister as a learning opportunity for both of us, with and without the additional challenge cards. I found it to be educational even though the game is simplistic and highly luck-based.

Objective

What I hope to accomplish with my card game reviews is to introduce you to a new game and help you determine whether the game is a good fit for you. I will consider and rank five criteria: gameplay, design, strategy, originality, and replayability.

Description

STEM: Epic Heroes is an educational card game for 2-4 players. It has set collection and take that! mechanics. The theme is centered around figures from STEM history.

Gameplay (6 out of 10 stars)

The objective of the game is to acquire all the steps to the scientific method while acquiring as many points as possible.

Hero cards can be paired with discovery cards to build the scientific method. Heroes each have different special abilities. Hero types (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) must match the color and type of the discovery card.

Inspiration cards can be used at any time during any turn or between turns to thwart your opponent’s efforts or protect yourself. They sometimes let you steal something or block stealing, for instance.

Enhancement cards include locations and items. They can power up your heroes and are worth points. They can be played with the hero or later can be added to the hero. Only one location and one item can be played per hero and the type and color must match.

Challenge cards are included for a more complicated variant of the game. Challenges are set out and whoever completes them gets the points and the card when it is done. Honestly, that doesn’t add much to the game.

Design (9.5 out of 10)

Design includes two categories: art and components.

The art on the cards looks great and really makes figures from history look like epic heroes. The components are of good quality. The instructional manual layout is not the best for learning the game, but it is highly informative when it comes to describing historical figures. I appreciate the diversity of figures included in the game, and that they did not overlook the achievements of people of various races and genders.

Strategy (4 out of 10 stars)

Strategy is low because what matters most in this game is who gets what cards first. A lot is up to chance, so the only real strategy is choosing when to make the game end and which one of limited actions you choose.

Originality/Creativity (7 out of 10 stars)

Creativity when it comes to the theme is high. I have not played an educational game that teaches about the scientific method and historical figures from STEM history before. I enjoyed it more than expected as well. There is nothing super original about the gameplay, honestly.

Replayability (6 out of 10 stars)

My sister and I played it a few times in a row one day because it is short, but I could see this game getting old over time because it is so luck-based.

Conclusion

I admit I’m not a huge fan of card games compared to board games, but I found this one to be an easy and fun one. This is not a game for really serious gamers, but may be appealing to those new to the hobby, those who appreciate educational games, and those who just want a simple game to play with friends and family.

Pictures

Links

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