Thursday, May 21, 2009

Couple new card games...

Played a few games this past weekend at the cottage, especially card games. There was the old standby of Wizard, which Vince's parents love (as do mine). If you don't own Wizard, you should. It's really just Oh Hell with a eight extra special cards added to a regular deck. It is great fun, though, with a ton of strategy and it's a game I seem to have to keep buying as I keep giving my own copies away.

I did also get to try out two new card games, one good and one bad and I'm gonna tell you what I think of them...

Archaeology: The Card Game

This short, sweet little game reminded me a bit of Bohnanza without the trading (although there kinda is trading). Basically every turn you will draw a card and end up with a treasure. You can trade these treasures with the open cards on the table for cards that sum to the same cost. Eventually you'll wanna play sets of the same treasures onto the table rummy-style to claim the points for them. Here's the thing: the more cards you play at one time the more each card is worth - think Bohnanza or Hanging Gardens. Throwing a wrinkle in this are the Sandstorm cards which pop up causing you to ditch half your cards. Thus hoarding and waiting becomes a risky strategy. As well, there are a few cards which allow you to steal from others and map cards which let you go on a side quest to the pyramid for big scores of cards.

Is it fun? For what it is, yes, it really is a cute little game. We played two 3-player games in about 20 minutes each and it is just the right amount of time. The strategy is very light and the gameplay is even lighter, but it is easy to teach and easy to play and definitely worth the ten bucks. Fun!

Top Dogs

This one was not my purchase but my partner's. I actually encouraged it, though, because Maureen Hiron invented this one. She's made some great abstract and card games so I thought it was a good sign. I was wrong.

We played one game and decided as a group not to play it again. The game is basically a blind auction for ten different trophy cards of varying values. Each player has their own deck of 20 cards of numbers 2 through 6 repeated four times. You basically have a hand of 7 cards and you pick three to bid with by placing them face down and flipping them up when ready. If the three numbers are distinct, you add the total. If two are the same, multiply them and add the third. All the same, multiply 'em. High bid wins the trophy card. That's it. (Unless there's a tie - then the card goes to third in line. This didn't happen in our game at all.)


Upon reading the rules, it actually seemed like a there was a quick, fun little game here. There isn't. You have no control of or idea about what the other people may be playing so the blind auction falls flat. I never got a triple better than three 2's in my hand so I lost every auction to triple 5's and triple 6's. You get the chance to ditch an extra card every auction but you're almost always gonna throw a 2. There's just no thought involved in this game and my final score was zero to the winner's 40+ points. I realize now, with the silly artwork and all, that we probably aren't the target audience for this. But there are far better card games for kids that teach some math skills and actually have a little bit of depth as well. Like Archaeology, for example. Too bad, cuz the chihuahua cards are cute...

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