Sunday, July 06, 2008

Shabbat Gaming: Coloretto Review

I went to Beit Shemesh for the shabbat and played Coloretto for the first time with my friend Gavriel. Gavriel sometimes makes it to the Beit Shemesh game group.

Coloretto is a simple card game for 3-5 players that will appeal to children but can also be enjoyed on a light level by adults. The cards contain chamelions in sveen different colors, three "joker" chamelions, and around a dozen "+2" cards. There is also an "end of the game coming" card that is placed 15 cards from the bottom of the deck after shuffling.

Each player starts off with one chamelion card of any color, so long as no two players have the same color. In the middle of the table, there is one virtual stack for each player (five players = five virtual stacks). The stacks start empty.

On your turn, you have two choices: 1) take a stack of cards. 2) flip the top card of the deck and add it to one of the stacks.

No stack can have more than three cards in it, so once all the remaining stacks have three cards, you are force to take stack. Once you have taken a stack, you cannot play again until all other players have also taken one, at which point the last player to take a stack starts the next "round" with a fresh set of empty stacks.

That's it. The important part is the scoring.

For the three colors in which you have the most cards, you score 1, 3, 6, 10, 15, or 21 points for 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6 or more cards in that color. You then subtract a similar amount from your score for all other colors you have. Jokers count as any color card, and +2 cards simply ad 2 points to your score each. Highest scoe wins.

This is like a cross between Ra and Geschenkt, nearly as simply as Geschenkt but just a tad less elegant. The basic decision is whether to take a stack that weakly helps you but doesn't harm you or to risk flipping more cards and hoping an even better stack will come back to you again on your turn.

The slightly obvious tactics have to do with where you put your card when you flip it. If it helps you, add it to a stack that helps you, if it doesn't also help your neighbor. If it doesn't, use it to sink a stack that will otherwise help a neighbor.

Beyond that, there's not much to think about, and the decisions aren't that difficult. Which makes it an ok, kinda brainless filler for gamers, or fun for the younger or non-gamer set.

We played with Gav's three daughters and ended up in a three-way tie or first place at 25 points.

Gav, two daughters, and I then played Carcassonne, the original without any expansions (not even the River). This game also ended in a three way tie for first place, with the fourth only two points behind.
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