Coloretto

Finnish visitors can go read my Finnish review of Coloretto. English visitors can just read on.

Coloretto is a rather nice little game. It’s a very simple game, one of those one-minute rules games. You can teach the rules in a minute and once you’ve heard them, you can throw away the rules — they are useless. It’s really that simple.

One of the most obvious comparisons is 6 Nimmt!. Both games are relatively quick to play, easy to teach and offer surprisingly tough decisions. Coloretto is quicker to play (but of course you can always play only one hand of 6 Nimmt! if you want to) and perhaps a bit less random.

So, what’s it about? Playing colour cards in rows. There’s a row for each player and each row has room for three cards. Players must either add a card or take a row. If you take a row, you’re out of the game until everyone has taken one. Then the play starts again with everyone in the game. This goes on until a “last round”-card comes up. It’s placed as the 16th card from the bottom of the deck, so it’s a bit of a surprise when it comes up.

Players try to collect sets of same-coloured cards. If you have one card, it’s worth one point. Second card gives two more points, two cards of the same colour are worth three points. Third card gives three more points and so on up to six cards, which is worth 21 points. There are seven colours, nine cards of each colour, three wild cards and a bunch of +2 cards which are simply worth two points.

The game is pretty much about being nasty to your opponents. If Player X collects pink cards and there’s a row with a pink card, you basically want to add a card of a colour Player X hasn’t yet collected. Why is that — because you score points for three colours only. Rest of the cards give negative points. So, you’d want to focus your cards on three colours only. Of course, other players being rather nasty creatures, you usually end up with cards of at least five colours.

And this is what makes the game fun. If there’s a row with one good card, what do you do? Take it and accept the lower score? Or perhaps draw one more card and hope you get something good to add on your row — of course, if you get something useless, you will use it to poison a row that’s good for someone else. But then again, you’re probably going to be a victim of similar tactic yourself. Unless, of course, your opponents draw a card that’s good for you!

It’s complicated and you’ll have to think about it a bit. I’ve found out that wild cards are usually worth taking. If there’s an wild card on an empty row, it will be taken immediately. Rest of it less obvious, and that’s why Coloretto is such a good game. It’s very accessible, but makes even non-gamers analyse a bit what they are doing. Despite that, it’s very quick to play: after players are familiar with the game, 10-15 minutes is enough for a single round. Of course, usually one round is not enough…

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