Mamma Mia!

There’s a review of Mamma Mia! — in Finnish.

I’ve grown to like the game a lot. It’s a very unique game and another excellent example of Uwe Rosenberg’s skills as a game designer. I can’t name any games that are like it, and that’s one of the reasons why it’s so good.

So, it’s about making pizza. That’s obviously one reason why I like it. Pizza has been my favourite food for a long time and even though I’ve eaten many finer dishes in my life, there aren’t many that can beat a properly made pizza. Pizza is also one of the most entertaining foods to make. The theme works well with non-gamers, too.

Mamma Mia! is a memory game. However, even a perfect card counter wouldn’t win the game always, so if you can’t count cards well, you’re in no trouble. A very rough estimate is all you need and the game can be played in a very relaxed fashion if that is desired.

Players take turns playing ingredient cards (there are five different ingredients in the deck) in the pizza pile. All the cards played must be of the same ingredient, but you can play as many as you can. Players can also throw in some pizza orders. Every player has a set of eight pizza orders. They are not exactly alike, but similar. Each player has their own ingredient, which is present in every pizza. So the pineapple player has for example one pineapple + four olives, one pineapple + four salami slices and so on.

After the deck is empty, the pizza pile is turned upside down. The ingredients are sorted into piles until a pizza order comes up. If the required ingredients are available, they are removed from the piles and the player scores the pizza (each order can be made only once). If there aren’t enough ingredients, players can supply the missing ingredients from their hands. If even that doesn’t make it, the pizza order goes back the owners pizza order pile. There’s three rounds and the player with the most pizza orders fulfilled wins the game.

Mamma Mia! is an entertaining game and good for the whole family. It’s a bit hard to learn, because the game is so different from every other game (Bohnanza has the same problem). However, one practise round is usually enough to get everyone familiar with the game mechanics. After that kids can play well. Children have a better short-term memory, which is an advantage in the game. Mamma Mia! is a game that can charm anyone, gamer or not.

I recommend using the variant where the player who gets the Mamma Mia! card doesn’t show it until the end of the round (thus being one card short for the remainder of the round).

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