A friend of mine was over recently and asked if I could recommend a card game that’s “like UNO, but not UNO, but is easy for non-game people to get, like UNO — oh and it also has to be fun for two players.” Huh. So we headed up to my hallway of games and I started pulling products out for him to look at. He really wanted something simple, fun and that takes 2 seconds to learn. Something “familiar.”
The game that really resounded with him was Ratuki by USAOPOLY. This game has been through testing several times and has made it to my list of games to review, but it kept getting pushed down the list because it almost felt “too familiar” in my opinion. All of the play testers really enjoyed playing the game, but EVERY ONE of them said “it feels like another game I’ve played with just cards.” And they’re right, it does BUT it has one neat and unique feature that makes it different and those are the cards themselves. Instead of all of the cards being numbered in the same fashion, they have five different ways of writing the numbers 1-5. They use pips on a die, roman numerals, the word, a hand and the standard number. (see the image above) This little change makes all the difference – and makes the game worth owning.
Ratuki is all about speed and each round ends when a player runs out of cards. During a round, there is the potential of three stacks in the center of the play area and everyone can play on those three stacks. Using the deck of cards in front of them, players build on the center stacks by playing a number one above or below the top card on the stack. The goal is to get play a five and capture the stack. At the end of the round, players count up the cards they captured, subtract any cards of their own they were left with and that’s their score. Play by rounds or play to a certain number – it’s up to you!
The game is fast and frenzied, and to reset for a new round is a snap because players have their own color cards. My friend and I played one quick round of the game and he really enjoyed it. Like the other game testers, he thought the game had a familiar “feeling,” which was exactly what he was looking for, a “comfort food” kind of game.
Also, if you don’t have time to read the directions – check out the nice graphic explanation at www.playratuki.com.
$85 at Amazon and Specialty Retailers
3+ Minutes (totally depends on how many rounds you play or how many points you play up to)
Ages 7 and up