I’ve been eyeing The Game since I saw the beautiful artwork on social media. At one point while I perusing the game aisle at Target and I picked up The Game to read the back of the box. I felt like it didn’t say much other than it was a “highly-addictive” card game where you were playing against The Game itself and trying to get rid of all of the cards in the deck. I remember thinking “okay, but HOW do you play?” I meant to look it up later, but I forgot to do it until earlier this week when someone was raving about how much they enjoyed playing The Game. So I did a little research and decided to pick up a copy at Target, and I’m so glad I did! The Game IS an addictive little cooperative card game that I’m very much looking forward to playing with my family this weekend!
How to Play
There are four discard piles in the center of the table, two for ascending from 1 and two for descending from 100. You’ll deal six cards to each player (seven in a two-player game) and this is how many cards everyone will keep in their hand the whole game. On your turn, you must play at least two cards from your hand. You may play up to all of the cards in your hand, although that will rarely happen, and at the end of your turn you’ll redraw to six (or seven in a two-player game).
Like I mentioned in the first paragraph, the goal of The Game is to get rid of all of the cards in the deck. The cards in the deck are numbered 2-99 and you’ll be playing them on the ascending or descending piles. You don’t have to play in exact numerical order, but you also don’t want to play a card that jumps too much on your turn because the other players won’t be that happy with you. It’s not easy to win The Game, but there’s one rule that can help a little. The only one way to make a pile go in the opposite direction it should be traveling is to play a card that is exactly 10 away. So on an ascending pile, you may play a card that is exactly ten below the current top card. If you’ve ascended from 1 to 63, you may play the 53 card on top of the 63 card. It’s the opposite for a descending pile, you may play a card that is exactly 10 higher.
If this doesn’t sound hard enough, there’s the biggest, most important rule of them all adding to the difficulty: you may not speak about the numbers in your hand. That’s right, you can say something like “don’t play on that pile” or “I might be able to help if that gets a little higher” but never something like “I have the next number” or “I have the 52.” Talking about exact numbers is FORBIDDEN in The Game and frankly, it makes it quite fun. Yes, you have to self-police, but the vagueness of your comments is what makes it extra fun.
Winning — or coming close
When the deck runs out, players no longer have to play two cards on their turn, they only have to play one. Hopefully, you can discard ALL of the cards, but if you reach a point where no one can play then you count up the number of cards in everyone’s hand and that’s your group score. I recommend writing the your best score (and who was playing) in the lid of the box or on a sheet of paper and tuck it into the game box so you have a “score to beat” in the future. I’ve played almost a dozen times and our best score is 1 — we were SO CLOSE to winning The Game!!
The Game was so easy to learn and teach to non-gamers. It’s for ages 8 and up and since it’s cooperative, it really feels like a great game to bring to family parties where you have a mix of gamers and non-gamers, kids and adults. The only negative I can think of is that we did have a 9 tossed in thinking it was a 6 on more than one occasion. There is a dot to show which is the correct orientation or you can look at the background, but maybe you want to mention that before play. Overall, I’m sure I’ll get more than $13 worth of play out of this game — and if you think $13 is a bit much for a double deck of cards, I will say that The Game’s box is super strong, not flimsy like an UNO box, so that’s really nice if you’re taking it on the go.
The Game Stats:
~$13 at The Game at Amazon or Target
1-5 players (you can play solo if you want)
Ages 8 and up