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Yoicks! This game comes with a massive deck with more than a hundred cards split into 24 suits (called "colors" in the instructions). The cards in each suit are all numbered -- no two cards have the same number and suit, no two suits have the exact same set of numbers. The rules are pretty simple to explain, I think:
On each turn, draw a card and play a card. If you have the lowest unplayed card in any suit, you are forced to play one of them. Otherwise (if none of your cards are the lowest unplayed card in any suit), you may play any card. If you were forced to play a card, you may "claim" the suit for points. The number of points you get is the number on the card you played. Each player may only "claim" their fair share of suits in a game (for instance, in a 3-player game, each player may claim at most 8 suits).
There are some other niggly bits (handling unplayed cards in claimed suits and handling wild cards that can stand for any other card), but that's the gist of it. This means that the strategy is simple yet challenging -- do you claim a suit early, when you're playing low card, or do you hold out for a high card that you might never get to play?
However, the rulebook requires two large pages to explain what I've just done in two paragraphs, and also has two pages of giant color examples. Why? Because with 24 suits of different number patterns, it's plainly impossible to keep track of who's played what and who's claimed what, and what is the lowest unplayed card in each suit ... so the game comes with a large tally board where you can keep track of all of that. The result is that you get this daunting management tool that seemed to scare most players away, not to mention certain players' inability to keep track of 24 changing numbers at a time.
My feeling is that this is a great game if everyone at the table can handle this sort of management and won't renege on a turn (for instance, if everyone were like me) -- but if there's someone at the table who just wants to play casually according to simple rules, forget it.
I can't help but feel that there was probably a simpler way to present this game, though...
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