Game Design: Jim Reichert and Lori Reichert
Game Artistry: John Kovalic
Published by: Calliope Games
Reviewed by: Jason Elliott
Edited by: Stephanie Elliott
Number of players: 2 to 5
Time of Play: 20 minutes
Age recommended: 8 and up
Year of Release: 2012
The story so far: Go back to the Stone Age as Cave Dwellers who are pressing their luck to survive. You will collect sets of cards in this game, needing one of each color to create a set. The cards have humorous depictions of daily life for your Cavemen and Cavewomen. Be careful though, because if you press your luck too far you will encounter a natural disaster and cry out UGH! as some of your cards go away, or you lose your turn! You will flip cards, choose how far to press your luck, and strive to have the highest points at the end of the game by the sets of cards you lock in.
Our final thoughts on this game: First, we have been playing this game with our children (Arnold 8, and Talia 6) as we wanted a fun way to keep them sharp with their numbers as they go into 3rd and 2nd grade respectively. It has been summer break, and having them using addition and multiplication in a card game that we all can enjoy is awesome!
We have a fun theme here, with the Cave Dwellers trying to survive without having an Ugh! moment. These moments can be a volcano eruption, a tornado, a great fire, a great flood, or being frozen. The cards have numbers from 1 to 5 and there are three different colors. You need to make a set containing one card of each color and you multiply the numbers on the cards to determine how many points your set is worth. This is a fun way to get your kids doing some math!
We love seeing the kids decide what cards they have to get rid of with Ugh! cards (decision making) along with them doing the math in their heads, on their hands, and talking it out, as they figure out the best way to lock in a set of cards. They picked up very quickly that a set is 1 purple, 1 green, and 1 orange card, and they had to deal with this game of press your luck in a fun and engaging way!
In the scope of playing with are children I would rate this a 10 out of 10 from the Board Game Geek scale. I will always play this with the kids whenever it is mentioned. In an adult only setting this game becomes a 7 where I would play it 70% of the time when it is mentioned. This game plays quickly, is easy to teach, and serves as a great travel and/or filler game for adults and one that I think all families with kids in elementary school should have.
Mechanics and concepts found in this game: The players will be using addition and multiplication to come up with their scores. There is a card drafting mechanism as you will draw cards to safe piles, and have to decide to keep going and risk getting an Ugh! card, or play it safe, and stop when you can. You have to manage the cards you obtain, when to place them in a set, or leave them out to make a better set. If you go too far, you will get an Ugh! card and possibly lose several of those cards that you have not locked in.
The game components:
-1 game box
-1 set of instructions
-4 wild cards
-28 Ugh! cards
-78 Number cards
Winning conditions of the game: You will calculate your sets through multiplication, and add them all up, along with adding Ugh! cards that are gained through positive means. The highest points at the end wins!
Game setup: Shuffle all the cards together to make one deck. Make sure there is enough room for everyone to have a card area in front of them, and for the deck to have a discard pile to one side, and three safety piles to the other side. The youngest player gets to go first, then proceed in clockwise order.
How to play: The first player must draw a card to get the game started. If on a player's first draw they pull an Ugh! card they ignore the penalty, flip the card over and place it in their locked in score area. An Ugh! card that comes up on your first draw is worth 3 Victory points at the end. Otherwise, you will have a Numbers card, that will have a value of 1 to 5, or a Wild card. These cards will be in Orange, Purple, Green, or in the case of some of the Wilds a mix of color. You will decide after your first draw on whether to keep the card, or press your luck. You do this again for a second safety pile, but if it is an Ugh! card you must suffer its penalty. If you are safe, and are holding out for a better card, then you draw a third and place it on the third safety pile. If you still don't like what you see, you can draw a final fourth draw from the deck, but you must play that card to your area, regardless of what it is.
The idea as you do this is to try and get a set with a high value. A set is comprised of 1 green card, 1 purple card, and 1 orange card. The values on the cards get multiplied when the set gets locked in for final scoring. So, if I had a 2 green, and a 1 purple in my play area, and I choose from the third safety pile a 3 orange, then I can take those cards and declare that as a set, and I will score 6 points at the end of the game for that set (1x2x3=6). You will add up all of your sets and Ugh! cards that you acquired on a first draw to give you your final tally of points.
Wild cards come in different colors. You can either use a wild card to steal a card of that color from another player (it can not be a card they have locked in) or you will use the wild to finish a set. If you use the steal, then the Wild card is discarded, and you can only use it on cards that are not locked in. If you use it as a card to finish a set, you use it as the color it has on it (if it has more than one color then you choose which one you are using it for) and the value is one less then the lowest number in the set it is a part of. So if I have a green 4, and orange 3, and I use a Wild purple to complete the set, the Wild purple is worth 2 (the lowest number -1), so my set is 4x3x2 equaling 24 points.
So remember, every turn you can draw/claim a card, and you can lock in sets, so make the highest/best sets that you can!
Endgame: The end of the game is reached when the last card of the deck is drawn. All the players get one chance to lock in sets before this last card is drawn. The last player must play the last card drawn, no matter what it is. Cards that are not locked into a set are discarded and the Ugh! cards that were drawn as the first draw of a turn are worth three points each.
Thank you so much for reading my review of Ugh! by Calliope Games!