The perpetual casual gamer in me loves filler games. More often than not, though, I get disappointed because, more often than not, filler games are not very satisfying. They’re not that good, or that deep or, simply put, that fun.
Duco was offered to me by the creator and they advertise the game as “easy to learn, difficult to master”. When I received the game and saw that, I let a loud *sigh* leave my lips. The number of times I’ve heard/read that escapes me.
Granted, I have dyscalculia, so losing track of numbers is something that comes naturally to me, but I bet I’ve heard it a lot of times.
The first impressions of the game were good, though. The thick square cards with a back featuring the name of the game, and the front of the card divided in 9 sections with different icons are a joy to handle. The central icon is again the game logo in different colours. This particular area is used for different ways to play.
The rest of the icons look very much like a combination you’d see in a slots machine. Squares, stars, triangles, circles, crescent moons in different colours, some of them with numbers on top as well, are the shapes the players have to become familiar with. And it is very easy. The cards are devoid of any unnecessary ornaments and fancy detail. They are there to be played with and not admired, so nothing to distract the eye. Still kept very colourful, so children will be all over it. Colour-blind people? Some might struggle!
You know what I mentioned earlier about “easy to learn and difficult to master”? Well, they’re right. It is.
Make a cross of 5×5 cards in the middle of the table. The players choose the first to play and that player draws a card. The objective of the game is to place it on the table, trying to make as many shapes and colours match. In 30 seconds. When a perfect square has been formed by adding cards to the initial cross, you add two more cards to the sides in each direction and keep adding cards and matching shapes/colours.
If you match a shape, you get a point. If that shape is also the same colour, you get two points. The more shapes you manage to match, the more points you get. Reach 75 points and you have a winner.That simple!
At least for the basic game. This basic game doesn’t use the central coloured logo. But that is for another review…
Thank goodness the game comes with the 30 seconds rule. Otherwise this game would be torture! As it stands, it plays very quickly and, if you’re an asshole like I can be when I play this sort of game and I’m in a cheeky mood, it’s a delight to distract your opponents to rush their decision.
I’ll also add some of the shapes have a multiplier too. You can get twice or four times as many points if you match the right shapes and colours in one go. And let me tell you, it’s very satisfying when you manage that!
This is a very nifty little game and one that you can play with anyone who can do basic sums. I really think children would love it.
It has one little unbalance issue. In the four players game, the fourth player always gets the last corner of the rectangle, which reduces the chances of that player to choose just one place. Although you can rotate the card to make the most of it, you’re limited to just one place. Bit of a bugger, really.
Mind you, it can be easily sorted by adding more cards earlier in the game rather than wait to complete the 5 x 5 surface, so it’s hardly a big problem. Also, this wouldn’t be an issue in a game with an odd number of gamers.
The basic mode could keep you amused for a few games. I don’t know how good the other variants are, but if they as much replayabiity as the original gameplay has, then the game should come back to the table for a while.
As a quick game that’s not too demanding and can be explained in less than two minutes, this is well worth having in your library!