I may be partial to TCGs (trading card games), but doesn’t mean that I’m always trying to get people involved in playing only TCGs.
Well, not all the time!
There are LCGs (which I’ve talked about on and off in the past), which are great for those who can’t really afford TCGs, but still want the collectible aspect of card games to be preserved to a certain extent.
At the base level, there are a number of non-collectible card games that are playable straight from the box.
I’m talking about card games that are suitable for pretty much all age groups and are more general interest.
Heard of Citadels? What about Condottiere? And hey, everyone’s favourite German boardgame, Settlers of Catan actually has a card game too!
Citadels – Castle building, via cards
In this card game, players seek to build districts. Everyone aims to build a collection of districts worth from one to eight points.
Once someone has built eight districts, the game is over after that round ends, and the player with the highest total points value, wins the game.
The most interesting part of Citadels are the special characters, which give special bonuses to players. Everyone sequentially chooses one, from a rapidly dwindling pool of eight each turn.
There’s even a Bahasa Malaysia-English version now (go to Boardgamecafe.net for more info)
Condottiere – Bidding for Italy
In Condottiere, the winner is the first player to acquire four connected provinces. A simple enough premise, but one that is complicated through the game’s auction system.
Set in the Renaissance era, Condottiere’s game play is fairly simple as players use numbered cards to get the highest bid for a given territory.
Unlike standard auctions, in which only the highest bidder loses their bid to the “bank”, every player loses their bid. Ouch!
Players are, in effect, bidding the number of troops they are willing to lose to win the territory. The obligatory wild cards are the ones that throw players off and keep things exciting.
Settlers of Catan – Portable version of a classic
Settlers of Catan is the poster boy for Euro boardgames: it’s certainly one of the most famous and popular boardgames here, and the world over.
The card game version doesn’t change the winning formula, as the game has each player acquiring resources from the lands surrounding their cities, and spending them on new cities, roads, knights, and civic improvements.
Every civic improvement serves some useful function or adds victory points (necessary to win the game) or both.
Action cards, drawn from the same decks as city improvements and knights, have more direct and temporary effects and serve to mix things up a bit.
The first two games are in stock in better game and specialty stores everywhere, while I have not seen the Settlers card game in a while now. A simply order at your friendly neighbourhood games store should solve the lack of supply.
These self-contained card games are fun, affordable and addictive. Condottiere is a favourite as I’ve always been keen on strategy boardgames (this certainly feels like one), but do give the other two a run-through as well!
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