Type: Co-Op 

Time to play: 20 minutes (Teaching: 2 minutes)

Best played with: 4 Player (2 – 4 Players)

Now before I even start – you may not think that playing numbers in ascending orders is hard, or indeed a game… but let me assure you it is a brain burner of one!

The Mind is sweeping the world it seems at the moment, and this little spiritual successor to The Game is a very popular game sought after at conventions. Hard to get in the UK, but a must play if you get the chance.

What is it then? Well it’s just what I said above – a team of players trying to play their cards in ascending order. The cards go from 1-100 and only a small number are dealt each round (each player has a hand equal to the round – first round, one card and second round, two cards etc). Each player only knows their own cards and cannot tell the other players anything about their cards.

How will you do it then? How will you possibly play cards in the right order? What happens if you go wrong? Well let’s start there – if someone places a card higher than a card in another players hand – ALL cards below that number are discarded and you lose one life as a team. Given there are only three lives at the start and after the third life lost you instantly lose, this is a severe loss.

How do you win? Get to the final round and complete it – different for each player number (i.e. more players, less rounds because it is more challenging with more players).

To achieve this herculian task you will need to be patient, be brave and you will probably want to remember the cards in the discard pile at any time to help you have an idea of what high (and low) numbers could be out there. Memory is allowed but sneaking a peak at those discarded cards is not allowed and definitely challenging int the time pressured environment.

Why do I think this is a game? Well because there is skill, judgment, genuine player agency and because you can be better or worse at it. For me that’s enough to make this a game. However, I hear the other side of it – there’s no complexity to the game, no emergent strategy and indeed what looks like skill may very well just be luck or the dull tedium of counting quietly in your head. That’s all true, but this makes the key essential last ingredient so important – the players.

A group of players seeking to just win the game might be drawn into codifying their strategy, planning a rhythm to count by or indeed allowing errors to be forgiven. However, the game here lies in the rough and tumble of getting things wrong, laughing at yourselves and chatting whilst playing. This is a game that can evoke silence, but only in equal measure to the games where banter about the day / the news / the sport rises above.

Honestly, in a good group this game can fly. Add to that the little strategy of a limited number of cards that allow you to discard cards in your hands. Oh and the round bonuses that give you false hope that this will somehow get easier or more possible despite the increasing complexity.

I have won this game, at 2 player and 3 player. I have played it plenty more though, and I absolutely love it. Everyone I play it with wants to take a copy and use it to introduce those who might be intimidated by big rules, or dry colourless boards. It’s fun, it’s light, and if there is only four of you then this one is well worth a look.

Last notes,

  • If you like a fast paced filler to start or end the night – worth checking this out
  • If you hate heavy luck games – then this is a miss
  • If you win, try again and with new people!