The Game Review
Let’s get the obvious out of the way. The Game is a horrible title for this game, or any game for that matter. Beyond the obvious vague of its title, it’s a pain to search for online. As terrible as its title may be, the game was nominated for the 2015 Speil Des Jahres, one of the highest honours in tabletop gaming. There has to be something to this beyond its terrible name, right?
The Game is a 2-5 player cooperative card game played with a 97-card deck. Each card has a unique number between 2 and 99. You’ll also have four discard piles, two for cards ranging from 1 going upwards, and two more going from 100 downwards. On your turn, you must play at least two cards into one of the two discard piles before drawing again. Play resumes like this until all of the cards in play or until one player has no legal moves left.
In practice, it’s sort of like a co-op version of Solitaire. You want to play the cards in as tight of a sequence as possible. However, the person who could follow up the 2 card with a 3 might be three turns away, and the next lowest card in the current player’s hand is a 20. As a team, you’re going to have to make concessions here and there without completely breaking your flow in the long run.
One rule of the game that makes things just a smidgen easier is the ability to shift the count backwards on the ascending piles or forwards on the descending piles in intervals of 10. For example if you’re playing in the 1-99 pile and 67 is the top card, you can play a 57, giving you more room to breathe.
The core mechanics of how the cards are arranged work really well. As dull as the rules sound, it is an entertaining challenge to try and clear out that massive draw pile. However, I’m not sure that I like the cooperative part of it. In particular, this game is prone to table talk that is borderline, if not blatantly cheating. The cooperative nature of the game feels a bit unnecessary.
Shortly after Steff and I played the game at a local convention, I bought the game on iOS. It’s been converted for solo play and I think its a much better game in that format. Without the ambiguity, it brings out the essence of what makes this game good. Not sure you need to buy the physical card game, but at the very least, try it out on your phone.