Arlukkachase Card Game Review
WBG Score: 6.5 Player Count 2-5 You’ll like this if you like: Exploding Kittens, Unstable Unicorns, Monopoly Deal. Published by: Arlukkachase
Destroy your opponents. Be the last person standing! Win the game! In Arlukkachase, you are looking to find the Key card. This will be placed into the deck face up at the very bottom. You know where it is and when it will arrive, but can you get it? Beware, as you are working your way through the deck to get to the key, one player will play as the Darkarlukka. They will be looking to infect all the other players before this happens. This is a take-that, race game, with all sorts of fun cards to play. Let's get to it!
Set-Up and rules
To start a game of Arlukkachase, you first must decide who will play as the Darkarlukka. This player will then be given eight regular cards from the deck. Each other play is dealt five regular cards (or seven in a two-player game) and one Arlukkashield card. Then place the marked cards in a separate pile and place three Arlukkashield cards, three Darkarlukka cards, and four cursed cards into the deck and shuffle it. Then insert the Arlukkey card face up at the bottom of the deck.
The person playing as the Darkarlukka goes first and can decide which direction to play in. On your turn, you can play as many cards as you like from your hand however you see fit. To end your turn, you must either draw one card from the top of the draw deck or insert one card from your hand into any place in the draw deck. This could be top of the deck, one down, or anywhere you like. Drawing one card or inserting one cards ends your turn immediately unless the card you draw is a cursed card, in which case you must curry out what it says before you end your turn.
The way you win in this game is by collecting and holding the Arlukkey for one complete round. As it is placed face up in the deck, when someone takes this, everyone else knows they have it. All eyes and attack cards will then be on them for the next round. But will other players have the right cards to do anything?
The Darkarlukka can win in the same way, but also wins if they manage to infect all players before the key is held by anyone else. The way they infect other players is by giving them Darkarlukka cards, or simply by the other players drawing these cards themselves. If they do ever get one of these cards they must declare it. The other players can defend themselves from infection if they have an Arukkasheild card and play it immediately upon receiving the Darkarlukka card. Both cards are then placed at the bottom of the deck. But if they cannot do this, they then join the Darkarlukka's side, taking on their roles and win condition. As everyone starts the game with a shield card, this does make this tricky early in the game, but there are plenty of Dark cards and the Darkarlukka can used the cursed cards to get more of these Dark cards into the deck.
Playing cards on your turn will allow you to take cards from other players, look at cards in the deck, shuffle deck, and many other things you will be familiar with from other similar games. There is also a reflect card and Naah card, similar to the infamous Nope card in Exploding Kittens, that will allow you to either reject a card played on you or deflect back to the other player. You can also do this by playing the same card played on you if you have it. This will not only send the power back to your opponent, but double the affect! This can be a great way to deplete another players hand.
Playing Arlukkachase is a fast, fun, and frantic affair. It doesn't at first appear to do anything highly original, but the idea of the one v many on top of the usual card play is very interesting. As is the opportunity for the one v many to become the many v one, or even the all winning as a collective dark force!
I like how some turns can be as simple as picking up a turn, players building up their hand, ready for later battles. Whereas other turns can last a lot longer, as people play multiple attack cards from their hand. All players know who the Darkarlukka is, and all players know when the Arlukkey is present and in someone hands. There is limited hidden information here. So, this is less about guess work and mystery, and more about clever card play and of course, like anything with a randomly shuffled draw pile, a bit of luck.
If you like games like Exploding Kittens, Unstable Unicorns, and Monopoly Deal, then I think you will enjoy this a lot too. The art looks dark and adult, I thought even a little occult to start with! But it isn't that at all. And you will quickly become familiar with the terminology and meaning of each power. Although I would highly recommend checking out the FAQ in the website to clarify the rules, which are a little vague.
Oh, and it is worth noting that the box this comes in is glorious!