Do you love fun? Are you a fan of clever cards games? Maybe you are looking for something new? Perhaps you have enjoyed games of Fluxx, and are now searching for a family-friendly card game with similar changeable craziness and a fresh style? Well, Minimize could be the answer for you.
Minimize has been developed by independent publishers and friends Chris, Jen, and Ryan from Frazzled Wool. Originally from Chesterfield, England, the team started making games during the global pandemic, trying to take something positive from this difficult time. Hitting Kickstarter this summer, Minimize is the first game to be developed by the team, and incorporates a flexible deck of 78 numbers cards, all with number, colour and shape on them. They are designed to be played with the game Minimize but also for potentially many others, including two current official variants, Tokenize and Eradicize.
In this review, we will take a look at all three games, Minimize, Tokenize and Eradicize, and talk about what we like about this clever deck of cards. First, let’s talk about the signiture game, Minimize.
Minimize is a card game where players are looking to minimize their scores in order to win. In this game, less is more! The score is calculated in a rather clever way. It sounds complicated at first but it will quickly become quite intuitive. Your score is achieved by first assessing the range of the six cards in your hand whenever a challenge is made. Your lowest value card is taken from your highest value, to show your range. Say for example, you had a two for your lowest and an eight for your highest, your range therefore is six.
You can then subtract one point for any pair of the same number, deduct three points for any set of three, and a whopping five points can be removed for having four or more of the same number.
But we are not yet done! Each game has three bonus rule cards chosen at random from 18 different options at the start of the game. They can change throughout, but at each scoring phase, which ever three are face up at that point will affect your score by adding points to your hand. This can range from the Triplet card, which cruelly adds three points for having three of more of the same number in your hand, to the Sixes card which adds a game changing five points for each card with the value of 6 in your possession!
Set-up is a simple process of shuffling the deck and dealing six cards to each player and dividing the rest into three equal draw piles. You will draw three random bonus scoring cards and lay them face up on the table.
On your turn you draw from one of the three draw piles separately choosing one existing card from your hand to discard. As you place cards into the discard pile, some will trigger game-changing actions. This can be where all players let the player to their left take one or two of their cards at random, pass your entire hand clockwise, change a bonus rule card, or receive a new challenge token.
The challenge tokens are used to try and win the game. Each player starts with one and can use it at the start of their go so long as each player has taken at least three turns. They reveal their score and then each player in turn declares if they have a lower score or not. If they do, they reveal that number to the table. This then is the new score to beat and this continues until all players have declared their position. The player with the lowest score at this point shows their cards to confirm their total, discards their cards and advances to the next round. Play will then continue until the next player chooses to call for a challenge.
This continues until all players bar one has gone through to the next round. This process continues until there are just two players left when a final round is played. So, for a four-player game, you would play until one player challenges. The lowest score would advance leaving three players playing until another challenge is called. Then the next player with the lowest advances, leaving just two playing. When the next challenge is called, you would then advance one final player through and the other is eliminated. You would then start a new round with the three players who advanced. Go through the same process to get two players.
Then, in the final round the player with the lowest score on the first challenge wins the game.
The entire process is fun, fast and feels very fresh. This is a family-friendly card game that plays quickly and is very easily adapted by younger players. I enjoyed this with my family of four, including my five and eight-year old children, who all found the brightly coloured cards very easy to read and understand. They were disappointed if they were ever eliminated but the game is quick enough to just wait for the next game!
Each card is designed to simply show a number, colour, and shape. The numbers are shown at the top left and bottom right of each card, the colours are vibrant and the contrasts between the card colour and number font colour is very easy for younger players to read. The shapes did sometimes confuse them in the early games, as they are stylised into images. For example, the square could be a dice, bunny in a top hat or a birthday cake. But this was quickly understood and the designs are fun and do add to the experience.
Tokenize works very similar to Minimize, with the same set-up and play mechanics, but the scoring and end game scenario is different. In Tokenize you are looking to collect sets of three cards. This could be in the form of three of the same colours, numbers or shapes.
At the start if each players turn, if they have a set of three in their hand, they declare this and show their cards to all players. This set is then scored, removed from the game and that player then draws three more cards and play continues.
Scoring a set is as simple as taking ten points, and then working out the variations to that set based on the current three face up bonus rule cards.
This carry’s on until the draw deck runs out. At this point, if in the discard pile there are less than 10 cards there, the game will end immediately. Otherwise, and more likely, the discard is shuffled into three new draw piles and the game continues. If on the third time through the deck the discard pile still doesn’t have less than ten cards then the game ends.
This game is perhaps a little easier for younger players to score as the range scoring system has been removed, but it does feel a little less original than the unique style of Minimize. It is a fun way to play with these cards never-the-less, and offers an interesting option for the trinity; playing all three versions at once!
Eradicize is a game where players are looking to get rid of all their cards. Set-up is similar to the other two games, with than three changes. Bonus rule cards are not used, after each player has been dealt six face down cards, they are then delt a further three face up cards, and each player is given their own colour and shape token to use in the game.
On a players turn they can draw from either of the three face up draw piles and then they must play one card. Cards are played into a discard pile and must always be either higher in value than the previous card, or the same colour or shape as their own assigned token.
If you cannot lay a card, you must then pick up. Play continues until one player has used all cards in their hand. They must then try to play the three cards they have face up in front of them. The first to do this wins the game.
This game feels the lightest of the three and plays a lot quicker. It is most suitable for younger players and I would think this game could be played with children around the four to five mark.
The decisions of which card to play; knowing the colour and shape could either help or hinder the following player, adds a nice friendly take-that mechanic to the game. Knowing the three face-up cards for each player also adds an element of competitive fun when you reach the later stages.
Overall, I would say Minimize was my favourite of the three current games these brightly coloured clever cards can be used for. I sense many more rule sets will be developed for this, perhaps by the developers and fans alike.
The new brightly coloured art will stand out and pop on the table, and I think this game could find some very welcome homes when it comes to Kickstarter later this summer.