WBG Score: 8
Published by: Studio Stratosphères
Designed by: Bruno Cathala
Road cycling seems to be hugely popular now-a-days. So are cute animals. I can see what they did here! I love card games. Simple, family-friendly games, perfect to get out after dinner for some quick fun. So, as someone who likes cute animals and getting out on my bike, I am all in for this. Let's get it to the table and see how it plays.
Buckle up. This is a tricky one. Set aside the Award Jersey card, shuffle the rest of the deck and deal out 11 cards to each player. You are now done! Woah! Time for a rest
How to Play
Players will now play in turn, either playing a card or not. Attacking or passing. This is a ladder climbing game, so it's all about trying to beat the cards on the table. When you attack, you can either play a single card or a group of cards. When you play a group they must have the same value or colour. When you play any card it must beat the current active set on the table. You can do this by playing a regular card or combination of them, or one of the higher value Hare cards.
Play will continue like this until all players pass after one player attacks. They will do this as they either do not want to or cannot beat the current set. Cards are scored by their numerical value for a single card, or by the number of cards plus the lowest value number for a combination. Whenever you play more than one card, each card immediately becomes worth ten points, and you will add a bonus of the lowest number. So, three blues that are a Two, three, and four, would score 32. Ten for each card and then plus two for the lowest value card, the two.
The player with the wining cards will then score points equal to the round, based on how many players are still in play. For example, in a three player game, in round one, the winning player will score two points. One for each player. One as it is round one. So two in total as there were two other players. For round four in a four player, the winning player will score 12 points. Four for each player. Four as it is round four, and 12 as there were three other players.
The game will run for five rounds, but the rules suggest you can modify the number of rounds for a longer or shorter game to suit your own desires. At the end of each round, the winning player is awarded the below Carrot Jersey card. This is a bonus plus ten card that can be played once in the subsequent round, to increase the value of any card or combination of cards.
Some have suggested that this just helps the winning player but the idea behind it ,as explained by the designer himself in the comments in this video, is to help the leader out. As the leader will most likely become targeted in the next round using the final group of cards, the Leaders. Therefore they need some help in the shape of the Carrot Jersey.
The Leader cards are the Turtles, all with a value of one. For each Leader than you play, you can take a random card from an opponents hand. For each card that you take this way you must give one back, but you can choose which card this will be. It could even be the card you just took if you don't want it. It's a great way to get rid of cards you cannot or do not want to use. And as shown, a good way to target the leader to slow them down.
There is a two player variant where there are just a few changes. The Carrot jersey is not used and the water carriers, the number two cards, have a special power. When any Camel card is played, you must add the top card from the draw pile to your hand. If you play more than one Camel card at once, draw one new card for each card played. Each time you win an attack you must draw the top card again, but this time, either take it for yourself, or give it to your opponent.
Is it Fun?
Velonimo is a simple game. It takes a round or two to get used to the scoring. Ten points per card plus the lowest card number is a simple concept but as you will also be playing single cards with their face value too, it will take a second to let it click. But when it does, it flows very quickly, and is just so much fun. Velonimo is one of those card games that you play that feels so familiar. Like it was a game you played in your childhood. And you are now reliving all those memories again for the hundredth time. Even if ladder climbing is new to you. This has a homogeneous feeling as you play it that warms your heart.
The art on the cards is wonderful and certainly helps with the charm of this game. This, added to the simplicity and familiarity of play, plus the smooth and fast gameplay, has all combined to make this a firm family favourite in a matter of weeks in our household. There are some games that you just reach for over and over again as you know they will deliver. Velonimo is one of those.
I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys simple card games that offer a come-back-and-play feeling. Simple rulesets. But high in interaction and fun. Velonimo joins a large group of great card games that can be enjoyed by anyone. But also a small group that offer high levels of fun every time you play it.