Designed By: Bruno Cathala
Art By: Dominique Mertens
Published By: 25th Century Games
Player Count: 2-5
Time to Play: 30-40 Minutes
Like trick-taking? Like bicycle riding? Like cute animals? Then I am certain you are going to like Velonimo from 25th Century Games.
In Velonimo players compete to score the most points and win the race. Velonimo is a trick-taking game where the goal is to get rid of all the cards from your hand first. Each round is composed of several tricks. A player wins the trick by playing the highest-scoring card or cards. If they win the trick they get to start the following trick. The first person to use all of their cards from their hand wins the race (round) and scores for the round. All other players continue to play and score until there is only one player left. The faster a player finishes the race, the more points they score.
What's purr-ty cool:
I love a good trick-taking game and something I enjoy a lot about Velonimo is how players combine cards to score higher points. Like most trick-taking games, in order to win the trick, you need to have played the highest value card. In Velonimo players can play single cards or sets of cards, as long as the value is higher than the previously played card. This is where the fun comes in. Single cards are always worth the normal value, but sets of cards are scored in a cool way. It is not simply adding the values of the cards together to create a higher number, but rather players score their sets based on the amount of cards played in the set and the lowest number shown on the cards. Players score the tens digit of their point value, based on how many cards they played and then the one's digit of their point value based on the lowest numbered card in the set that they played. In the example picture shown here, the first player played a single green six card. The is worth 6 points. The second player played a single 7 card, which is worth 7 points, so it is higher than 6. The third player played a pair of blue cards, the lowest value of which is 1. They would be 21 points (20 for the two cards in the set, and one because it is the lowest numbered card in the set). The "1" card is special. It is called a leader card, and when played allows you to take a random card from an opponent's hand and then either return that card or a different card from your hand to them. lowest-numbered. This is a great way to try and target opponents who you think may be holding good cards.
Once that is resolved, play will continue. The set of three 3's would be worth 33 points. The 35 is a special card that cannot be combined with other cards, but it is worth a lot on its own. It is a good idea to save these cards for when you want to try and win a trick but do not have a lot of sets in your hand. Finally, the last set is 4 yellow cards, with the lowest value being a 2, so the player has 42 points played. If no one can beat that or chooses not to (players are never required to beat a trick just because they can), that player would win the trick and then be able to start the next round.
I really like how this form of trick-taking also involves some set collection strategies since you have to think strategically about how you want to pair off your cards by colors, or numbers.
The overall design of Velonimo is really cute. I love the box shape (not something I think I have ever said in a review below). The art makes you feel warm and fuzzy with the cast of adorable animal bike riders. My favorite is the tiger which is carrying grapes, wine, and a baguette in its bike basket. I fully support bringing these to your bike race. It also comes with a helpful score pad which makes keeping track of who is winning nice and simple.
I also like that it does not take up unnecessary shelf space. The box is the perfect size for the game and also great for bringing on the go. If you want a cute trick-taking game to bring on your adventures, this is a great choice!
The cat's meow:
"Look I'm practicing how to hold onto handle bars. I think I could take this cheetah in the bike race!" - Solo the Spokescat
Disclosure: Pudgy Cat Games was provided a copy of this game in exchange for a review, however, this review reflects the honest thoughts of the author.