Designed By: Prospero Hall
Art By: Prospero Hall
Published By: Ravensburger
Player Count: 2-6
Time to Play: 20-25 Minutes
Hey! Hey, you! Do you have family or friends that only like to play Uno, or classic card games? Do you want to introduce them to something else, but they are not interested in anything that is not a card game featuring numbered cards? Want to teach them about push your luck games? Guess what? I have a fantastic suggestion for you for a game that fits their requirements, but is actually a lot of fun! Let's talk about Push from Ravensburger.
My family loves games like Rack-o, Rummikub, Skyjo, Skip-Bo, etc. so I frequently am on the lookout for games that fit that category, but somehow I I never came across this one until recently, which is quite a shame because I missed out on years that I could have been enjoying it. If you enjoy those types of games too but have not heard of Push before, keep reading, so you can see why Push should definitely be part of your family game nights too.
Push is a push your luck card game where you goal is to collect and score sets of cards in hopes of having the highest number of points by the end of the game. On your turn you can do one of two things. First, you can play cards. If you choose this action, you will create up to three stacks of cards by flipping over a card from the deck one at a time and adding it to a pile that does not already contain a matching number or color. You can stop whenever you like and when you do you get to collect one of the sets of cards, the others will go to your opponents. You hope is to take the stack with the biggest points for you to add to your bench and hope to bank later. However, if you ever flip over a card that cannot be placed, you pushed your luck to far and you bust. That means no cards for you. You also then need to roll the die and discard any matching cards from your bench. Your other option is to bank cards. This means that you can take all the cards of a single color from your bench and add them to your bank. These cards cannot be discarded on future turns and will be guaranteed points at the end of the game. This is helpful because if you ever get a stack of cards (on your turn or someone else's) with a wild symbol on it, you must roll the die and discard any matching cards on your bench, just like when you bust. When the deck runs out, whoever has the most points wins!
What's purr-ty cool:
Simplicity: Push is a fantastic option for gamers looking for a light, quick game, with simple rules that still involve some decision making. The rules are short, sweet, and to the point which makes getting started and teaching the game easy. As there are only two action choices for your turn, it is great for gamers who get overwhelmed with games with too many options. You have some say in what happens, but not too many options where you might wind up analysis paralysis. As this is a push your luck game, there is very much luck involved, but the players have agency in how much they want to try risking their odds. While I know many gamers who love a theme to their games, I also know many (mostly family-weight gamers) that find it distracting and prefer a game that is straightforward without a theme. Push is great for gamers of the latter kind. It's cards are colorful (and have symbols to help colorblind gamers differentiate the colors), but it's look is simple and clean. Just a color and a number on the card.
Mechanics and Gameplay: If you are looking for a gateway push your luck game, there could not be a better choice than Push. The mechanic is literally the name of the game. The thing I really like about Push, is that it is relatively forgiving for a push your luck game. Very rarely will you get more than three cards on your turn, so even if you bust a few times it does not automatically mean you lose the game. You have the possibility of gaining cards on your opponents turns, so that can help balance out any bad luck you may be having. On that note, I like how Push keeps players interested in the game when it is not their turn. Players are allowed to offer suggestions to the active player (though the active player may choose to ignore them) in hopes of influencing a pile in their favor or encouraging the active player to push their luck and maybe bust. Turns are pretty quick, but it is always nice when players can be involved in the game on more than just the turns when they are the active player.
For players that want to take their strategy a little further, they can look to see what cards other players have on their bench to get an idea of what they may be trying to bank soon. This can allow players to strategically add cards to certain piles during their active player phase in hopes of making piles not just more appealing for themselves, but also less appealing for their opponents. For example, if you saw your opponent had a lot of green cards that they might try to bank soon and you had a choice of whether to put a wild on a green 3 or a blue 6, you might put it on the green card so that if you opponent winds up with that stack, they have to roll the die and chance losing their big green stack on their bench. You can certainly enjoy Push without thinking that deeply, but I appreciate that the strategy is there for those that enjoy a bit more of a thinky game.
Push was truly just a fun little game. My sister immediately wanted to buy a copy for herself and her husband to play. My mom said to bring this one over again, as she would gladly play it some more. I think I could even get my non-gamer sister to enjoy it. If you are looking for your next family friendly, gateway game, give Push a try!
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.