|Golf - Public Domain|
Picture thanks to A Mom with a Lesson Plan
Over the years I've played a number of standard card games; Hearts, Spades, Euchre, Rummy, Nerts, etc. etc. etc... But about a month ago our friends introduced me to a new game using standard playing cards that I had never played before. They called it Tic-Tac-Toe and a few quick searches didn't turn up any card games by that name, at least none that used standard playing cards (although there are a number that use custom decks, but none with the same rules). Recently I did another quick search because I was thinking about the game again and discovered that it is actually called Golf, or any of a number of other names, as is typical for public domain games. So now that I found the game I've decided to do a review of it for anyone looking for a new game that can be played with standard playing cards.
The rules we played by are actually a 9 card per player variant of the standard Golf, which uses only 6 cards per player. Instead of just trying to make pairs players try to match rows or columns of 3, but other than that the rules are basically the same (see the 9-card Golf rules here: http://www.wikihow.com/Play-Golf-%28Card-Game%29). For 4 players we played with 3 decks all shuffled together. So there were 12 of each denomination.
The game was a lot of fun. There's a lot of luck involved, but also a bit of strategy, too. You have to look at what other players have displayed and consider what card is best to discard (you don't necessarily want to give the next player something they can use to great advantage) and also decide what cards to keep and which to discard to better your own groupings of cards. I found the game to be a bit more luck based than other card games like Hearts or Spades, but less luck based than something like Mexican Train Dominoes. It would be a good casual card game alternative for those who usually like other card games like Hearts, but it won't take the place of more advanced board games, larger party games like Apples to Apples, Cards Against Humanity, Fluxx, etc., nor will it replace more strategic card games like Love Letter or Hanabi, but it is definitely one worth giving a shot as a fun, casual game that can be played with lots of distractions or when conversation is more important than focusing on game decisions. It's also a good game to play with kids since the decisions are pretty simple and straight forward and players don't need to keep a large collection of cards in their hand.
Preliminary Rating: 5/10
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GJJG Game Reviews are independent, unpaid reviews of games I, George Jaros, have played with my family and friends. Some of these games I own, some are owned by friends, some are borrowed, and some are print and play versions of games. Where applicable I will indicate if games have been played with kids or adults or a mix (Family Play). I won't go into extensive detail about how to play the game (there are plenty of other sources for that information and I'll occasionally link to those other sources), but I will give my impressions of the game and how my friends and family reacted to the game. First Play Impression reviews will only get a single rating of 1-10 (low-high) based on my first impressions of the game during my first time playing. Hopefully I'll get more chances to play the game and will be able to give it a full review soon.