2 players (solo variants available)
10 minutes
Ages 10+

ChromaWerks is a game that I designed for a contest on Board Game Geek.  The requirements of the contest were that the entire game is contained in 18 cards.  No extra components.  No extra rules.  Nothing except the 18 cards.  So the rules have to either use up some of the cards or be integrated right into the component cards.

In ChromaWerks each player uses 9 double-sided cards to make a 3x3 grid. Each quadrant of each card is machinery of a different color and players must take turns completing one of four actions to try to get all four center blocks to be solid colors.  There are Red Gears, Yellow Drive Belts, and Blue Pipes. There are also sections of 'broken' machinery that may not be used to complete blocks.

Download a PnP PDF: 
Support me on Patron!- Full-Color w/ Machinery

Thanks for playing and providing feedback!

(And thanks to Board Game Geek user swcblues for suggesting the name ChromaWerks, which is much better than the original Color Grid.)
ChromaWerks - new cards.
ChromaWerks old version card

Official Rules

Players: 2
Time: 10 minutes
Age: 10+

Shuffle all 18 cards.  Cards can be shuffled, flipped, and rotated to ensure that they are well mixed.

Deal out 9 cards in front of each player in a 3x3 grid.

Alternate Setup: Players take turns drawing the top card from the shuffled pile and deciding where to place the card, either within their own starting grid or their opponent's starting grid.

The starting configuration for one player.
Game Play:
Randomly determine which player starts first (if paying multiple games the loser of the last game should go first).  Players take turns completing Actions until one player has successfully completed four blocks of solid colored machinery.

There are four available Actions:

  1. Flip - The player can flip one card in his grid, either vertically or horizontally, without rotating the card.
  2. Rotate - The player can rotate one card in her grid 180 degrees.
  3. Slide - The player can pick up one card in his grid and slide one or more of the cards in that row or column to fill in the space.  Then return the lifted card to the new open space without flipping or rotating the card.  See below for details on the Slide action.
  4. Swap - The player can pick up one card from her opponent's side and swap it with one Unlocked card on her side without rotating or flipping either card.  A player cannot swap the exact same cards that were swapped on the previous player's turn (i.e. a player can't undo her opponent's previous move).

Locking Cards 
When a player completes a block of matching, unbroken machinery on his side, the four cards that make up that block are Locked and may not be used by an opponent to Swap.  The player may still take actions to affect his own cards that are Locked.  This may result in unlocking cards, in which case they would again be available to his opponent.
These four cards are locked because the yellow drive wheels block is complete.
Slide Cards: 
Slide Cards, step 1: Pick up one card.
Slide Cards, step 2: Slide one or more cards into the open
space, either vertically or horizontally.
Slide Cards, step 3: Place the picked up card into the open space.
This player locked the top four cards by completing the Red Gears block.
The player to complete four blocks in the center of her grid is the winner.
Winning ChromaWerks with four blocks: Blue, Red, Yellow Blue.
Solo Variants:
ChromaWerks can be played as a solitaire game as well.  

Solo Variant 1:
Thoroughly shuffle the cards as in the standard setup.  Build a single 3x3 grid of cards and place the other 9 cards in a draw pile.

Using the standard 4 Actions, try to complete a successful grid.  When you use the Swap action take a card from the bottom of the draw pile.  Do not rotate or flip the card when adding it to your grid.  The card that you removed from the grid is then removed from the game.  See how many cards are left in the draw pile when you complete the four center blocks.

Solo Variant 2:

Build a larger grid of 16 cards in a 4x4 layout.  Try to complete all 9 central blocks.  You may not use a Swap action.  See how many blocks you are able to complete.

Game design by: George Jaros
Special Thanks: Julie Zaborac, Mike Jaros, Sam Jaros

Copyright © 2014-2017

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. To view a copy of this license, visit

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