This Game Goes to Eleven (Gamewright, 2018)

Dates played: June 22-23 & June 25, 2020

Basic details: 2-6 players; 20 minutes

Gist of the game: Each player begins the game with a hand of 3 cards. The top card of the deck is placed face up in the center of the play area (if it’s a 0 or 11, another card is drawn to begin play). Players take turns placing a card (numbered 1-9, 0, and 11) on the pile, announcing the sum of the cards, and drawing a new card. If a player places a card to make the sum equal to 11, they give the stack to another player. If they play a card to exceed 11, they take the stack. At the end of the game, the player with the fewest cards wins.

There are 2 special cards: the 11 card and the 0 card. The 11 card automatically brings the pile to 11. This can be countered by a 0 card, which then requires the person who played the 11 card to take the stack. If the 0 card is played on a normal turn, the sum of the pile is set to 0.

Color commentary: This is a super light, really enjoyable game. The quick playtime means you can play multiple games without getting bogged down. With my penpal in mind (looking at you, JB!), who, in pre-pandemic times enjoyed playing games with friends at bars and in similar social settings, I should note that this game is extremely portable, in multiple ways. First, the box itself is not especially large (6×9?), and could be made smaller by putting the cards into a deck box, which means the game could easily fit in a pocket or even a small purse. Second, it doesn’t take up a lot of table space: you need room for a draw pile, play pile, and each player’s accumulated cards from having to take piles.

Thoughts from Micah: This is a fun game that’s light on strategy. The best move I can think of is to carefully use the 0 and 11 cards. If you’re a little more conniving, as I aspire to be, you could also count cards to know what’s still in play and what’s been exhausted. I think this game probably plays just as good at 2 players as more, which is refreshing, since sometimes the dynamics change considerably. More players would introduce an element of strategy concerning who gets piles dumped on them, unless you play with the guitar pick variation, which basically ensures that every player gets a roughly equal number of piles (first player starts with the pick, and they get the first over-11 pile. Pick then moves to second player, who gets second over-11 pile, etc.) and thereby removes that element of strategy. Playing with the pick probably makes the game even more similar in terms of 2 player vs. multi-player. This is easily one of my top 5 filler games, below Kingdomino but ahead of Guillotine.

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