Thursday, 14 August 2014

The King of Singleplayer Multiplayer Gaming: Ligretto

This is Ligretto.

Ligretto rot HauptbildIt is a game for two to four players. Each player is handed a deck with a unique back. They shuffle their decks and deal a 10 card high stack. Depending on how many players they also deal out somewhere between 5 and 2 cards next to the stack face up. The aim is to place the cards in stacks of their own colours (yellow, blue, green and red) in the order of the 1 on the bottom, going up to 10 at the highest. You obviously won't be able to do with the face-up cards in front of you, so you cycle through your remaining deck 3 cards at a time. In other words, this game is multiplayer Klondike.

Of course, Klondike isn't really a turn-based game as you're just playing with yourself to pass the time. Ligretto is thus not a turn-based card game either.

So let's go over that again: Place your cards in stacks in the middle, starting with 1 and finishing with 10. Get rid of the 10card stack to win. Use the rest of your deck to get the cards you need to get the openings needed to remove the 10card stack. When someone's done that, they yell LIGRETTO and you get a point for each card you'd gotten out on the field. You lose two points for each of your 10card stack that's still there. You do this all at once.

Did I mention that that's not the only box? There's this one too.

Ligretto blau Hauptbildand this one to boot.

Ligretto grĂ¼n HauptbildWhy the different coloured boxes? Why, because they have unique deck backs of their own! You can buy all three and support 12 player real time Klondike.

This is the Quake 3 of card games. Or perhaps the Timesplitters. This game is brutal.

Multiplayer tactics in this game aren't about reading what's in other people's hands, making feints with discards or trying to communicate to a partner what your assets are through how you play like most card games. Multiplayer tactics are much grimier than that. You employ the sorts of tricks that you learn playing physical games outside like Storm the Lantern or British Bulldogs.  Tricks like holding back certain cards until someone lets you place three cards in rapid succession. Using twitch reactions to place a card before someone else can place consecutives. Talking smack to distract people from you slipping cards of the wrong order into piles. Demanding everyone pause to fix up piles that have gotten horribly messy and perhaps have incorrect sequences so you can delay an opponent from placing that Yellow 9 you've had clogging up your 10cards all round.

There are few card games (or indeed board games in general) that can get the blood pumping quite the way Ligretto can. I've seen people pop off hard when they win a round or lose one midway through placing their final card. It's the chaotic action videogame that doesn't need a monitor. I love this game.

1 comment:

  1. Oh, right.
    I was like, ooh, new game, but it's just Norwegian Snap.
    I love Norwegian Snap.