Before You Buy...
This is written to those exploring this game. My hope is to give you a brief understanding of the game to help you see if this game is right for you. This does not explain the full rules, but I trust you find it a helpful introduction to this simple and interesting game.
Picture by wererat
The Coloretto box and contents.
What is it?
Coloretto is a card game. This virtually themeless game is about collecting cards which players will group according to their colour. Players will try to collect as many cards of the same colour as they are able. The more cards a player collects of a colour the more points will be scored. However, at the end of the game, regardless of how many cards are collected, players score with only three of their (largest) colour sets. Each of their other sets or single cards counts as negative points. Part of the fun of the game is trying to limit the cards you collect to just three colours, while the other players are working in hopes of forcing you to collect more.
Picture by greatsage
The cards of Coloretto – there are nine cards in each of the seven colours. The rainbow card in the centre is Wild, and can be added to any set to increase its size. The card quality and art work are great.
Is it hard to learn?
The game is so simple that the instructions are written on a 22 cm by 10.5 cm paper (approx 8 ½ x 4 inches). Granted both sides of the paper are used, but it takes all of five minutes to read. It may take a few minutes to set things up the first time and get underway, but there is nothing complex about this game at all.
Picture by altivolus
Pictured is a typical four player game in progress. On a turn a player has two choices. Either they may draw a card from the stack and place it next to any of the Row Cards on the table. Or they may choose to pick up an entire card row, adding those cards to their collection. Card rows cannot hold more than three cards. Once a player has chosen a row he takes no further turns that round. Once each player has chosen a row of cards, a new round begins.
This is a one of the Row Cards used in the game which mark where the coloured cards are collected. Players use as many Row Cards as players.
Is that all there is to it?
The “push your luck” game mechanic is really the heart of the game. Players will try to optimize each row of cards as they build, trying to sweeten them in their favour, while at the same time attempt to keep them unattractive to the other players. There are a few cards in the deck that simply add 2 points to a players' score at the end of the game. When these are added to a row, there is definite incentive to collect it...but not if the other cards are colours that one is desperate to avoid.
Picture by DeanMary
At the end of the round the players count the cards they have in each colour and choose their three sets with the most cards. These are then scored according to the table on the card shown above. (Number of cards on the left column, number of points in the right column.) Any other cards or groups of cards count as minus points, using the same point system.
Who can play?
The game is listed at age 8 and up, but there is no doubt that younger children could play...and perhaps play well. The box I have is listed as three to five players. But there are also official rules for tweaking the game to be played by two. The two player game does work, but Coloretto is simply much more interesting as a multi-player. The simplicity of choices makes it great with non-gamers and it is also a fantastic family game. For the official two-player rules, click here.
The bottom line...
Coloretto is a simple game that is not mindless. Do you chose a card and hope you'll find a colour you are looking for? Or do you grab a row of cards before it gets polluted with unwanted cards and just call it quits for this round? It is not a heavy thinking game yet there is enough strategy to keep the game from getting dull. It is a quick, satisfying filler that takes about 15 minutes to play. Every game is different which give it a wonderful addictive quality. It is a very good light game.
along w/ "For Sale", Coloretto is a nearly perfect filler, portable, just enough strategy to be interesting, but easy to teach/play. At about $7-10 at on-line stores, there is really no reason why Coloretto shouldn't be a part of every gamer's "kit bag".
I held off on this game for awhile due to it being 3-5 players. I recently purchased it, printed out large versions of the 3 cards for the two player rules, and now I can't imagine not thinking this was the perfect game for:
1) playing with my wife
2) playing with non-gamer friends and family
3) playing as a filler with my game group
This is definitely a game worth picking up, especially if you just need a few more dollars to push your game order into free shipping.
Good review but am curious as to why the OP used "...virtually themeless game..." as a descriptor.
I love playing as a 2-player with my wife.