Ligretto: a card game of speed

On the date of 14/09/2012, students Thomas Galati, Dan Gilmore, Professor Narke and myself played Ligretto. It is a German card game where the goal is to discard all your cards first by laying them in the middle of the table, doing this demands speed.

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The most important aspect is to have speed. Every player has 40 cards at his or her disposal, from 1 to 10, your goal is to get rid of them as quickly as possible. You may place the ‘1’s on any free position on the table. All other cards can only be played on cards of the same color whose value is one less than that of the card you want to play.

Each player starts with a deck of 40 cards with the same pattern and color on the back. Each deck consists of 10 cards each of red, blue, yellow, and green cards numbering 1 to 10. Players deal different numbers of cards in a face-up Row in front of them depending on how many people are playing in a game (5 cards for 2 players, 4 cards for 3 players, etc.). Players also deal 10 cards into a face-up Ligretto Stack and hold the remainder of the cards as their hand.

When you play, players try to discard all of their cards as fast as possible by building piles in the middle of the table of the same color from a 1 card up to a 10 card. The 1 card to start each center pile can come from a Ligretto Stack, the Row, or the Hand (which is dealt three cards at a time). You’re supposed to place your card on the deck from the order of 1 to 10 for each color. If you don’t have the card you need like the number ‘4’ for number ‘3’ for example, then you need to pick up another card. Once a pile is topped by a ‘10’ card, no more cards can be added. If players reach a point where no one can play any cards, everyone shouts “Ligretto!”and then reshuffle their cards.

When a player gets rid of all their cards, he or she shouts “Ligretto stop!” and the cards in the center of the table are sorted out back to their owners and counted to see how many points each player has earned. Play continues to 99 points.

This was the first and only time I’ve ever played Ligretto, so as a beginner I didn’t have much luck or fun playing it since I had to learn the game while playing. I’m not quick so a game relying on quick thinking and quick reflexes is not something I’d recommend to people who enjoy taking things easy, are a bit slow and prefer to think. However if you’re fortunate enough to be blessed with quick reflexes then you may enjoy that game as it would favor you. It’s a bit complex at the beginning but once you play you understand it better.

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