We don’t play those games on facebook any more, but GemPacked Cards reminded us of Bejewelled and similar match-three-and-collect-points games. This is an interesting variation on those types of games that resulted in GemPacked Cards: a family-friendly competitive set collection game with a surprising amount of strategy.
There’s a 3×3 grid of cards, colored square and diamond gems. There is a selection of round “pips” you draw up each turn. Turn in two colored pips to match a colored square in the grid, you grab that square, which is worth one point at the end of the game. Combine colored squares to match a diamond’s color and grab that diamond, which is worth even more. Get a collection of pips, squares, and diamonds matching the requirements on a rocket card to gain a lot more. There’s a light space theme onto the game, with comets (“chomets”) resetting part of the board; asteroids giving everyone additional pips; and special sun, novas, and red dwarf cards for endgame bonuses.
For instance, in the above layout (upper right), let’s assume you have a blue square card, two red pips, and one yellow pip. You could:
If you take that second action, you’re left with a purple diamond and red pip. Notice the three rocket cards in the top row of the image — you now have two of the four items to get that middle one.
The game plays quickly with a simple knowledge of the color wheel, plus a bit of strategy. Should you break down your gems to build them back up for better combinations? There’s a bit of a slowdown in the later stage of the game when players have several options — breaking down gems to component colors, then rebuilding with what’s available — but the game plays quickly enough we didn’t find this a problem. (The box says each game takes about 20 minutes, and it doesn’t lie.)
In our games, we wound up with very close scores at the end. All three of us — husband, wife, and fourth-grader — really enjoyed it. In fact, as I’m writing this, my daughter is patiently awaiting her mom to come home from work to play another round.
A copy of GemPacked Cards was provided to Purple Pawn for review purposes.