pic2646024_md1-300x300We 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:

  • spend the yellow and one red, which combine to make orange, and take the orange square in the upper left corner. Or
  • spend the two red pips to get the red square in the center, then turn in that red square with your blue square, and pick up the purple diamond in the lower right.

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.

648a7030473e7f380cd55a19769b73f0_originalThe 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.

GemPacked Cards‘ Kickstarter campaign has less than three weeks left, a $25 pledge gets you a copy of the game as thanks. A single-player puzzle game version is also available on iOS for $0.99.

A copy of GemPacked Cards was provided to Purple Pawn for review purposes.