Design by Filip Mitunski
Published by Granna
2 – 4 Players, 1 hour
Review by Greg J. Schloesser
Ever want to change your life? How about a new occupation, or perhaps a better relationship? Want to start a blog or improve your health? Which one of us wouldn’t want to change something about our life? Well, now you can do it without any degree of effort or significant investment. All you have to do is play CV by designer Filip Mitunski!
CV is short for “curriculum vitae”, which is Latin for “resume” (as in job resume). In CV, you will be forming your life by acquiring and forming knowledge, skills, jobs, health, relationships and more. All of this will be done by tossing and re-rolling dice in a Yahtzee-like fashion and using the results to acquire and improve all facets of your life. If only real life was as easy as this!
The game consists primarily of dice, cards and tokens. The cards are divided into three main categories: early adulthood, middle age and old age. These are further subdivided into seven “life” categories, including health, knowledge, relationship, life goal, work, possession and event. These are color-coded for easy identification, and helpful icons generally match the symbols on the dice or indicate special card features. Each card is appropriately named (Blood Donor, Blogger, Athlete, Marriage, etc.) and all have humorous artwork comically depicting the subject matter. Don’t overlook the delightful artwork as it often elicits some chuckles.
Each player receives one “life goal” card (which lists bonus end game victory conditions) and three cards from the starting “childhood” deck, which are passed and selected in a “7 Wonders” fashion. These “childhood” cards are one-time use cards that, when played, provide an instant benefit. Five cards from the early adulthood deck are revealed and the game begins.
On a turn, the active player rolls four dice, setting aside any “sad” faces (representing bad luck) that result. He may then reroll any of the remaining dice up to two times, again setting aside any bad luck results. Be careful when rerolling the dice, however, as three bad luck symbols causes the player to suffer misfortune, forcing him to return one of the cards from his personal display. Three “happy” faces (good luck), however, allow the player to take any one card from the display, regardless of the cost.
After completing his rolls, the player may purchase up to two cards from the display, but must “pay” the cost indicated on the cards with the symbols rolled. For example, the MBA card requires one knowledge and one money symbol, while the Blood Donor requires two health symbols. If the player has rolled the needed symbols, he takes the appropriate card(s) and places it face-up in front of him.
Some cards provide end game victory points or can be used to gain a one-time benefit, but most cards grant the player tokens (which match the symbols on the dice), additional dice, or special abilities. The tokens are semi-permanent and a player can use them on all future turns. Using the example above, acquiring the Blood Donor card gives the player a relationship token, while the MBA card allows the player to purchase future cards with one fewer symbol. So, as players acquire more cards, they will have more tokens at their disposal, making it easier to acquire future cards.
There is a caveat, though: when a card is acquired, it often must cover any previous cards the player has in that category, rendering that previous card’s benefits obsolete. This could cause the player to return previously acquired tokens, reduce the number of dice he will roll, or lose a special ability. Thus, a player must carefully consider this before choosing which card(s) to acquire.
Play continues in this fashion, pausing after each of the three decks expires to see if any player qualifies for “social assistance”. If any players have half (or fewer) as many cards as any other player, those players receive any one card of their choice from the display. This is a neat “catch-up” mechanism that can be quite handy if one is suffering.
The game ends when there are fewer cards in the old age deck than there are players, at which point players tally their points. Points are earned from three sources:
Sets: Relationship, health and knowledge are each examined separately, with points earned for the number of each a player has collected. For example, collecting three knowledge cards earns the player 6 points, while collecting seven earns a player 28 points. Points range from 1 – 55, which can be huge.
Possessions: Possession cards each give the specified number of victory points.
Public Life Goals: At the beginning of the game, a number of life goal cards are set face-up on the board. The players best meeting the conditions listed on the cards earn the indicated number of points.
Personal Life Goal: Players earn points for meeting the conditions listed on their personal life goal. For example, if a player has the “Hard Worker” life goal, he earns 3 points for every work (blue) card he has collected.
Of course, the player with the most points is universally admired for the wonderful life he has led … and he wins the game.
As mentioned, CV is a loose Yahtzee derivative, with the “push-you-luck” dice rolling mechanism carrying a bit more risk (three bad luck results can hurt), but the potential of even greater rewards. Anytime dice are involved in a game, there is bound to be a significant degree of luck, and that is true here. However, that luck can be somewhat mitigated by the benefits the cards convey. Collecting cards generally give the player more dice to roll, more tokens to use to purchase cards (tokens return to the player, so are not “spent”) and special abilities that may make purchasing cards or manipulating dice easier. So, overcoming undesired dice results is a lot easier than in Yahtzee.
Further, the game does have a few built-in “catch the leader” mechanisms. In addition to the social assistance rule mentioned above, a player who is rolling more dice has a greater chance of getting three bad luck results, forcing him to lose a card. So, while extra dice can certainly be beneficial, they do carry an increased danger.
There are important decisions to be made beyond the re-rolling of dice. Choosing which cards to purchase is not automatic. Since acquiring a new card often means covering a previously acquired one, the player must weigh the benefits that will be lost versus those gained from a new card. There is an impulse to simply purchase any card you can afford (based on the symbols rolled), but it is often wiser to concentrate on a specific strategy, which may mean passing over cards you could afford.
There appears to be numerous strategies to pursue. Acquiring large sets of the aforementioned cards can be quite lucrative, but significant points can also be earned from possessions and achieving the results of the public and private life goal cards. Of course, concentrate too early on the cards that give end game victory points may mean you don’t get those in-game benefits that are sorely needed to acquire new cards, particularly in the later stages of the game (particularly old age) when the cost to acquire cards has escalated.
My biggest complaint with CV is that it is a bit fiddly and difficult to remember all of one’s powers and abilities. After each turn in which one or more cards are acquired, a player must adjust the number and types of tokens he should possess. Mistakes can easily be made. Further, many cards convey ongoing benefits that a player must remember to employ. However, these, too, can change quickly as new cards are acquired and old ones are covered. It can be a chore to keep-up with all of these changes.
In spite of these accounting and memory drawbacks, CV is a fun game, particularly if players get into the spirit and role-play a bit. It can be funny to pantomime and brag about your new blog or status as a star athlete! Fortunately, there is more to the game than role-playing. Yes, there is a healthy dose of luck, but there are also many important decisions and strategic choices. CV is a fun and non-risky way to reinvent your life!
4 (Love it!):
3 (Like it): Greg S.
1 (Not for me):