- Designer – Joao Quintela Martins
- Publisher – artgames
- Players: 2-6
- Age: 6+
- Time 15-20 mins
- Played 3 times with review copy provided by publisher
Gelato Mio is a nice cardgame that comes in a small deck tuckbox. It is the second game in this format that I have tried from artgames, the other being Vidrado. Unlike Vidrado, this is more of a traditional card game – where players try to collect cards in order to make ice cream and eventually fulfill order cards for victory points.
The game is made up of 87 cards – split into a number of different decks. The bulk of the cards are in the ingredient deck; these are shuffled and a 3×3 array of cards is set out on the table.
The ingredient cards have things like milk, sugar, strawberries, vanilla, chocolate, cookie straws and cones. The set of seven bonus objective cards are laid out nearby – some can be scored immediately while others wait for the final scoring to be resolved. Finally, the order cards are set up; the most complex sundae card is always available from the start, the rest of the order deck is spilt up into three equal stacks with the top card being turned face up. The last set of cards are the scoops of ice cream (in vanilla, strawberry and chocolate) – they are placed in piles off to the side to serve as a supply.
On a turn, the player takes one of four action choices.
1] Draw a card – choose a card from the ingredient array. If any orthogonally adjacent cards are exactly the same, they must also be drawn. All drawn cards are added to your hand. Move the remaining cards in the array as far left as possible and then refill the array from the deck. If you show the “>7 card” card, all players with more than 7 cards in their hand must discard half rounded down. If you show the “>3 scoops” card, all players with more than 3 scoops of ice cream on the table must discard half, rounding down. If the draw pile is exhausted, shuffle all the discards to make a new draw pile.
2] Make ice cream – discard one cream, one sugar and one flavor ingredient and take one scoop of matching ice cream. This ice cream ball is laid face up on the table in front of you.
3] Fulfill an order – using ice cream from the table and other things from your hand (cone / bowl / cookies), fill one of the face up order cards. All ice cream and ingredients used are removed from the game. Take the completed order card and out it in your area. You will score points as shown on the card. As you fulfill an order, check to see if you meet the conditions of one of the three order bonus cards. If so, take that bonus card.
4] Ask a colleague for help – discard 2 cards from your hand to take one card randomly from any opponent.
The game continues around the table until the end game condition is met – that is one of the three flavors of ice cream balls is exhausted. When this happens, all players (including the one who took the last ice cream ball) get one more turn. After the final turn, the four ice cream ball bonus cards are assigned (given to the player who has the most scoops of the matching type on both their finished order cards as well as on the table in front of them). Finally, each pair of identical cards in your hand is worth a point. The player with the most points wins. Ties broken in favor of the player with fewest ice cream balls on the table.
My thoughts on the game
Gelato Mio is a light set collection game which has made it to the table on these hot summer nights as we enjoy ice cream at the same time. The mechanism to select cards is interesting – some times your choice is obvious as you need a specific card. Other times, you may have to carefully choose your card lest you leave a huge opportunity for the next player. Likewise, there are times when you have the chance to pick up three or four cards at once, and that can sometimes cause you to alter your own plans.
You can’t be too greedy though as the penalty cards for hand size and ice cream on the table come up once per deck – and as the game progresses, the deck grows smaller and smaller (as any components used to fulfill an order are discarded from the game). Of course, if you have already seen the penalty card, you can push your luck a bit more and not worry about it until the discards are shuffled!
The first part of the game is mostly ingredient acquisition and making ice cream balls. There is a little bit of a race as the three order bonus cards go to the first player who has made the appropriate combination of orders. However, as I mentioned before, sometimes the choice from the ingredient array is so good that you feel obligated to grab multiples of cards. As the game winds down I find that I wait for specific ingredients, especially working on pairing cards up for the point at the end of the game for pairs.
The game definitely doesn’t out stay its welcome, often running to a conclusion in ten minutes. Once you’ve played the game, it’s easy to teach. Learning it from the rules is a little rough though. The rules come on three double sided cards, and the organization is a bit curious. The first five card sides explain the components and some of the actions, but the actual “how to play” isn’t seen until the sixth and final card side. This made the initial read-through disjointed to say the least. Also, the rules cards aren’t numbered, which was disorienting on the rules read through when I kept thinking that I had missed the “how to play” part. Luckily, the game is pretty easy to play once you get it, so even a fumble through the first pass of the rules isn’t a barrier to enjoying the game.
The artwork is clean and appealing, and I like the way that each of the order cards (and ice cream scoop cards) has a list of necessary cards printed on the bottom. The cards are quite sturdy, and we have not had any damage or bending to them despite repeated shufflings in our games thus far.
Gelato Mio is a nice family weight game which has definitely found the table for themed play (as we do love our ice cream here in the summertime!) While you do need a fair amount of table space to play it, the game itself comes in a small portable package so that you could perhaps carry it with you as you walk to the local ice cream shop. It is definitely not as complex as Vidrado, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing, as sometimes you just want a nice refreshing game to help you enjoy the evening.
Until your next appointment
The Gaming Doctor