- Designer: Rudi zBiber
- Publisher: AMIGO
- Players: 2-6
- Age: 8+
- TIme: 20 minutes
- Played with review copy provided by AMIGO at SPIEL 2022
AMIGO has long been on of the stalwarts of the business, especially for their small card games. In fact, many folks (including myself) still refer to the slim double deck card boxes as “Amigo Card Boxes”… Each year, AMIGO usually puts out 2-4 such boxes of card games at SPIEL, and I generally stop by their booth to see what the offerings are each year.
Armadillos young and old meet on the hilly plains of America to take part in the great rolling competition. They curl up in a ball and off they go down the hillside! However, their goal is not to be the fastest or go the furthest; they all try to get as close to the goal rock as possible. In this game, you want to rid yourself of cards as quickly as you can through luck and smart choices over which armadillos — I mean, dice to roll each round.
The deck is made up of 60 cards, 3 copies each of 1-20, and each player starts the game with ten cards, as well as two chips. On a turn, roll whatever combination of the six dice you like, with the two blue dice being numbered 1-3, the two yellow 4-6, and the two red 7-9. If the sum of the rolled dice matches a numbered card you have in hand, discard it! If you have multiple copies of the same number; too bad – you can still only discard one card per roll! Of course, if someone else has that number, they discard it, too. You can spend chips to raise or lower the rolled number, and if you spend four chips, you can discard any card! Interestingly, everyone has the chance to play chips and mentally modify the dice – all players can spend chips and try to discard a card.
Wait, why is everyone trying to discard? Any time you don’t discard a card on your turn, you gain a chip from the pool. You can never have more than 5 chips in your supply; so there are times you might just trade in 4 chips to get rid of a card. The round ends as soon as someone empties their hand, and everyone else scores 1 point per card still in hand. Everyone keeps whatever tokens they had left at the end of the round. Shuffle the deck and deal out another round. Whoever has the fewest points after three rounds wins.
My thoughts on the game
Armadillo brings back memories of the small Amigo box games of my gaming past. You can fit the comfortingly familiar yellow box in your pocket, pull it out and play an easy going twenty minute game that literally anyone can learn in a few minutes.
The idea here is simple, get rid of your cards. When your turn comes around, you can choose which dice you want to roll in order to target the particular card you want to get rid of.
You should pay attention to the dice combinations that your opponents choose, as you might be able to rely on your opponents to continue rolling similarly on future turns, and hopefully you can get rid of a similarly ranked card on their turn which then allows you to spend your turn on the cards that no one else is rolling for.
You’ll get something each turn, whether it’s discarding a card or getting a chit. You’ll have to make a judgment call on some turns when you have enough Chits to possibly discard something versus holding on for a turn to pick up another chit. It may depend on whether you have a super high or super low card that you need an auto discard turn. Or it may also depend on what sorts of dice your opponents are rolling that may determine the likelihood that your number will come up.
In any event, it’s not super complicated. Dice are rolled, cards are discarded and before you know it, the round is over. The whole game takes maybe fifteen minutes, and you are definitely busy the whole time. It definitely does not out stay its welcome, and has been a great filler this fall so far.
It’s unlikely that this is a forever keeper, and honestly few games like this are, but we will certainly enjoy playing it until it’s replaced by the next generation of small yellow boxes next year.
Thoughts from other Opinionated Gamers
Joe Huber (2 plays): This is a perfectly harmless game, which I’ve had fun playing – just not as much fun as I might have playing a different lighter game instead. I let my copy go after two plays with no regrets.
Mitchell Thomashow (1 play) I played this over the weekend at Lobster Trap. It is definitely fun, but also forgettable. Would be happy to play in family settings.
Dan B. (1 play): I agree with Joe. It’s harmless and provides some fun, but there are better small light games I would rather be playing instead.
Ratings from the Opinionated Gamers
- I love it!
- I like it. Dale Y, John P
- Neutral. Joe H, Dan B, Mitchell T
- Not for me…