Our family loves to play games. We try to host a game night with our friends as often as possible. From board games to card games – we have many favorites. We are always looking for new games to play and we love finding games that are small enough to carry with us when we travel on road-trips. Recently we were introduced to Karma and our family has played it almost daily for the last two weeks.
The first time I played Karma it was just Andrew and I. We decided to break open the box late at night before bed and play a couple of rounds. We briefly read the instructions. I’ll be honest. I’m one of those that speed reads everything glancing over some words – in this case those few words changed some minor details of the game. We didn’t catch on that we were playing it wrong until one of our son’s pointed it out days later. However, it was a blast playing both versions. Yes, I was schooled by a child. I do not admit that often.
What I love most about this game is that no matter which player may be winning at any given moment, it is very easy for the game to turn around and Karma to get you. Each member in our family has been close to the finish line and get slapped with the entire deck again. The object of the game is to be the first without any cards left. I have gotten down to one card and been handed twenty. It’s maddening and glorious – depending which side you are on.
The game setup is fairly simple and quick to deal. Each player receives three cards in their hand and six cards as their table cards. Three of the table cards are face down where no one knows what they are, not even the one they belong to. The other three table cards are face up on top of the others. The draw pile is in the middle along with the discard pile.
This game is very easy for kids to play along. You just need to know the order of numbers – no math involved. The strategy behind the card game is where it can get difficult for younger ones but my 8-year-old plays with a breeze. He is extremely competitive and reminds other players in the game when one person is getting low on cards. He knows how to strategize!
The game is estimated to take 35 minutes to play. I would agree with that calculation. We usually play several rounds and sometimes we keep going until there is only one person left instead of stopping after the first person runs out of cards.
How to Play
You go around in a circle playing in order. Each time you lay down a card you must draw a card from the pile in the middle until there are no cards left. You must keep three cards in your hands until the draw pile runs out. You discard cards depending on what is facing up in the middle. You can lay down a card that either matches the number or is higher in value. So in the photo you see a 1 in the middle. You could lay down any card 1-16. If the card was a 16, which is the highest card, and you do not have a 16 then you must either lay down a Karma card or take the entire pile.
Karma cards are played as wild cards. The instructions are listed on each Karma card on how they work. This is where it gets tricky. Although the Karma card most likely benefits you in some way, once you lay it down it goes into the pile for someone else to get if they have to collect the deck.
You can not play your table cards until all the cards in your hand are gone and the draw pile is empty. Once this happens you may start playing the table cards but all three cards facing up must be played first before playing the hidden cards.
Now that you are down to your last three cards and you have no idea what they are… things get really interesting. This is the time when the game gets somewhat nerve-racking and you are sitting on the edge of your seat. You cannot look at your cards before you play them. It is all pure luck at this point! When it comes to your turn you have to guess which of the three cards will be playable on top of the discard pile. If there is a high number on the discard pile and you flip over a lower number…. you must take the entire pile!
There are three of each number and three of each Karma cards. My son has gotten pretty good at figuring out what the odds are of you winning with the face down cards by paying attention to how many cards have already been played. The other players do not know what you hold in your hand but they can see your first three table cards. Our family gets ruthless during this time. If they know we can’t play one of our table cards on top of one of their hand cards, they make sure to play it to keep us in the game.
Tips for Playing
Try to get rid of your lower numbers first. These are the most difficult to play. If you are stuck and cannot play any of your cards but you have one Karma card that is great to use – decide if it is worth it first. If the discard pile only has a few cards, save your Karma card and pick up the deck. You always want to play the Karma cards when you either have no choice or it will really benefit you and set back the other player.
I know our family will spend many more hours playing the Karma card game. In Texas during the hot heat of summer playing games is a great way to stay cool indoors. Also this game is the perfect size to take with us on our road-trip to the beach this summer!
Full Disclosure: My family received the Karma card game in the mail for review. All opinions are 100% my own. Our love for the game and the countless hours spent playing is real.
What is your favorite game to play as a family?
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