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We enjoy this game quite a bit, but we've renamed it to 'Double Safe.' And we've fixed the rules. We tend to do that. The game calls for the cards to be put in a stack, and we instead line them up as we play them so that you don't need to memorize what has gone by. When we play the card that puts that color at the limit, we say 'limit.' When we put a card one over the printed limit, which is a potentially unsafe move, we say 'Safe!', as if calling it safe will make it safe. And two cards over the limit, that's 'double safe.' The rules say that you lose two points for losing a challenge, but we find that too much, so we just make it one point. And when you get four of a kind, that's a 'Whoopsie Doodle.'
Uwe Rosenberg makes great games. He should just send them to us first before he publishes them so we can fix them and rename them. We enjoy Schaufenster too, which he foolishly named 'Klunker.'
I played this card game with my friend.
While playing this game, I prayed god everytime
I wanted to choose one to be looser^^
when few people play this game, this game
become a strategy game.
and when many people play this game, this game
become very loud.
"How far dare you venture?" asks this fiendish game. Deal everyone five colored cards. A Limit card shows the maximum playable for each color per round. Everyone plays one card facedown. Players in turn play a faceup card to the discard pile, then replenish. Challenging someone you suspect of exceeding a Limit wins a point if you're right, but all facedown cards are added to the Limits and can reveal nasty surprises. Lose two points if you're wrong. Memory, bluff, and brazen cockiness are needed to gain the winning points in all this excitement.
Uwe Rosenberg is established as an excellent card game designer. Limits, his newest release, adds to a library of unique mechanisms with familiar touches. It is far from his best effort, but the game clearly works well by using a clever memory and bluffing combination.
The primary card deck consists of five colors. In addition, a set of "Limit Cards" shows all five colors with a number associated with each. A third set of cards is used for scoring only, with plenty of ones and a few fives.
Each player receives five cards and then one of the Limit Cards is revealed. This sets the base for the round. For example, the Limit Card may show Red with 5, Yellow with 2, Green with 2, Blue with 1, and Purple with zero. As a first step, players secretly select a card from their hand and place it face down in front of them. This card adds to the limit established by the Limit Card. So, if I place a Purple card in front of me, Purple now has a limit of one rather than the zero on the card. Of course, its limit could be higher because I don't know which card everyone else has chosen.
Like Mamma Mia, play then proceeds by creating a common deck in the middle of the table. You place a card on the common stack and draw a new card, or you challenge anyone who played before you. Challenging means you think that the card they played was above the limit for that color. On a challenge, all the secret cards are revealed so that the true limit can be determined, and then the winner of the challenge gets one point and the loser takes the Limit Card for minus two points. The game proceeds through a fixed number of Limit Cards.
There is one more twist in the play. If you can collect four cards of the same color in your hand, you can play all four at once on your turn. You draw four new cards, then two of the four you originally played go on the stack and the other two get placed on top of the draw pile. This action gets you one point, but you still can be challenged if someone thinks one of the two cards you played busts the limit for that color.
You cannot score in this game if you do not participate in challenges. The memory element is clear in that you must keep a close eye on the number of each color played to the stack. But, the secret card play at the start really disrupts things, since it is never clear exactly what the limit for each color actually is. A common first play, for example, would be to play a green card when the Limit Card shows zero for green. It is very risky for anyone to challenge you, since only one player needed to place a green card face down. Obviously the unknown information is greater with more players, and the game really works best this way as a result.
The four-card play can be dangerous as well. If I collect four yellow cards just as a round ends, for example, it is possible that the next Limit Card shows a very low number for yellow, making the play risky. Some cards show an "X" for a color, meaning that any number of cards in that color is acceptable. These become the safe plays when you feel exposed on your other colors but are not confident enough to challenge.
Revealing the cards when a challenge is declared is a big part of the excitement in each round. The tension also builds as cards are added to the stack, especially when a particularly bold play is made (adding the third blue when the Limit Card shows zero for blue, for example). Even then, the choice for a challenge is not always clear. In games we've played, the challenge win ratio is about .500. Clearly more aggressive or more cautious player groups will vary this.
The only complaint I can make about the cards themselves is that they should have included "minus five" scoring cards instead of "plus five" cards! Overall, Limits is a fun filler that keeps everyone on their toes, but I don't see it as a game that will wear as well as Herr Rosenberg's best.