English language edition
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Take your card game to the edge! In Limits, players endeavor to keep track of how many cards have been played of a specific color, and call out the person who went over the brink! If you're right, you'll score big and cost them points! But, prepare to face the consequences if you're wrong!
Players: 2 - 6
Time: 45 minutes
Ages: 8 and up
Weight: 280 grams
Language Requirements: Manufacturer's rules are printed in multiple languages (including English). This is an international edition or domestic edition of an imported item. Game components are language-independent.
- 112 playing cards
- instructions (English, Spanish, French)
Average Rating: 4.5 in 3 reviews
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.
It does seem as if memory shows up in quite a few games these days - perhaps it's always been so, but I'm just now beginning to really notice it. Limits (Playroom Entertainment - 2007 - Uwe Rosenberg) is another game from one of the great card game designers (Bohnanza, anyone?) that sounded so simplistic from the rules that I was convinced I wouldn't enjoy it. Instead, I was impressed that Limits has become a very entertaining, battle of the minds card game that is quickly played. I'm pleased that this older game (first published in 2001 by Amigo Spiele) has been republished in an excellent format.
Folks who don't like Limits will complain about the memory aspect; and indeed, those who aren't fond of memorization will likely wish to steer clear. At the same time, the game may use memory, but it's all about a psychological battle between players. A player with perfect memory might do better than others, but they still must attempt to outguess other players to win. On paper, the game really sounds boring; but it plays well even with two players - an enjoyable, fast card game.
Limits is essentially a deck of cards that is broken up into three parts - point cards (in "1" and "5" denominations); Limit cards, and sixty Color cards (simply a card with one of five colors - red, blue, purple, yellow, or green). The amount of players determines the number of Limit cards used in the game, which are placed face down on the table. Five Color cards are dealt to each player, and the rest form a draw pile.
At the beginning of each round, the top Limit card is turned over. Each card shows the limit number for the five colors, which ranges from "0" to "9", but can also show an "x", which means that that color has no limit. Players then choose a card from their hand and place it face down in front of them. This card they've played increases the limit of that color by one. The youngest player takes the first turn in round one.
On a player's turn, they have two choices. The more likely decision is that they will discard a card from their hand face up on the discard pile and draw the top card from the deck. The other possibility they have, if they have four cards of the same color in their hand, is to reveal them, taking a value "1" point card. They then draw four new cards, discarding two of the four card set into the discard pile and the other two on top of the draw pile. The next player then takes their turn.
BUT, at the end of a player's turn, if anyone thinks that the limit on a color has been broken, they slam their hand on the table, shouting, "Call!". This ends the round, and everyone reveals the Color cards they had placed face-down in front of themselves. The player then counts the number of cards in the discard pile - specifically the color that was played when they were "called". If the number of cards of that color is greater than the limit (including the previously facedown cards) of that color, then the accused player loses the round, taking the limit card (worth "-2" points). The accuser receives a "+1" value point card. If the number is equal to or less then the limit, then the results are reversed.
At this point, all players add the color card that they had facedown back into their hands, and a new round begins with the player who took the Limit card going first. Play continues until all of the Limit cards have been taken, at which point the game ends. Players add up their points (subtracting two for each Limit card they have), and the player with the highest score is the winner!
Some comments on the game...
- Components: The cards are of a very high quality - linen finish
and a nice white border allow them to be handled fairly heavily with
no discernable damage. The Color cards are a bit bland - just a
color, mind you - and they have an imprint of a hand. There are a few
discernable differences in the background for those who are
colorblind. The cards all fit easily into a cardboard insert inside a
small box. The whole game really has a "colorful" vibe to it, which
isn't really overwhelming (although the box is perhaps a tad ugly),
but it gives the game a fairly abstract feel.
- Rules: The rulebook is only three pages, which makes sense, since
the game rules are actually quite simple. I did appreciate the
extended examples and figure anyone could learn the game from the
rulebook easily. The game can be played easily with most age groups.
- Time and Players: The game takes about twenty minutes to play,
which is a good thing; as it would likely begin to drag if it went on
any longer. I enjoy this game in small doses; but because it is a
game in which the same thing is repeated over and over, keeping it
short is for the best. The game handles up to six players, and having
the maximum amount makes for a fairly interesting game, because
players have absolutely no idea about the limits. A three player game
is a more controlled game; and while it lacks in the chaos of the
larger game (especially as four people race to hit the table first),
it may be my favorite way to play. At the same time, in a two player
game, players place two cards face down in front of themselves, rather
than one. This gives them a bit more wiggle room to maneuver with the
limits. It's not one of the best two-player games I've ever played,
but it is a good one, although it still is best with multiple players.
- Memory and Bluffing: Limits certainly panders to those who
remember every card that has been played. At the same time, one is
never quite sure what cards the other players have played at any
particular time. I especially enjoy when the limit number for a color
is "0". When a player discards that color for the first time, you can
see everyone thinking, "Is he bluffing? Did he play that color as his
face-down card? Did anyone else?" Watching what people play usually
is no help; it's simply a matter of watching their faces. Perhaps
they are bluffing.
- Fun Factor: And the bluffing, short and simple as it is, is what
adds the "fun" to this game. Collecting four of a set is a nice goal,
and it helps focus gamers as they discard cards; but the game is
mostly about trying to guess when one player goes over the limit.
Guessing wrong by one card, or catching someone trying to pull a fast
one are moments of levity in this game; and they keep it fun and
My verdict is that while Limits isn't really anything ground-breaking and won't likely be played twice in one setting, it still is entertaining enough for an "ice-breaker" of sorts on a gaming night and fun enough that it will see play on occasional game nights. I like the low-end bluffing; and although scores are often quite low (it's not uncommon to end up with a negative score), the game is short enough to be an enjoyable appetizer. And since it tastes good, it's a nice start to a gaming night.
"Real men play board games"
"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.