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Nacho Loco
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Store:  Card Games, Family Games
Theme:  Food & Beverage
Format:  Card Games

Nacho Loco

card game

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Product Awards:  
Major FUN
Award Winner, 2007

Ages Players
8+ 2-6

Manufacturer(s): Buffalo Games

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Product Description

Challengers will outwit, out-score and out-match opponents to be crowned champion of this spicy new strategy game.

The object of the game is to acquire points by getting rid of all your unique triangular shaped cards while blocking opponents from doing the same. Cards are discarded by color matching and placing the cards on the table creating dazzling but tactical geometric patterns.

Product Awards

Major FUN
Award Winner, 2007

Product Information

  • Manufacturer(s): Buffalo Games

  • Year: 2007

  • Players: 2 - 6

  • Ages: 8 and up

  • Weight: 172 grams

  • Language Requirements: Game components are language-independent. Manufacturer's rules are printed in multiple languages (including English). This is a domestic item.


  • 94 total cards
  • 31 action cards
  • 62 color cards
  • 1 closer card
  • instructions (English, Spanish)

Product Reviews


Average Rating: 3.2 in 3 reviews

Easy to learn - great for kids
August 14, 2007

This is a great game for the whole family. It's easy for the little ones since it's just matching but challenging for older kids because there is some strategy involved. My kids both (13 and 10) love this game. We have played many times and I have yet to win!!

The "chip" shaped cards are fun for the kids but a little hard to shuffle. We just "swoosh" them around on the table to mix them up. It's also a little hard, when first learning, to remember who has to take a card and when and when to start scoring.

I would definitely recommend this game to anyone.

by Greg J. Schloesser
A fun, light family game that is a cross between Dominoes and UNO
July 24, 2007

Published by: Buffalo Games
3 – 5 Players, 30 – 45 minutes
Review by: Greg J. Schloesser

I’m always on the lookout for fun games that can be played in a family or casual gathering environment. For me, games that fit this genre should be easy to learn, fun to play, yet have at least a modicum of strategy and not be totally reliant upon luck. Unfortunately, oftentimes games that are aimed for the family market are sadly lacking in one or more of these aspects. That is why it is always a joy to discover a game that does contain all of these qualities, and Nacho Loco from Buffalo Games is one of these little gems.

Nacho Loco is sort of a cross between dominoes and UNO, the popular card game from Mattel. Participants play cards to the table, and must match at least one side to a previously played card. Matching special cards can give a player an additional turn, or force players to draw extra cards or lose a turn. Victory goes to the first player to deplete his hand of cards.

The game consists of 94 cards, each having the appearance and shape of a triangular nacho. Each of the three sides of a card will depict a color, an “X”, or a special action. An initial hand of six cards is dealt to each player, and one card from the draw pile is revealed to form the starting “nacho”.

Players then alternate placing one card from their hand to the playfield, if they are able to do so. A card must be placed adjacent to a previously placed card, and must match at least one side of that card. If a player is able to match two sides, all opponents must draw one card into their hands. If a player matches three sides – a difficult task – each opponent must draw two cards into their hands. On the other hand, if a player cannot legally play a card, he must draw a card, playing that card if able. Otherwise, it is placed into his hand and his turn is over.

If a player matches two “special” segments, he immediately executes the action granted. As mentioned, this can force an opponent to draw three cards or skip a turn, or give the active player an additional turn. It is difficult to plan for this, and it really is a matter of taking advantage of plays made by your opponents.

Making placement more difficult is the rule wherein a player cannot match two “X” segments. Since these “X” segments are plentiful, placement options can significantly decrease as the board grows, depending upon how it develops. It is possible, however, to use the “X” sides to “close” the playfield. If a card is played so that no other cards can possibly be played – meaning that “X” segments are along the entire edge of the playfield – the board is closed. It can also occur by successfully matching two “X” sides with the one “closer” card, which is a card with three “X” segments. The final way the playfield can be closed if every player cannot legally play a card.

When the playfield is closed, the active player’s opponents must all draw one card. All of the cards in the playfield are then discarded, a new card is revealed, and play continues. A round concludes when one player depletes his hand of cards, at which point he scores one point for each card remaining in his opponents’ hands. Subsequent rounds are played until one player achieves 20 or more points and claims the victory.

No, there isn’t a wealth of strategy present, but it isn’t totally devoid of tactics. Players should try to keep their options open by retaining cards in their hand that will allow them to play on multiple colors. It is also wise to retain special cards, playing them only when matches can be made. If a player has an abundance of one color in his hand, he should play those colors quickly so that he can match them on subsequent turns. And, of course, a player should also try to play in a manner that will limit the placement options of his opponents.

These tactics aren’t complex, and the decisions aren’t very taxing. No one is going to be comparing the game to Puerto Rico, Caylus or Squad Leader. But it isn’t meant to be a highly detailed strategy game. Rather, it is clearly meant to be a light, family game this is fun to play, yet not devoid of meaningful decisions. In that respect, it accomplishes its goal quite well. Fans of dominoes, UNO and other family games will likely find Nacho Loco to be quite palatable. Just resist the temptation to dip the cards into the salsa!

Uno + Dominoes
June 22, 2007

I love snacks, much to my detriment, but the one that I probably enjoy more than any other is simply nachos – whether with salsa, cheese, or whatever. Thus, Nacho Loco (Buffalo Games, 2007 – Not credited) caught my attention with the cards that were shaped as triangular nacho chips. Of course, one cool component does not a great game make, and going over the rules gave me thoughts of both Uno and Dominoes.

And that may be the best way to describe Nacho Loco – a mix of dominoes and the popular game Uno. Luck plays a large part of the game, with a few decisions that really don’t mean too much in the long run. The game looks good, although the cards are difficult to shuffle and will undoubtedly please fans of very light games. I enjoyed the theme and the look of the game in progress, but found the game merely passable, and certainly nothing I would request.

A pile of ninety-four triangular cards is shuffled, and six are dealt to each player. The remainders are placed in a face down pile, with the top one flipped face up in the middle of the table. Each card is divided into three segments, which are either

  • green
  • brown
  • yellow
  • “Go Again” (colored orange)
  • “Skip Next” (colored blue)
  • “Opponent Draws 3” (colored purple) or
  • black with an “x” printed on it.
The youngest player goes first, and play proceeds clockwise around the table.

On a player’s turn, they must play a card from their hand onto the table, placing it in such a way that each segment on this card matches any adjacent segments already on the table by color. A player cannot match black “x” segments. If the player cannot play a card, they must draw one card (playing it immediately if possible). If a player matches two segments of a card at once, all other players must draw one card. If a player matches three segments of a card at once (which I’ve never seen happen), then all other players must draw two cards.

If two segments are matches that have the same words, then that action occurs.

  • Skip Next (skip the next player)
  • Go Again (take another turn)
  • Opponent Draws 3 (pick any opponent who must draw three cards).

If a player plays a card which prevents any other card from being played (all available sides are black “x” segments; or if everybody draws consecutively and cannot play; or if someone plays the “Closer” card in which all three segments are black “x"s, and it can only be matched to two other black segments simultaneously – an exception to the rule), then the playfields is considered “closed”. The closing player gives all other players one card, clears all cards from the table, and turns over a new card, starting afresh.

This continues until one player plays the last card from their hand. At this point, they receive one point for each other card in the other players’ hands. Another round begins, until one player reaches twenty points – at which point they win the game!

Some comments on the game…

  1. Components: The triangular cards are good quality, and the backs of them look like real nachos (except for the logo, of course). However, they are a pain to shuffle and hold in the hand, although I suppose I’m willing to sacrifice that for the novelty of using triangular cards. The segments are clearly delineated, and I’m glad that each of the special segments has their own unique color. Everything fits inside a cardboard inset that slides into a long, thin box, which is brightly colored.

  2. Rules: The rules are on one large sheet and show through many full color illustrations how to play the game. With the exception of the Closing rules, everything is almost self-explanatory. Even the closing rules are fairly simple to understand – this is a game that will easily work with any age group – even young children will be able to match cards and colors together.

  3. Strategy: There is a short section in the rules that talk about tips and strategies (including how to shuffle – basically mix ‘em around on the table). But the game’s strategies are really defined by what cards a player draws into their hand – and that’s basically luck. Of course, players are attempting to make it as hard as possible for the next player to place a card, but how can you determine that. Of course, the opponent who has the least cards will get hit by the “Draw 3” smack down, but what else can you really do? Some people will declare that there is strategy in this game, but they will be the same people who proclaim Uno a great game of tactics.

  4. Other games: The comparisons to Tri-onimoes or Uno are very apt, because the game is basically Uno as a tile-laying game. Players are matching colors, and attempting to get rid of all the cards in their hand. There is some added flavor as to the placement of the tiles, but it’s certainly the same genre.

  5. Fun Factor: Nacho Loco can handle up to six players and finishes in about thirty minutes or less, depending on the luck of the draw. I had the mildest stirrings of enjoyment when playing but mostly found it rather boring. It’s quick, easy to teach, and fun for some; but I find it so lacking in strategy or tension that my attention wandered during game play.

If you have a friend or relative who thinks that Uno is the be-all end-all of gaming, then perhaps this will make a nice sequel for them. The cards are nice looking, and it has a bit of novelty flair about it. However, for most gamers, it is entirely too simplistic and lacking any meaningful decisions to be much fun. It is good for kids, as they learn to match cards; but everyone else should think twice before picking it up.

Tom Vasel
“Real men play board games”

Other Resources for Nacho Loco:

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