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|Match 'em Up (2020)|
|Designer(s)||Keith Wilcoxon||Artist(s)||Brains and Brawn Gaming||Publisher||
Brains and Brawn Gaming
Matching games are a fairly common genre, but they come in a lot of different formats. They are popular in families especially with young children or older family members trying to keep their memories sharp. I am a little surprised by the 8+ age rating of Match 'em Up because I think this game would be perfectly fine to play with younger children, and I would certainly have no issues suggesting it should be fine for that younger group.
Match 'em Up is a matching game that tests your memory for the location of where certain symbolled cards are that will be hidden after the first minute of the game. Players will need to memorize the initial positions of nine cards, keep track as three pairs of card will switch places, and then finally making your guesses. It is a neat little game that is extremely easy to learn, compact, and fun.
I was sent a version in a mint tin, which will be released in their upcoming Kickstarter on March 23rd, 2021. However, there is version of this game that released last year in a standard card box. Except for the slight format differences to fit into the mint can, I expect the overall experience with both versions to be the same.
First off, I have to say that I am fan of games that are formatted for mint tins especially when compared to card boxes. Mint tins are sturdier and tend to have a cleaner look to them. You do loose some of the graphical options for the outer label, but overall, I think it is worth the trade off. That said, I am pretty happy with the look of Match 'em Up in the mint tin. The design is simple, clean, and has a nice texture where the designs are on the tin. Everything fits very well within the case.
The game includes:
- Five Sets of Symbol Cards: Each set has the same set of nine symbols; each set has their own unique color (Red, Blue, Black, Green, Yellow).
- One set of rainbow colored cards with nine cards with the same symbols as the other sets of cards and three cards with a Switch action.
- Four double-sided cards with the rules.
The cards have a glossy finish and feel reasonably sturdy. The symbols on the cards include a power symbol, a clock, a sun, peace sign, and more; the color of these symbols match the color of the set they come from. The rainbow cards have these same general look and feel, but something that stood out to me is actually have much the symbols stood off of the cards and you could actually feel the patterns very easily. The same is true of the other sets, but they aren't as obvious.
- Separate the six decks of cards and shuffle each.
- Players will select their deck from the Blue, Green, Yellow, and Red decks; any unused decks from these are returned to the box.
- Place the rainbow deck face down in reach of all players.
- Randomly lay out the cards from the black set of cards face up in a 3 x 3 layout.
- Everyone has one minute (timed) to look at and memorize the face up cards before they are all flipped over.
Select a first player by your preferred method and begin play.
The game is split into 2 phases: the Rainbow phase and Deck phase (not officially named phases but easy to explained).
- Players will take turns drawing from the Rainbow deck.
- If the card drawn has "Switch" on it, that player will take two black cards from the center to swap. There are three Switch cards so keep an eye on where the cards are moving to.
- If the card has a symbol on it, they will place it on their side of the 3x3 row where they believe that symbol is in the black cards (essentially saying it is one of the three cards in that row).
This sequence continues until the Rainbow deck runs out.
Players will take turns drawing from their personal deck. They will place the drawn card on top of the black card in the center where they believe that symbol is. Remember, some cards will have switched locations three times during the Rainbow Phase.
Once all decks are out of cards, it is time for final scoring.
The game will end once each deck of cards has been depleted. Scoring is a straight forward process. Players will flip over their rainbow cards and the center stacks of cards (you can do this one by one if you prefer for simplicity).
Players will earn points as such:
- +1 Point for each Rainbow Card that is in the correct row with the shown symbol.
- -1 Point for each opponent's correct Rainbow Card.
- +3 Points for each of their cards on the correct cards in the center (exact matches).
Add up all of the points and whoever has the most points is the winner. If there is a tie, play again since the game is quick.
Memory games are not for everyone, but for those who enjoy a good memory game, this is a solid game. Not only must you remember what was under in each space before the initial flip, but you must also keep track of the cards as they are switched around. There is even an expert expansion to the game that adds 7 additional symbols bringing the game to a 4x4 memory grid and includes even more Switch cards. I also really enjoy the nice look and feel of the mint tin. It is an overall solid, light memory game that is easy to learn and quick to play.
If you like the looks of this game, you can either pick up a copy of the non-mint tin version of the game and the expert expansion/version on their page or support the Kickstarter that goes live on March 23rd, 2021 for this mint tin version. This is kicking off a series of mint tin games they will be releasing this year so be sure to follow the Kickstarter's creator profile and their social media.
We received the product in order to write an honest review; all reviews reflect the honest opinions of the writer.