There are few games where players don't have to wait for their turn. "Tripolo" is just such a game. The game includes a total of 64 playing cards. Every card displays a letter of the alphabet, either A, B, C or D, each card is of a specific color, either blue, green, yellow or red, and each contains a picture of either a cat, dog, octopus or frog. No two cards are exactly the same.
The game begins by first placing 9 random cards face up in front of all players. The cards must be arranged in 3 rows of 3 cards each. Next, the remaining cards are dealt evenly to all players. These cards are turned face down in front of each player. Players then choose 4 cards each from the pile in front of them and this forms the basis of their starting hand. The object of the game is to get rid of all your cards as quickly as possible creating a "Tripolo."
Players can begin playing any card from their hand on any of the 9 cards in the 3 x 3 grid in front of them. However, in order to play a card, you must look for 2 cards in any row, column, or even diagonally that have similar features and then play one of your cards to complete the set of 3. For example, let's say that the top row contains two cats and one dog, then you could play a cat on top of the dog card and create a matching threesome. You can match colors, letters or animals. Once you play a card from your hand, replace it from the remaining cards in front of you, so players always have four cards in their hand.
This is where the chaos and excitement begins. Since everyone can play at the same time, cards are flying from a player's hand to one of the card piles on the grid at breakneck speeds. Players are required to call out the color, letter or animal they are matching, but let me tell you, this game is not for the timid. In fact, we found that the game could not be played with both younger players and older players at the same time. Kids ages 6-10 had a very difficult time keeping up with the teenagers or adults. However, if they played the game with kids their same age, all was perfect.
Keep in mind that "Tripolo" is very educational for younger players to help reinforce their knowledge of letters, colors and some basic animals. And many adults really got into this game because it moved so fast. It was also one of Toys Bulletin's loudest focus group sessions, since in many cases, another player may play on the grid just an instant ahead of a competing player causing lots of snarky comments from the slower player.
"Tripolo" is suggested for those 6 years old and up, and for 2-4 players. Again, we recommend younger players compete only against players of the same age. It can be bought for $8.00 at Amazon.com.
-- RJ Cullen
-- RJ Cullen