Ugh! – A Perfect Family Game

Ugh! reviews an exciting card game from Calliope Games.

We are always pleased to report on a fun family card game, and “Ugh!” is certainly one of those. If you are looking for a game to play over the holidays with 2-6 players that is appealing to anyone over the age of 8 years old, this may be the game for you.

“Ugh!” is extremely easy to learn and play, with a typical game lasting only 15-30 minutes. The game contents include a total of 110 cards, all with superb color illustrations. There are 78 numbered cards, 26 in each of three colors, purple, orange and green. Each of those cards is numbered between 1 and 5. In addition, there are 28 “Ugh!” cards and 4 Wild cards. The object of the game is for players to accumulate as many locked sets of 3 cards (containing one card of each color) in front of them and score the most points.

To set things up, all of the cards are shuffled together to form a draw pile, which is placed in the center of the table, leaving enough room for a discard pile on one side and 3 safety piles on the other side. Players then alternate turns by first drawing a card from the draw pile, and either starting/expanding a pool of cards in front of them, or placing the card face up in the first of the safety piles. If a player decides to position the card in front of himself, he can also lock any 3 card sets in front of him, which keeps them safe. This effectively ends his turn. However, if a player does not want his first drawn card, he can place it in the first safety pile, draw again, and see if he likes that card any better. If not, he can place that card in the second safety pile, and draw a third card from the draw pile, and decide whether that card would be a good fit in his pool of cards. If not, he can go ahead and place that card in the third safety pile. But, on the the fourth draw, he must take the card, no matter what, and play it in front of him.

Ugh! 2At any time during a turn, a player can pick up a face up card from any of the safety piles, place it in his pool of cards, lock any 3 card sets in front of him and end his turn. But, beware of the “Ugh!” cards, because they can really hurt a player. In fact, 25% of all cards are actually “Ugh!” cards. An “Ugh!” card, if drawn when a player is making his second, third or fourth draw on a turn, will effectively end his turn immediately, with no cards being put into his card pool, and no locks allowed. In fact, several of the nastier “Ugh” cards require a player to take one or more cards from their unlocked pool, and discard them as well. If an “Ugh!” card is the first card drawn, the player still must follow the instructions on the card, but in that case, he gets to keep the “Ugh!” card, which will provide some points at the end of the game.

There are also 4 wild cards (one of each color, plus a multi-color wild card) that can also change the game very quickly. If a wild card is drawn, it allows a player to select any card of the same color from any other player’s unlocked pool of cards, and take that card for themselves. As an alternative, the wild card can also be played in his own pool of cards for help in completing a set.

The game ends when the draw pile is exhausted. At that time, all of the locked sets are scored by multiplying the three numbers shown on the cards in each locked set together. For example, if a player had a locked set containing a purple 2, an orange 1 and a green 3, his total for that set would be 6 points (2 x 1 x 3). This is also the time for players to add 3 bonus points for any first flipped “Ugh!” cards. The player with the highest total score is declared the winner.

Ugh! 3The Toys Bulletin staff really enjoyed playing this game, which was as much fun with two players as it was with six players. Many players will take chances by drawing a second, third and fourth card, always looking for a higher numbered card of a certain color that will complete a set and boost their score. But when that “Ugh!” card is drawn, their faces drop, and disappointment takes over until their next turn. “Ugh!” is a game of highs and lows, the lead can change very quickly simply on the turn of the cards. Do you play conservatively, or play a wild loose game, it is up to you. “Ugh!” provides some great fast moving action for sure, and it retails for just $10.00. “Ugh!” can be ordered directly from the Calliope Games website.

–RJ Cullen

Posted in Card Games