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  • Writer's pictureJared Neal

The Game - Or Is It

Updated: Oct 28, 2021

Retail Price: $13

Player Count: 1-5 (best at 2-3)

Age Range: 8+ (5+ in our experience)

Play Time: 20 mins. (can vary greatly, but usually not more than 20 mins)

Complexity: 2.5 out of 10 (slightly lower in our experience)

Mechanisms: Cooperative Game, Hand Management, Limited Communication

Designer: Steffen Bendorf

Artist: Oliver Freudenreich, Sandra Freudenreich, Jason D. Kingsley, Kwanchai Moriya

Publisher: Pandasaurus Games

Educational Value:

  • Strategic Thinking

  • Pattern Recognition

  • Future Planning

  • Probability


Each player starts with a hand of cards, and there are four piles of cards out on the table, two with the number 1 and two with the number 100. The piles with the 1 must be played in ascending order, and the piles with the 100 must be played in descending order. On each players turn they must play at least two cards on to one or more of the piles, and then draw back up to a full hand. The objective is to play all the cards in the draw pile, before you run out of space between the four piles to play those cards. The catch is, you aren’t able to discuss with other players what cards you have, or what cards they have.


  • Place the two 1 cards and two 100 cards into four separate piles

  • Shuffle the rest of the cards, and deal players 6 cards in a 3, 4, or 5 player game, or 7 cards in a 2 player game.


You start by deciding together who will go first, and then that player must play at least 2 cards, either on a single pile or across multiple piles. A player can play as many cards as they want on their turn, and then must draw back up to their starting hand of either 6 or 7 cards. Then play proceeds to the next player. Cards played on the piles with the 1’s, must be player in ascending order, and cards played on the piles with the 100’s, must be played in descending order. If you have a card that is exactly 10 less than a card in the ascending stack (ie the top card is a 35, and you have a 25), or 10 more than a card in the descending stack (ie - the top card is a 50 and you have a 60), you may play it there to push the piles backwards.

During the game, players are never allowed to ask or reveal the specific numbers on the cards in other players hands or their own hand. Other than that, open communication is allowed. For example, it would be acceptable to tell another player not to play on a certain pile, or to play on a certain pile.

When the last card has been taken out of the discard pile, you continue playing cards, but now only have to play 1 each turn. The game ends if you are able to play all of your cards, or if during any players turn they can’t play the required minimum number of cards. When the game is over, you count all the cards left in your hands and in the draw pile, and if you are below 10 you did excellent, and if none are left you beat the game.

The instructions give the option of increasing the number of cards you are required to play on each turn, in order to increase the difficulty. I will just say, we definitely have never had to increase the difficulty, as the base game was plenty difficult.


There is certainly some strategy in this game, in calculating probabilities based on what cards have already been played, and understanding how damaging it will be to play certain cards on certain piles. There is also a whole lot of luck in this game, and players of the exact same skill level will have a wide range of success from game to game.


This game isn’t trying to wow you with its art, but the cards are very nice to look at, and they are a good quality of cardstock.


There is no theme here, I suppose thus the name The Game.

Replayability/Fun Factor:

Unless you are just ridiculously skilled at this game, and become quickly bored with the concept, there is going to be lots of replayability in this box. Not to mention, every time you play with a new group, you are really starting all over with understanding how each player's strategy is going to work. With that said, this game has been somewhat polarizing in my experience, as people either think it’s a really cool and fun idea, or they will think it is pointless and boring. Our family has really enjoyed this one, and have consistently asked to play it.


It is hard for me to really define a consistent characteristic of those who haven’t liked this game, versus those who have. Some players who like a lot of strategy have loved the hard decisions that come with determining which cards to play each turn, and players who like highly interactive social games, have really enjoyed the laughs and exasperation that come from hinging on your team not playing over the stacks you need to play on next turn. With the lower price point, and this game being so accessible and easy to learn and teach, I would highly recommend this one for everyone to at least give a try. If it’s not your cup of tea, it makes a great little gift you can pass along to someone else who might love it. I personally found it to be a great way to help my son learn his numbers, and introduce my daughter to the concept of future planning in games. This one should be accessible for any school aged child, as it really only requires understanding sequential numbers to be able to start playing.

+ Easy to learn

+ Quick to play

+ High replayability

- Overly simple

- Once you beat it, it loses its appeal

Final Score:

Jared - 7

Abigail - 7

Other Games You Might Like:

Gudetama, Hanabi, Skyjo, The Mind, Uno

This game was purchased from my friendly local game store, and is available here. This isn't an affiliate link, but just my way of trying to support my FLGS, who carry great games at even better prices.

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