Tuesday, June 3, 2014
Iota from Gamewright
Today's review is a multiplayer puzzle game! Iota is an itty-bitty card game from Gamewright. This game is a cross between Set and Quirkle. I picked it up at B&N thinking it would be a great game to stash away in the purse for those moments when you find yourself away from home with some free time on your hands and a couple other potential players. And it does fit nicely in the purse (although the tin got dented). But the game play isn't all that great, so I'm not sure I'll be dragging this around anymore.
To play Iota, each player is dealt 4 cards and one card is flipped as the starter card. The object of the game is to earn as many points as you can by adding cards to the grid. The cards must match in either color, number or shape...or they must all be different. So, very much like Set, you have to form sets of cards with properties that all match or don't match. Sound confusing? If you look a the picture above, you can see a completed set of four cards (called a lot) that contain a one green circle, a one red triangle, a one blue plus, and a one orange square. So the cards match in number, but differ by shape and color. If you look at the intersecting lot across the one green circle, you can see that these cards match in color but differ in shape and number. The last card in that lot is a wild card, which in this case is forced to be a two green triangle.
Ginny and Jack were not impressed with this game. (You can tell by the ugly look on Gin's face!) The problem is that forming lots (sets of 4) is very difficult. And finding plays is also challenging. There's nothing wrong with a challenging game, but I think this game needs more cards to make it fun, instead of just annoying!
Above you can see all the yellow cards that are available. They are all the possible shapes and numbers within the set of yellow. Unfortunately, there aren't any duplicate cards. And this is what makes the game play rather difficult. If a lot can only be complete with a three yellow plus, but that card has already been played elsewhere, then that lot can never be finished! It isn't tragic when this happens, but it really does limit possible moves.
Here you can see how our game played out. If you study the cards, you can see that we really got blocked up and had very limited moves available. Some of the cards shifted about too, which makes things even more confusing! These are thin cards, which make for a great to-go game, but you don't want to play with anyone that breathes hard!
I like the idea behind Iota, but I think it could use some fine-tuning. Or maybe I just need to play with older, more experienced players who don't mind low scores! If you like the look of this kind of game, I would recommend going with either Set or Quirkle instead. These are tried and true games at our house, and we have loved them both!