Ligretto is a fast-moving card game where you’re trying to be rid of your cards first. Each player is given a deck of cards (distinguishable by the back; the fronts will be the same) that are the numbers 1-10 in four suits. Ten cards are dealt to the player, of which three are turned face-up in front of you, then play commences: rapidly!
Anyone who’s played patience will recognise what follows. Players count off three cards from their remaining deck and flip the third over. If you have the lowest card of a suit visible, either from the flipped card or your three face-up, you can get rid of it by placing it in the centre of the table, on top of its predecessor (‘1’s can always be played, starting a new pile). If a ten is played, it’s placed face-down to signify that pile is ‘full’.
If and when you manage to get rid of one of your face-up trio, deal a new one in its place from your remaining seven. The first player to get shot of their ten ‘play’ cards – not the deck itself – is the winner. One set of Ligretto will play four, but there are several sets available with different coloured backs, so you can upgrade to playing with 8, or even 12!
My gaming preferences lean towards a slightly more sedate experience than this: Ligretto is a chaotic race where you need to keep looking everywhere – not only at the communal piles and your own cards, but what the other players have face-up and may be about to lay down. If you like your games to be fast, furious, and end with a collective exhalation of breath, this will probably tick your boxes!
You might be beaten to a particular pile by a player with the same card as you. But most of the 'Take That' is the stress of the sheer pace here.
It's a virtually identical playing experience every time, but it's one of those games that if you like it, you'll probably like it a lot.