Reminisce About Interior Design in That Old Wallpaper | Casual Game Revolution

Reminisce About Interior Design in That Old Wallpaper

That Old Wallpaper

Nathan Thorton and Danelle Deley combine bidding and puzzle mechanics in this simple, fun game for 2-5 players.


Each player is given a deck of cards numbered 1-10 in their chosen color, shuffles them, and places them face-down in a pile. Players take their Recall Token, and place them in a line on the table with the youngest player at the front of the line (with every other player placing their Recall Token in order of ascending age). Then, the Wallpaper cards are shuffled, and then Wallpaper cards are drawn and placed in a row equal to the number of players (in a 2-player game, three cards are placed in a row) under the Wallpaper card draw pile. If any cards have a red oval in the middle, immediately add another card in that column with the card with the red oval. 

Players will take 5 of their numbered cards into their hands, choose a card, and reveal them simultaneously. Starting with the card closest to the draw pile (the low end), the player with the lowest total will place their card beside that card, with each ascending total being placed in the corresponding column beside Wallpaper cards. Any players who played unique numbers will claim the Wallpaper card beside their number. Any players who played the same number card will have the tie broken by referring to their place in the Recall Token line. The player ahead will choose which of the two cards they want and move their Recall Token to the back of the line. The player who loses will gain a Hazy Memory card, which acts as a wild card, to play into their tableau at game’s end. 

Each Wallpaper card has varying patterns and shapes, and players are bidding on Wallpaper cards to place in their own tableau, making sure to match like patterns. Some cards have golden patterns, which act as wild cards and can be matched to any existing pattern in their tableau. Wallpaper cards also have purple shapes in the middle, which when collected can gain players points for a set bonus. Wallpaper cards also have red ovals, which not only allow players to gain more cards in the row of Wallpaper cards, but the player with the most red ovals in their tableau at the end of the game will lose 2 points, and the players with the fewest red ovals will gain 2 points. Players will also gain points for completing specific patterns within their Wallpaper card tableau at game’s end. 

Players will draw back up to their hand limit of five cards, any remaining Wallpaper cards are moved toward the draw deck, the Wallpaper card row is replenished, and play continues in the same manner. When players reach the end of their discard deck, this signals the end of the round. There are three rounds, with the 1st round ending on the 6th played card, the 2nd round ending on the 12th played card, and the final round ending after the 18th card played of the game. Players will then add any Hazy Memory cards to their tableau, and points will be added based on the number of completed shapes within their tableau, the number of unique purple shapes in their tableau, and any bonus points earned. Bonus points are earned from any majorities gained from having the most of specific shapes of the same colors completed, as well as being first in the Recall Token line. The red oval bonus and penalty are applied, and the player with the most points wins. In case of a tie, the player with the fewest red ovals wins, with any ties after that having shared winners.

There is a special 2-player variant in which the players will control a dummy third player: Grandma. Shuffle Grandma’s number deck, and reveal the top card during the reveal phase. Play happens just as it would in a normal 3-5 player game, but Grandma will not score, just disrupt and help keep things moving.


There is nothing overly complex about That Old Wallpaper, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a fun little puzzle involved. Making sure you are staying on top of the bonuses awarded at game’s end is a big part of succeeding when planning out one’s tableau with just 18 turns to do it in. 

But it’s not quite that simple with bidding involved. The Wallpaper card you really want may not be easy to get, depending on where it’s located in the Wallpaper row and the numbered cards in your hand. It’s not always about having the highest or lowest total, so some luck has to be on your side no matter how much you strategize.

This luck aspect may turn off some players, but the inclusion of the Hazy Memory cards helps offset some of this. There is also a benefit to losing a tie and gaining a Hazy memory card at the end to secure a bonus on those shape pairs of the same color. This tip of the hat to another AEG game, Cascadia, is a nice touch to really add some flavor to the game. 

Another nice touch is the graphic design. Yes, the game deals with the idea of old, out-of-date wallpaper, but the designs in this format really pop off the cards. Combined with the silvery and gold color of the wild patterns and the Hazy Memory cards, That Old Wallpaper has a lot of kitsch beauty as part of its charm. 

Pros: Simple and fun combination of bidding and puzzle mechanics, elegant and eye-catching graphic design, good mitigation of some of the game’s luck elements

Cons: Players who dislike any luck in games may be turned off