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Origami

Will you craft a whale? Or use it to make yourself a rabbit? Which creature’s power will serve you best right now while also scoring big during the end game?

With each card representing a cute origami animal, Origami by dv Giochi is a light set collection card game in which each card can either be played into your score piles where its special ability is activated, or spent to play other cards.

Gameplay

There are five different categories of origami cards: farm, sky, sea, savannah, and lawn. There are eighteen cards in each category and at the start of the game you pick a number of categories to play with, equal to the number of players (the rest of the cards are returned to the box). You shuffle the cards you chose and then deal cards face up to each player. Each card has a number of folds listed on it from one to four. Each player is dealt cards until their hand has a combined fold value of at least ten. The rest of the deck is then set in the center of the table and four cards drawn to form the display. Each player then takes their dealt cards into their hand and the game begins.

On your turn you must choose one of three actions. You may draw cards from the display with a total combined value of four folds or less (cards are drawn from the deck to replace any missing cards in the display at the end of your turn). At the end of your turn, you must also discard down if your hand count exceeds eight cards.

Alternatively, you may choose to play a card. When you play a card you must pay the cost. Each card has its cost listed on it (from two to nine): this is the combined fold value of cards you must discard in order to play that card. For example if a card’s cost is four, you may discard a card with a fold value of four, or you might choose to discard a card with a fold value of two along with two cards with fold values of one. You must pay the exact amount, you cannot overpay.

When you play an origami card, you place it in front of you in one of your two stacks. Neither stack can ever have more than one card than the other. Each new card in a stack is placed on top of the previous cards in the stack, but situated so that you can still see the name and point value of the earlier cards.

The final possible action on your turn is to use a card ability. Each card has a special effect that is active when it is played into your collection. Some of these trigger during the scoring phase. Some trigger one time when you first play it, however some must be triggered with an action and you may only do this when the card is the top card of one of your two stacks.

Play continues until you have gone through the draw deck two times. Players then count up all the points from the cards in their two collections, as well as any scoring bonuses from card abilities, and the player with the most points wins.

Origami Components

Review

Origami may be a fairly light game, but it’s got a lot of versatility baked in. The ability to choose different categories of cards to play with each game, and different combinations of them, means that each card ability can play off each other in different ways, leading to different strategies.

There is also a wide range of ability types, from some that encourage you to run through more cards or take-that elements, to others that focus more on set collection for final scores. The fact that each card’s worth has to be considered based on whether you wish to use it to play other cards or adding it to your collection for points and its ability, also adds to the depth of the game.

dV Giochi has also published Origami Legends, which acts as a stand-alone game but can also be integrated with Origami to add even more variety to the different categories you choose from at the start of each game.

As with all games with lots of abilities, there is going to be a bit of a learning curve initially as you read each card. However, none of the powers are complicated and the information is there on the cards themselves, rather than having to reference a rulebook.

Aesthetically the game is simple but quite attractive, with cute origami-style images of animals on each card and there is a small piece of paper and instructions for making your own origami start player token. The box is also small and portable, which is perfect for a light-weight card game.

Origami is fun, with a lot more replay value than similar, light-weight card games. It is unlikely to wow anyone, but it is pleasant and offers some clever layers in its gameplay.

Pros: Nice aesthetics, good replay value, choice of whether to play cards or to use them to play others

Cons: Gameplay is initially a little slow

Disclosure: we received a complimentary review copy of this game.