- Ages 5 and up
- For 2 to 4 players
- 10 minutes to complete
- Counting & Math
- Child – Easy
- Adult – Easy
Theme & Narrative:
- None … none whatsoever
- Father Geek approved!
- Child Geek approved!
I purchased this game on impulse for a cool $10 (yes, we pay a bit more for games in Australia) on a recent visit to the local gaming store (to acquire card sleeves). At that price point, even a bad game does not seem like money down the drain.
It will be clear from my review of Trouble – a very similar game to Sorry! – that I don’t care much for that game. Curiously, indeed regrettably, my children quickly cottoned on to my dislike of that game, so now they are reluctant to play it with me, even if I suggest it! Oh well, there are plenty of other games we can play instead, but I feel a little guilty that I have robbed my children of a little of their innocence, when I ought to have focused on enjoying the shared experience of a “bad game” the same way I would enjoy watching a “bad movie” with them.
In Sorry! Revenge, players in turn play one numbered card (values ranging from 0 to 10) onto a central pile, while keeping track of the cumulative total. Players start with a hand of 5 cards and draw back to 5 after each card play. If a player brings the pile’s total to 21, he flips one of his 4 pawn cards from “start” to “home”, then the count is reset to zero (a fresh pile is started). If a player makes the total exceed 21, then all the other players flip one of their pawns to home, and the count is reset to zero. This continues until one player brings all his 4 pawns home.
In addition to numbered cards, there are cards with special actions as follows:
- play 2 numbered cards on your turn, not just one
- draw 2 cards (to a maximum hand size of 7)
- reverse the direction of play
- “slide” the total to a specified number (i.e., disregard all cards played earlier and set the total to the value on the card)
Finally, there are “take that” cards – in other words, cards that hose one of your opponents – without which this would not qualify as a member of the Sorry! franchise. Naturally, these are called “Sorry!” cards:
- a gray Sorry! card flips an opponent’s pawn back from home to start
- a red Sorry! card allows a player to flip their own pawn to home when someone else reaches 21
- a blue Don’t Be Sorry! card nullifies the play of a gray or red Sorry! card
Whenever a Sorry! card is played, the current pile is set aside and a fresh one started “from zero”.
After reading the rules (but before playing the game), I predicted that both of my children (4 and 5 years old) would enjoy this. I expected that they would recognize and appreciate the “theme” shared with Trouble and enjoy the challenge of the arithmetic component of the game.
I suspected that I would enjoy this game more than Trouble, and probably about as much as Uno (which is to say, muted appreciation rather than unbridled enthusiasm). I was concerned that the gray Sorry! card could prolong the game unreasonably, whereas the red Sorry! card is not so bad because it still moves the game closer to the end. The arithmetic aspect of the game is a minor educational bonus.
Sorry! Revenge was a raging success all around. It plays quickly (my fear about the gray Sorry! cards was overstated; there are only 2 in the deck and none of our games so far have required a reshuffle), such that I am almost disappointed when the game ends. My 5 year old son enjoys the opportunity to show off his arithmetic skills, while my 4 year old daughter likes the game even though she struggles with the math (but I help out by telling her how many she needs to make 21). Although I won the first two games comfortably, I was beaten handily on the next four occasions.
Most commendably, the game does not overstay its welcome. To the contrary, just one game is not enough. It may well supplant Uno as our “(almost) mindless filler card game” of choice. Its simplicity and replayability earn this game a prominent place in our gaming library.