Shenanigans is a new card game developed and produced by Kazam games here in sunny Arizona. I had the pleasure of receiving a playtest copy of the game for review.
For anyone who’s ever played the card game Golf, Shenanigans will be quite familiar. David Medansky at Kazam games took the basic elements of Golf and then kicked it up a notch, Bam! This Irish themed game is roughly equivalent to two decks of regular playing cards but has only one suit, shamrocks. Shenanigans is made for 2-6 player ages 8 and up.
The object is to have the lowest score at the end of the game. To accomplish this you have to match like cards, thereby canceling them out. Sound complicated? It isn’t, so lets see if there’s a pot of gold at the end of this rainbow!
The Set Up:
Shuffle all the cards (no easy task) and deal 9 cards face down to each player. Don’t look at your cards! Place the remaining cards in the center of the table to form a draw pile. Turn the top card face up to start the discard pile.
Next, players arrange their cards face down in 3 rows of 3 each. Like so:
Now each player turns 2 cards face up. They can be any two cards you wish.
Now the fun begins! The player to the dealer’s left begins play. They may either draw a card from the deck or from the discard pile. If you choose a card from the discard pile it must be played. If you choose a card from the deck you may choose to use it or discard it. The object is to eventually have all of your face down cards face up. You replace your face down cards with the cards chosen from the discard or draw pile. You want to match like cards either vertically, horizontally or diagonally. Three cards that match in a row equal zero points. Face cards must be the same type, either matching all Jacks, Queens or Kings. You may also replace cards that are already face up on the table with cards drawn from the discard or draw pile.
There are a few special cards that effect game play. There are Wild Cards and a Mischief Card. Wild Cards will help you to match cards and also lower your score. The Mischief Cards, well they’re good for nothing it says so right on the card.
Play continues until until a player turns up their last face down card. The rest of the players have one last turn to draw cards to improve their hands regardless of how many cards they may still have face down on the table. At this point any remaining cards that are face down on the table are turned face up and scoring begins.
Numbered cards are worth their face value (1=1, 2=2, etc)
Face cards are worth 10
Joker cards are worth -2 and -5
Mischief Card is worth 0
Add up your totals, mark down your score and go again. If the someone has an equal to or lower point total then the person who went out first, the person who went out first adds 10 points to their score for that hand.
This is a great game. The learning curve is very low and it’s quick to play. You can play with as few as 2 people and as many as 6. Depending on the number of people playing, games last anywhere from 15 minutes to about half an hour. The cards are comparable to standard playing cards and have a nice finish on them. With a price point of just 12.95 they’re worth every penny! This has quickly become a family favorite.