Reviewed by Herb Levy

THE GNUMIES (Rio Grande Games; $9.95)


David Parlett, the well known writer about games in general and card games in particular, has devised a charming card game of his own, The Gnumies. In this card game, subtitled “Party Encounters of the Third Kind” (a not so subtle homage to “Close Encounters of the Third Kind”), party loving aliens try to attract only the best people to their party while avoiding the alien equivalent of the socially unacceptable.

The Gnumies comes in a small box containing two decks of good quality cards: 55 Gnumie cards (11 cards in each of five colors – red, yellow, blue, purple and gray) and 53 Party cards (unequally distributed in values of from 1 to 15 plus a few specials. More on those later.) The game is designed for two to five players (playing best with four and five), ages 8 and up, with a playing time of less than an hour.

The Gnumie deck is separated from the Party cards with each player getting his own color-coded set of Gnumie cards. These Gnumie sets are virtually identical. Ten of the cards have values ranging from 10 to 100. The last card in the set is marked by a star. With the Party cards shuffled and the deck placed face down, the top Party card is now turned over and play begins.

Players compete over the now revealed Party card by playing, face down, one of the Gnumie cards in their hand. Simultaneously, all Gnumie cards are revealed. The player playing the highest Gnumie card captures the Party card, placing it by him FACE UP for all to see. (If two players play the same value Gnumie card, then the smaller symbols on the bottom of the Gnumie card – called “Luckynits” – come into play. The card with the most Luckynits wins that Party card.) The winner discards his winning Gnumie card. All other players, however, KEEP their played card and may use it again on a future turn. Play continues with players collecting Party cards by employing their decks until no player has any cards left to play. So far, so good but it’s the special cards AND the scoring that lift The Gnumies a notch above.gnumies

As mentioned, each player has a starred card in his deck. The starred card (called a “Gnalli”) is usually saved for use when a player does NOT want a particular Party card. When played, the starred card gives the player the chance to draw the top FACE DOWN Party card and a choice as to what to do with it. He may pass it off to an opposing player (thereby keeping his starred card) OR he may keep the drawn Party card (discarding his starred card). If more than one player plays his starred card, they “cancel each other”, no Party card is drawn, and the starred cards return to their respective players’ hands.

Two special Party cards, the “Wullawaki” (marked by an arrow) and the “Copicastor (marked by a question mark) modify play. The Wullawaki Party card penalizes the player winning it. When this card is up for bid, the high card wins it (as usual) but the player gets to KEEP his played card as compensation and ALL other players LOSE their played cards. The Copicaster is won by the player with the LOWEST played card. This special acts as a “wild card”, assuming the value of a player’s lowest face value card (which can have a significant impact on scoring).

Scoring is both cute and clever. All along, players have been accumulating Party cards. If a player has ONE card of a single value, that card scores the face value (e.g. one held card valued at “2” is worth 2 points). But as players make matches, the scores sharply rise. Two of a kind nets 20 points, three of a kind 50 points, four of a kind generates 100 points and, if you’re lucky or skillful enough to collect five or more of a single value, you add 150 points to your score. But beware of those Wullawakis. For each one of those that you have at game’s end, you LOSE your LOWEST face value Party card. This can be brutal. For example, if you have three “2”s and 2 Wullawaki cards, you must LOSE two of those “2”s. What could have been 50 points has now been reduced to a paltry 2!

The Gnumies is simple and plays fast enough for a family game. Because everyone plays at the same time, there is constant involvement. (The only exception occurs near the end when only players who have not used up their cards still compete for Party cards. Fortunately, this phase ends quickly and even those players “out” of the round take an interest because of the scoring to come.) The cute artwork should appeal to the younger gamer and the game play is easy enough and quick enough to allow for adults to interest even non-gamers. My only complaint involves the implementation of the theme.

It’s a widely held belief that a theme adds to the sale-ability of a game. For that reason, sometimes a theme is practically shoved down the throat of a game when it really didn’t need to be. This theme – wild, wacky, alien partygoers constructing the best party in the universe – is actually quite fine. But why go to such lengths to make the cards unpronounceable and, worse, use these unpronounceable names in the rules when, in reality, they have no bearing on play? This only serves to make the rules seem confusing.

David Parlett knows his games. He also knows how to design a pleasing one. The Gnumies is proof positive of that. – – – – – Herb Levy


write a chemical reaction for the hydrolysis of albite follow site dissertation logbook template creative writing example click here does viagra affect your health viagra buy online malaysia best writing services reviews essay illusion mit essay prompts scientific research and essays impact factor 2011 see url go to link what is a essay thesis waikato university buy critical essay writing cheap paper purchase good topics for proposal essays buy viagra in england go to link cialis painted post how to write music for drum sets source get link viagra for men in usa see url viagra for sale in dfw Have feedback? We’d love to hear from you.

Winter 2002 GA Report Articles


A DOOR CLOSES, A WINDOW OPENS Well, here we are. It seems like only yesterday, I was flailing away on a typewriter, pounding on the keys like Liberace on a bad day, trying to put thoughts on paper and share my enthusiasm for games. Computers were not even a gleam in my eye when I put together the first issue of GAMERS ALLIANCE REPORT back ...
Read More
[From time to time, we like to revisit great games that are, alas, no longer with us. In the past installments of our Game Classics series, we have featured Bantu, Can't Stop, Daytona 500, Kimbo, Mr. President, Ploy, Rich Uncle, Square Mile, Stock Market Game (by Gabriel), Summit, Troque/Troke and Wildcatter. This time around, we thought it was time to take a Holiday!.] Reviewed by ...
Read More
Reviewed by Herb Levy GARGON (Rio Grande Games; $9.95) Magic-themed card games are nothing new. But in Gargon, color-coded cards are used in a different way as players become wizards on a quest to capture mystical creatures and their valuable amulets. Gargon is a card game by Rüdiger Dorn comprised of 102 "creature cards", 18 bonus cards and a rules sheet. For 3-5 players, ages ...
Read More
Reviewed by Marty Goldberger MANITOU (Goldsieber; about $10) To buffalo hunt or not to buffalo hunt, THAT is the question. Whether 'tis nobler to endure the spears and arrows of competing hunters or to attempt to capture opposing tribesmen is a question the player has to answer before placing each card on the hunting grounds. You don't have to be a fan of Shakespeare or ...
Read More
POINT OF VIEW by Al Newman FROM CAPE TO CAIRO (Adlung Spiele; less than $10) "Vom Kap Bis Kairo" translates as "From Cape to Cairo" and is a card game published by Germany's Adlung Spiele about traveling by train through various terrains in Africa for 2 to 4 players, Ages 10 and up. The game's author is Güntar Burkhardt, a German who has designed a ...
Read More
Reviewed by Herb Levy RISK 2210 A.D. (Avalon Hill/Hasbro; $44.95) One of the staples in the line of Parker Brothers games is Risk, the classic game of world conquest that first appeared in 1959. Now, following a path blazed by Monopoly (another Parker Brothers classic) which has inspired a load of games based upon itself, Risk serves as the inspiration for a new game of ...
Read More
Reviewed by Herb Levy THE GNUMIES (Rio Grande Games; $9.95) David Parlett, the well known writer about games in general and card games in particular, has devised a charming card game of his own, The Gnumies. In this card game, subtitled "Party Encounters of the Third Kind" (a not so subtle homage to "Close Encounters of the Third Kind"), party loving aliens try to attract ...
Read More
Reviewed by Herb Levy VALLEY OF THE MAMMOTHS (Eurogames-Descartes; $29.95) It seems that Eurogames has fallen for prehistoric times. Last year, they released Evo (featured in the Summer 2001 GA REPORT) which centered on dinosaurs. This time, another prehistoric animal - the Mammoth - takes center stage in their new release: Valley of the Mammoths. Valley of the Mammoths is a new edition of the ...
Read More

If you enjoy games, then Gamers Alliance is right for you!