All The Colours
ALLEGRA is based on the idea of "golf" where you are trying to have the lowest score by the end of the round. Here you achieve that by either having discarded your cards or having the lowest total on display in your tableau by the time someone around the table loses all their cards or has flipped them all face up. The colourful cards range from -1 to 11, and each one a more beautiful, bold shade than the last!
Here though, the twist is that the left most column in your tableau also belongs to your neighbour who is simultaneously trying to reduce their score and increase yours!
Knocking on wood!
Played over 3 rounds, each round you pick a card and choose whether to keep it or discard it. If you pick from the discard pile and decide to keep it, you swap it for one of the cards (face up or down) in your tableau which includes the column you share with your neighbour and then discard the card removed.
If you don't want it, you add it straight to the discard pile and flip over one of your face down cards. If you pick face down from the deck, other players can "knock" on the table if they'd like the card. Then you can choose if you want to do a swap! As soon as you get 3 identical cards in a row/column, those cards are discarded thereby reducing the total value of your tableau. As mentioned above, when any player loses all their cards or has all cards in their tableau flipped face up, the round ends and each player adds up the value of the cards remaining in their tableau. After 3 rounds, the player with the lowest total wins!
Allegra is a fun colourful card game with a sneaky spatial twist! I admit that it took me a few rounds to get the idea that I have to think about 15 cards and not just the 12 in front of me. The racing element also has a sting in its tail. Whilst you may want to end the round, you need to be sure that you are going to score the lowest overall because, other players get one more turn. And if you don’t finish bottom of the score stack then your end total will be doubled. And don’t forget that includes any cards in the shared column!
As such, there’s a fun tension between wanting to flip cards over to know what their values are (and trying to make sets for discarding), and not wanting to end the round too early if you have random high value cards peppering your colourful tableau! There’s also the push/pull between wanting to discard your cards but leave some high value beasties in the shared column for your fellow foes! Keeping an eye on what everyone is doing is key. And whilst you have the power to disrupt, it might come back to bite you!
Zeros are interesting because in a way you want to keep them. They’ll stop you making sets but if your tableau is full of really low numbers then you can focus less on losing your cards and race to flip, ending the round knowing your big fat zeros will count for, well, zero! Fore!
I love the colours used on the cards in Allegra – each shade is bold and vibrant and the pattern is really nice too. We played this game at 2p and 3p and the 2p works, but there’s no knock mechanism, and we really liked that in the 3P game. It adds another fun dilemma in that you must decide whether giving up a card they want for something that you want is worth the trade. Especially if they still have some face down cards. After all, it could be the key to a discard frenzy for them!