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Over and Out Card Game Review

How to Play | My Thoughts | Final Verdict | Comments

How to Play

The object of the game is to be the last player with a chip remaining.

Each player takes four chips of one color. The “TipTop” cards are separated from the other cards and both sets of cards are shuffled. The first hand begins with each player being dealt four cards. The top card from the “TipTop” deck is turned over. The number on the card is the max total for this round (unless a Topsy Turvy card is played).

Each players’ turn starts with playing a card and ends with drawing a card. When a player plays a number card, the number on the card is added to the current running total for the round. For example if the running total was ten and a five card was played, the total is now fifteen. A player cannot play a card that takes the total over the number on the face up “TipTop” card.

In addition to number cards there are the following special cards:

  • 0: Adds nothing to the current total.
  • -10: Subtracts 10 from the current total. If by playing the card, the total goes below 0, the player who plays the card loses the round.
  • X2: The current total is doubled. For example if the prior total was 10, it would be 20 after the X2 card is played.
  • Spin Out: Works like a reverse card. If play was moving clockwise, play will now move counter-clockwise.
  • Top Out: The current total is set to the max value shown on the TipTop card.
  • Topsy Turvy: The current TipTop card is replaced with the top card of the TipTop deck. If the new TipTop card is lower than the current total, the player who played the Topsy Turvy card will automatically lose the round.
Over and Out Special Cards
Pictured from left to right is the -10, X2, Spin Out, Topsy Turvy, and Top Out cards.

If the current player cannot play a card to keep the total at or below the “TipTop” number, they lose the round and they get rid of one of their chips. Everyone discards the cards in their hand. A new round is started with each player receiving as many cards as chips in their possession. For example if one player has three chips they will receive three cards while a player with four chips will get four cards.

Over and Out Gameplay
In this situation the total is 22 (4+3+3*2+2) which is the current max limit. If the next player can’t play a zero or special card, they will lose one of their chips.

When you lose all of your chips, you are out of the game. The other players continue playing until there is only one player has chips. That player wins the game.

My Thoughts

Over and Out is a card game created by Jax LTD in 2002. Over and Out is a pretty typical card game. Players play cards which are added to the current total. The basic gameplay behind Over and Out is okay.

Over and Out is not a very strategic game. In most cases it is pretty obvious which card you should play. Early in a round you should play the highest numbered card you have since you want to get these cards out of your hand. As the total gets close to the max limit you will need to start using your low numbers and special cards.

Due to the lack of strategy, luck is very important in Over and Out. You need to get a lot of low and special cards in order to win the game. If you get none or few, you will constantly lose hands when the limit is reached and there is nothing you can do to prevent it. Bad luck in the game also tends to lead to even more bad luck in future rounds.

While the game doesn’t have a lot of strategy and relies too much on luck, it could work as a filler game. The game is easy to learn and play. It takes a couple minutes at max to teach to a new player. I think it could work as a learning experience for children since it should help with addition skills. Adults could also enjoy the game if they just want to play a game that you don’t have to put too much thought into.

The length of the game can vary a lot. It is usually dependent on the number of players and their luck in the game. For example I lost one round in about five seconds. I was down to my last chip so I only got to draw one card. I was starting the round and I just so happened to draw a -10 card which I had to play. Since that took the total under 0, I lost the round as soon as it began. In other rounds players can get lucky and keep drawing special cards which leads to a lot of back and forth. As the game progresses though each round goes quicker since the players will have less cards to choose from.

Over and Out could have been a solid game except for one stupid mechanic.

A lot of board games have catch up mechanics to help players stay in the game and catch up if they fall behind early. Some people hate these mechanics and some people like them. I personally don’t mind catch up mechanics as long as they aren’t too powerful. Unfortunately Over and Out has the opposite of a catchup mechanic that I like to call the punishment mechanic. If you struggle early in the game, the game piles on by making the game even harder on you. Every time you lose a hand you lose a chip. This means you will get less cards in the next round. With less cards you have less flexibility and you have to rely more on luck.

This punishment tends to continue piling on. You lose one round which puts you at a disadvantage. That disadvantage leads you to losing another round which adds another punishment and so on. If you ever fall two cards behind another player you may as well quit since the only way you can ever catch up is if you have amazing luck with drawing cards. This mechanic pretty much dooms any player that had bad luck early in the game. Players can be eliminated quickly from the game and then have to sit around waiting for the other players to finish.

The mechanic with the chips just doesn’t work and makes the game worse in my opinion. I think the game may have been better off reversing the chip mechanic. Maybe it should have been if you win the hand you get to get rid of one of your chips. Whenever someone gets rid of all of their chips they would win the game. By getting rid of chips during hands you win, you would get less cards in future rounds but you would also be closer to winning. This would introduce a catch-up mechanic which might make the game a little more engaging since players who fall behind would have a chance to catch up.

While playing Over and Out I kept thinking about Boom-o and 5 Alive. The main concept behind all three of the games are exactly the same. Players play cards which are added together to form the current total. Players need to play cards that won’t bring the total over the limit or they lose the hand. The three main differences between all three games is the number of “lives” you get, there are some slight differences in the gameplay, and each game has some different special cards.

In Boom-o you get three lives, 5 Alive has five lives, and Over and Out has four lives. The number of lives has little effect on the game except for extending the length. Over and Out also has the mechanic of getting less cards if you have less lives than another player. You should already know that I dislike this rule.

The main difference with regards to gameplay is that in Over and Out you keep drawing cards and the round only ends if a player cannot play a card that won’t take the total over the max limit. In Boom-o and 5 Alive you can also make your opponents draw cards if you get rid of all of the cards in your hand or if you play a bomb card and they can’t defend against it. Boom-o and 5 Alive give you more options on how to play the game which is another reason why both games are better than Over and Out.

The final difference is the variety of special cards. The special cards in each game act pretty much the same but Boom-o and 5 Alive have more variety. With more variety you have more options which is generally a good thing since it reduces the reliance on luck.

The components for Over and Out are pretty typical for a card game but I found the card artwork to be pretty bland. For a game like Over and Out the artwork needs to be simple enough that the cards can be easily read. The cards in Over and Out are just so boring though. The cards pretty much just state the number/special action and that is it.

Final Verdict

Over and Out could have been a solid card game except for the “chip” rules. The game is simple to play and you can have some fun playing it if you want a game that you don’t have to put too much thought into. Since Over and Out is so similar to Boom-o and 5 Alive, there is really no reason to own more than one of the games. Since Boom-o and 5 Alive are superior games, I would recommend both before Over and Out.  The only reason I would consider Over and Out is that it is so cheap on Amazon right now.

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