How to Play:
Every game of Pacardy begins with each player getting $1.25 in change. All of the cards are dealt out to the players with each player getting the same number of cards (if there are extra cards they are not used this round).
Each round begins with the starting player rolling the two dice. The two dice are totaled and one of following happens based on that total.
- If the player has a card that matches the total of the two dice, they can play that card to the discard pile (if the player has multiple copies of the card they can only discard one of the cards with this roll). For example if the player rolled a 2 and a 4 and they have a six card they can play it to the discard pile. The player then gets to re-roll the dice and use the new total.
- If the player does not have a card that matches the number rolled, every other player that has that number can discard one card with that number on it. The current player’s turn ends and the player to the left begins their turn. If no one has a card that matches the number rolled, play still passes to the player to the left.
- If the player rolls a seven, all players need to pay money into the central pot. The amount players pay into the pot increases with each seven that is rolled. With the first seven rolled everyone pays one cent. Each subsequent seven increases the payment by one cent until the payment reaches seven cents which it stays at until the end of the round. If you have a Pacardy card in your hand you can play the card and avoid paying the penalty.
When one player has discarded all of their cards, they are the winner of that hand and they get to take the pot of money in the center of the table. A new round begins and play continues like the previous round (the rolling seven penalty is reset to 1 cent). Whenever one player runs out of money, the current round is played to completion. After the round is completed, everyone counts up the money they have in front of them. Whoever has the most money is declared the winner.
One thing you will learn really quickly while playing Pacardy is that the game has essentially no strategy whatsoever. If you don’t enjoy games that have no strategy, you will hate Pacardy. There is really only one instance where a tiny bit of strategy kind of comes into play. Your decision of when to play a Pacardy card is essentially the only decision you have to make in the entire game. You can either chose to play the Pacarady cards right away getting rid of them so you are closer to victory, or you can hold them until the penalty for rolling a seven increases. Otherwise there are no other decisions to make during the game.
With essentially no strategy the game relies heavily on luck. If you don’t roll well or get a bad combination of cards, you will not win the hand. If you get very high or low cards, they are harder to roll statistically so you are more likely to lose. In addition if you don’t get any or very few Pacardy cards (Pacardy cards are given out at random and all players will not receive the same amount), you will have to pay every penalty while other players can avoid paying the penalty.
The length of the game can vary greatly mostly based on luck. I can see a game being very quick or a game dragging on for what seems like eternity. Besides the lack of strategy the game has a problem of essentially eliminate players without actually eliminating them. If you don’t win one of the first two hands you are pretty much already eliminated from the game since you will almost be out of money and you really don’t have the time to dig yourself out of a hole. If one player wins both of the first two hands, they will almost certainly win the game.
Another issue I had with the game is that the game has a built in punishment for playing well and quickly getting rid of all of your cards. The faster you get rid of your cards, the smaller the pot will be. In most games you are rewarded when you do well and finish quickly. For some reason in Pacardy you are punished for finishing quickly. If you finish within two or three turns, you will very likely win few coins making winning the hand almost pointless. In the rules variation section there is actually a rule from the game I played as a kid that rectifies this problem.
So far I have done quite a bit of complaining about the game, and it is justified. Even with so many complaints about the game though, I still had fun playing Pacardy. Pacardy’s biggest strength is that it has a laid back feel to it. Unlike games with strategy where you spend a lot of time thinking about your next move, in Pacardy you just roll the dice and take the appropriate actions. After a long hard day of work, it is sometimes nice to just play a game where little thought is required.
The game components are of a pretty high quality. The game could have easily gone with cheap cardboard chips/coins but the game includes some pretty nice plastic coins. The plastic coins are not really needed since you could use any kind of chips, but they are a nice touch. The cards are also made of a thick enough cardboard stock that they should last for quite a few games.
Here are some differences between Pacardy and the game I played as a child. You may want to use some of these rules variations to improve your next game of Pacardy.
- First, only the player that rolled the seven has to pay into the pot. This rule variation increases the penalty from rolling a seven since only the person who rolled it has to pay the penalty which I think is fair since I don’t think players who didn’t roll the seven should be punished like they are in Pacardy.
- Second, if you rolled the number of a card that you have multiples of you are able to discard all of the cards of that number instead of just one. This sped up hands since each player didn’t have to keep rolling the same number in order to get rid of their cards.
- Third, if you rolled a number that you didn’t have you go around the table in a clockwise fashion in order to see if any other players have the number. The next player who has the number is able to discard all of the cards they have of that number. They also are the next player to roll the dice even if they wouldn’t have normally been the next player.
- Finally, when one player successfully gets rid of all of their cards the other players need to pay a penalty equal to the number of cards they had remaining. When we played the game it was one penny for every card left in a player’s hand. This rule variation would eliminate some of the penalty from quickly winning a hand.
Pacardy is far from a perfect game. There is no strategy and there are some issues with the rules. The game can still be fun though if it is not taken seriously. If you hate luck games, you will not like Pacardy. If you want a game though that requires little to no thought and is a game you can relax while playing, Pacardy might be the game for you. I would recommend looking at the rules variation section though and implement some of those rules instead of the official rules of Pacardy.
I personally will be selling my copy of Pacardy though since if I ever want to play the game again I will just pick up a deck of cards, some dice, and my jar of pennies and play the game I enjoyed as a child.