How to Play
The twelve track cards and the finish line card are removed from the rest of the cards. They are placed on the playing surface as follows to create the gameboard: finish, red, blue, orange, and green, red, blue, orange, green, red, blue, orange, and green. Each player selects a playing token and places it before the first card (not on it). The first player is determined by who draws the highest card from the deck (Suit Yourself and Sidetracked Cards require the player to draw a new card). The deck of cards is then shuffled and dealt out. The cards are dealt out evenly so everyone has the same number of cards. Any extra cards are removed from the current round of play.
In each hand every player will play one card hoping to win the hand. The first player leads the hand by playing one of their cards. The rest of the players (in turn) play a card of the same color as the first card played. Players must always play a card of the same color as the first card except in two cases. A player can play a suit yourself or a sidetracked card at any time even if they could play a card matching the color of the first card played. Also if a player doesn’t have a card of the color played, they may then play any colored card they want.
Once all of the players have played their cards, the winner of the hand is determined. The value of the cards is as follows (strongest to weakest):
- Suit yourself beats every other card. If two players play the card, the first player to play the card will automatically win the round. If the suit yourself card is the first card played, all other players need to play a card from the trump color if they can.
- The highest number card in the trump color comes next. The trump color is the color of the card that the player in first is on. In the first hand the trump color is determined by random draw from the stack of cards. A player may only play a trump card if they don’t have any cards of the color of the first card.
- The highest valued card of the color of the first card. Whoever plays the highest number card of the current color will win the hand if no one plays a suit yourself or trump card.
- The sidetracked card will almost never win a hand. If a sidetracked card is the first card played, the other players must play a card of the trump color if they can. The only way a sidetracked card will win a hand is if it is the first card played and no one plays a card of the trump color. Players do not want to win a hand where a sidetracked card was played.
Once someone wins a hand (without a Sidetracked card being played) they get to move their playing piece forward one space on the gameboard. Two pieces may not occupy the same space though so if a player would move onto a space occupied by another player they would get to skip that space and move onto the next open space. The player who won the last hand also gets to start the next hand.
If a hand is won but a sidetracked card was played, the winning player takes their pawn off the gameboard and places it to the side of the space they were on. In order to get back onto the gameboard, the player needs to win another hand in which a sidetracked card is not played. If a different player is on the space that a Sidetracked player would re-enter on, when they re-enter they push that player forward to the next empty space.
The game continues until someone reaches the finish line and wins the game. If all of the cards have been played, they are shuffled again and dealt out to the players.
If less then four players are playing some additional rules are used. In two and three player games the numbers 11-14 of each color are removed from the game. In a two player game each player gets 16 cards to start with. Each player also gets two pawns to play with and both must reach the finish line for a player to win.
Trick taking games have been around for a very long time. I have never been much of a fan of the genre and rarely play games from the genre. I have never really found the mechanics in these games to be that entertaining. I am a sucker for cheap board/card games though so when I found Won Over at a thrift store for $0.50 I decided to give it a shot. While Won Over is not a terrible game, it is not going to convert me into a fan of the genre.
Won Over is kind of a mix between a trick taking game and a traditional roll and move game. The movement around the gameboard plays like a roll and move game but instead of rolling dice to move, you take tricks. Since I don’t play a lot of trick taking games I can’t really say how original this concept is.
Those who are familiar with trick taking games will essentially already know how to play the game. People not familiar with the trick taking genre should pick up the game pretty quickly. Essentially once you understand the hierarchy of the different cards, you should pretty much understand how to play the game. It may take some time though to develop a good strategy of how you should play your cards.
I would say that Won Over is a light to medium strategic game. The game relies heavily on the luck of the draw. If you don’t get good cards you won’t win. The game also has a decent amount of strategy mostly of the bluffing nature. Reading the other players and determining what they are going to play is important for your success. Since everyone should have some good cards, you need to play your best cards when you can win the hand. You also need to protect yourself from losing a hand due to one of the other players playing a card of the trump color.
The suit yourself and sidetracked cards need to played strategically as well.
Suit yourself cards are very valuable but they need to be used at the right time. I would never play a Suit Yourself card as the first card in a hand unless you know all four sidetracked cards have already been played or you hold them. Otherwise there is a very good chance someone will play a sidetrack card and make you win a hand that you would rather not win. If you play last though, a suit yourself card will guarantee you a spot on the gameboard.
The sidetracked cards are used as a defensive measure. If a player is far ahead and is going to win a hand, you are always going to want to throw in a sidetrack card. The sidetracked card is quite valuable since it ends up wasting several turns of the player who it is played against. Players generally win a similar amount of hands so making another player waste two of the hands they would have otherwise won will allow other players to catch up pretty quickly.
I believe turn order is quite important especially early in a round. Early in a round you need to be very cautious about trying to win a hand. If you play a strong card, another player could easily play a sidetracked card in order to slow you down. At least for me this made me very conservative at the beginning of every round. If you are playing first or second in a hand you may consider sabotaging your chances at the hand by playing a low card just to avoid being sidetracked. Playing last you don’t have to risk being sidetracked since you play the last card. You also know what everyone else has played so you can make your choice of which card to play knowing whether you are going to win the hand or not.
The gameboard portion of the game is interesting. The board itself is pretty stupid since it is just a bunch of cards. I do like that the gameboard is more than just a scoreboard though. The sidetracks and the ability to jump other players actually provide some strategy to the game. The sidetracks can be used to stall players who get out to an early lead. The jumping mechanic at times seems a little unfair since a player could end up jumping in front of several players who have won more hands then them. It adds strategy to the game though since you could play the game in a way to position yourself so you can take advantage jumping over other players.
Finally the rules could have used some tweaking. The game even presents a situation where a player could be essentially eliminated from the game despite being one space away from the finish line. This scenario actually almost happened in the game I played. One player was sidetracked on the last space before the finish line. I was one space back. If I would have won one more hand the sidetracked player would have pretty much no chance at winning the game. This would be the case since if the sidetracked player won the hand they would push my piece to the finish line letting me win the game. The only way the sidetracked player would have gotten out of this situation would have been to sidetrack me and then to win a hand before I was able to.
Won Over is a very average card game. It is probably not something I would play again but I did have some fun with the game. The game is easy to play and has some strategy to it. It relies too heavily on luck though.
If you hate trick taking games, Won Over won’t change your mind. If you like trick taking games though, you may enjoy the game quite a bit if you find the gameboard mechanics interesting.