The GAME on Fire card game review

The Game card game

Ready to play The Game?

“Hey, how about we play The Game?”

“What game?”

“The Game?”

“Which game?”

“The Game!!”

“What are you talking about?”

If that sounds a lot like the Abbott and Costello gag about “Who’s on first?“, you’re not mistaken.

That’s because the games we’re reviewing today are “The Game” and it’s expansion, “The Game on Fire“.

First of all, let’s get the obvious out of the way — the name of the game itself is ridiculous. Whoever thought naming a game “The Game” could use some marketing lessons.

Naming aside, The Game is actually a pretty fun, light cooperative card game that’s great for families.


How to play The Game

The Game (I’ll use caps to distinguish when I’m referring to the game title) is a cooperative card game that’s very easy to learn and play.

The objective of the game is for everyone to get rid of all their cards. Of course, that’s much easier said than done.

The Game card game

The Game comes with 102 cards.


Set up

The Game card game

These 4 cards show which direction the piles must build.

The Game has 102 cards in the deck. Four of the cards are used to start the 4 different piles that will be played on during the game. They are #1, #1, #100, #100.

These 4 cards are placed in the center of the table to indicate the order in which cards must be played. The piles next to the #1 cards must go in ascending order and the piles next to the #100 cards must go in descending order.

The remaining 98 numbered cards are shuffled and placed in a face down draw pile. Each player is dealt 6 cards for their hand.

Since it’s a cooperative game, players can determine who wants to being the game (whoever has the numbers closest to the starting numbers of 1 and/or 100).


Playing cards

On a player’s turn, they must play at least 2 cards can from their hand and can play more if they’d like. Once played, they’ll draw back up to 6 cards in their hand. Then play will continue in clockwise order from there.

As mentioned already, when playing a card to a pile next to the #1 card, the card played must be higher than the card showing. When playing a card next to the #100 pile, the card played must be lower than the card showing.

The amount of numbers between the card showing and the one played doesn’t matter — as long as it’s correctly higher or lower. Obviously, the less of a gap between numbers will help the team lay the most cards possible.

The Game card game

Which pile should I play my cards on?

There’s one exception to the higher/lower rule. Whenever the value of the number card being played is exactly 10 higher or lower it can go in the opposite direction.

For example, if one of the ascending card piles currently has a 56 on it, a player may play the 46 card on top of it.

The Game card game

I can play a 99 on the 89 to go in the opposite direction.

Even though The Game is cooperative, players are never allowed to share the exact number on the cards in their hand. Other than that players can drop as many hints and suggestions as they’d like.

Once the draw pile is empty (provided you make it that far), players only need to play one card on their turn. Again, they can play as many as they’d like, but they must play at least one.

If one player is out of cards, the rest of the players continue taking turns.


Game end

The game ends as soon as a player cannot play the minimum number of cards on their turn.

Once the game is over, players count up the number of cards remaining (in their hands as well as the draw pile).

If all 98 cards were played, you beat The Game!

Otherwise, players keep track of their score and try to beat it next time!


Can the whole family enjoy playing The Game?

The Game is a great card game the whole family can enjoy playing together.

We love cooperative board games and haven’t come across many cooperative cards games we like. The Game is different since it’s one we really enjoy.

When I first heard about The Game, I was skeptical. But then I played it at Salt Con 2016 and had a great time.

What makes it engaging is the cooperative nature of the game without directly saying what cards you have.

Although not earth-shattering, deciding which pile to play on can be a tricky choice.

There will be many times during a game when you’ll be forced to make big jumps in numbers because of the cards in your hand. And when that happens, you can count on your fellow players moaning all sorts of things.

Good natured “trash talking” is a cooperative game is a hoot.

Since you’re all working together, it’s not really trash talking. But it can sure sound like it when everyone questions why on earth you left a huge gap in the numbers.

The Game card game

We really enjoy this cooperative card game challenge.

In every game we’ve played, at some point (or more) we’ve had the feeling of being doomed — that there’s no way we’ll be able to get rid of all our cards. Yet, in there’s only been one game where we didn’t get through the draw pile. We’ve beat The Game twice and had 6 or fewer cards left in most of the others.

That is, until we played The Game on Fire!

The one caveat you may want to consider with The Game for your family is the artwork on the cards. While it’s subtle, the backdrop of the cards is an ominous skull. Mostly when playing we’re just looking at the big numbers on the cards and the rest just seems like a red/black background. Yet the skull is still there.

The Game card game

We’re guessing the skulls are supposed to represent the pressure you feel during the game.


The Game on Fire expansion

The Game on Fire only adds 6 cards to The Game. The good news is that you can just buy an edition of the game that has them already included.

Or better stated, the 6 cards replace 6 of the cards in The Game. They’re duplicate digit cards — 22, 33, 44, 55, 66, and 77.

The Game card game

The 6 cards added with The Game on Fire expansion.

Once you’ve switched out those cards, everything plays the same as in the standard version of The Game except one thing.

When someone plays one of these Fire cards it must be covered by the end of the next player’s turn at the latest otherwise you immediately lose.

It doesn’t matter if the jump between numbers is small or large, that Fire card must be played on right away.

Yep, it’s a doozy.

It definitely adds to the pressure of getting rid of all your cards. And it’s a great addition to The Game.

The Game card game

I must play on the Fire 22 card whether or not I have good cards to do so.


How does The Game score on our “Let’s Play Again” game meter?

The Game card gameThe Game and The Game on Fire score high on our “let’s play again” game meter.

Not only is it a game that doesn’t require much set up, it’s also a game that’s both light and engaging. It’s easy to take anywhere and pull out and play at a moments notice.

It’s also a game that we like to play more than once in a setting. No matter our score at the end of the first game, we always vow to do better during the next.

Of course, that is unless we beat the game. Then we stop while we’re ahead.

We’d recommend picking up a copy of The Game on Fire for only $12.79 for your family from Miniature Market.

We’d like to thank Miniature Market for a review copy of The Game on Fire


Comments: 2

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Thanks to this review being posted at an opportune time, I recently ordered a set of The Game On Fire and so far have not been disappointed. I’m really enjoying the nature of the game, the balance of luck and strategy – especially when using the +10/-10 rule, and planning ahead for it.
To be fair, I have only played 2 games so far (it was only delivered a couple of days ago and I’ve been busy) and both of these games were played solo (in which you can hold 8 cards in your hand). I did not beat The Game yet, nor did I use the On Fire expansion cards yet, but in both games I finished with just 3 cards in my hand which felt like something of an accomplishment.
Thanks for the good review, leading me to buy what I know will quickly grow to be and remain a firm favourite.




    Alastair – What great timing. We’re happy to hear you’re having fun playing The Game. We’re sure you’ll beat The Game soon.




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