Manufacturer Fantasy Flight Games
Year 2003
Designer Reiner Knizia
Loco! box

Loco!


The fourth release of Reiner's Flinke Pinke. A tremendous light filler. Play a card, take a chip!

Background

In 1994, Reiner Knizia and Amigo put out Flinke Pinke, which was reissued in 1996 by Milton Bradley as Quandry, which was re-issued in 2002 by Heidelberger Spielverlag as Thor, and now has been released yet again by Fantasy Flight as Loco! Must be a pretty impressive game to have gone through all of these releases, no? Well, no. It's about as simple a game as you could ever dream of.

Jump to my opinions

The Gameplay

Loco! consists of a deck of cards in five suits, numbered 0-5, (the zero cards reading "Loco!"), and six chips in colors which match the card suits. Two or three cards are discarded, (depending on the number of players), and the rest of the cards are dealt out to the players. On a player's turn, they play one of the cards in their hand to the table, (covering up any other cards in that suit), and take any chip that is available. That's it.loco in progress

So how can this be in the least bit interesting?

The Scoring

It's a Knizia game, so the scoring is where it gets interesting. When the sixth card in a suit is played to the table, and that player takes a chip, the hand ends. Each chip is worth whatever the last played card of the suit's value is.

Why this game is so great

Like many other Knizia games, there is far more going on than meets the eye. What seems ludicrously simple becomes deep. You must keep an eye on what chips the other players are taking, all the while noting what cards you have in hand. You don't want to play that 5 you've got early, because it will surely be covered up, but how long can you wait to do so? Should you play your red Loco right away and take red chips, knowing that it will surely get covered up? Do you dare put the fifth card in a suit down, giving one of the other players the ability to end the round? In other words, there's a good bit of strategy going on inside this simple engine. The fact that several cards are removed prior to the deal means you can never be sure that any color will be closeable, in spite of the fact that you can clearly tell that the yellow 4 and the yellow 5 haven't been played yet. There is also the fact that in most hands, you will HAVE TO play most of the cards in your hand, so you must try and make sure that you don't get too far behind in chips in the suits you are holding high cards for, or you will end up giving lots of points to your opponents.

The hands go quickly, and the game is really cheap. The quality of the cards in Loco! is rather poor. Quandry, (the Milton Bradley version), had great big thick tiles and is much sought after. The Thor release added another suit to allow for a fifth player, and added a set of "action cards", which modify values, allow stealing from opponents, etc., and from what I've heard has very nice components.

Why others don't agree

Well pretty much everyone does agree that this is a very good filler game. It's certainly not very deep, and some people feel there's too little control. I say "Pshaw!" to them.

Recap

Strategy: 5
Complexity: 2
Fun: 6
Overall: 8 (for what it is)

Buy/Read about Loco! now at Funagain

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