It’s nice to see that new card games can be made without resembling Cards Against Humanity, and it is even better when you can use these games to help children learn or enhance their skills in Math and Logic while having fun. Card Master is that game and I had the pleasure of playing its prototype.
The creator used Final Fantasy’s Triple Triad Card Game as an inspiration for Card Master since some of the rules were very similar and it helped shape the final format of the game.
It is a very simple but nice game for children and here are my thoughts.
Card Master Details
Name: Card Master
Creator(s): Jeff Hurcomb
Year Published: 2017
Number of Players: 2
Age: 7 and above
Play Time: 5 minutes
Learning Difficulty: Easy
Game Rules: Click here
Best Price: Not yet launched
What’s in the box?
As I played a prototype, I couldn’t verify the components quality, but I could see how the final product would be when put together and what’s the impact of the artwork in the cards.
The game mat is a 3×3 grid that supports 9 cards in total (I’m that good at Math). It’s well spaced for the cards to be played and turned when necessary. Its artwork does not interfere with the gameplay, which is good.
The 81 game cards have beautiful drawings, but it confuses a lot when playing it, as they have to be placed upright on the mat. In most of the matches I played, one of the players placed it upside down. It also has two base colors to identify the players – red and blue – but the back of the cards, numbers, and the artwork don’t differ much in their tonality, making it a bit hard to identify all the elements (correct side and numbers).
The rules of the game are displayed in 6 cards, which I believe is not very easy to follow and would be better if a rule booklet comes along with the game instead.
In my opinion, the starting age for Card Master is the best as possible. At the age of 7, children are starting to develop their logic thinking and the Math skills necessary for the game will help them in other activities.
The rules are very simple and basically consist in placing a card (from a starting hand of 5) anywhere in the mat grid. If there’s another card on one of its sides, you check if your number is higher than the other. If it is, you turn that card and make it your own color. There are also rules to add the numbers from touching side cards (when having 2 or more) or comparing their values. After this, you still have a chain reaction that you can use to turn your opponent’s cards and make it your own.
Here is a video available in the Card Master website with the gameplay:
Doing this made the game last longer and I had to think a bit more as I could affect much more cards in a single turn. It added a whole new level of strategy. It also fixed another issue: when playing a 3×3 grid, the game finishes with one of the players still having one card to play, giving more advantage to the player that plays the first card. In a 4×4 all the cards are played and it feels more balanced.
I believe both options have value and having an advanced mode will make the replay value of the game much higher. In general, I liked playing Card Master and believe this could also be a useful tool to be used inside schools, not just at home.
This is what the prototype I played looked like:
If you are interested, Card Master is currently in a pre-Kickstarter launch, which means that you can already sign up to back the game when it comes to Kickstarter. You will even receive an extra free game when you do your pledge (available for when you select one of the options containing a physical copy of the game).
Leave your comment below with your thoughts and questions and I’ll happily answer then.
The Kickstarter project is live and it does include a 4×4 mat to play the game.
The pledge goal is $4,500.00 and the Kickstarter goes until 26th of August 2016.
The minimum pledge to receive a copy of Card Master is $15, and it will start shipping in November 2016.
Help spread the word and support this fantastic board game.
HI, and thanks for sharing this review about Card Master.
I love to play cards because it’s fun and it’s also good for my concentration.
I’ve been a pre school teacher and know that children would love this game. But as you point out, for the kids that need more challenge it would be nice to play a bit longer than just 5 minutes.
Hi Tove, thank you for your message.
In any case, I still think it’ll be a great tool to help kids learning.
Hey this game looks pretty fun. Although it kinda sucks it only lasts 5 minutes. I feel like I’ll buy it and then get bored of it within an hour. Its a pretty interesting concept though. I can definitely see the value in it especially for kids learning math. Great concept!
Yes, it is a great concept Matt.
I didn’t expect it to last too long though, as it would also not be good. As I pointed out, I think I found the balance when I had a 4×4 grid.