CV is a game of rolling dice and building a life by designer Filip Milunski, with art by Piotr Socha.
The game, which can be found online for less than $25, was published by Granna Games in Poland in 2013 and recently brought to the US by Passport Game Studios.
It works for two to four players, ages 13 and up, and plays in about an hour.
How it works:
Each player gets a life goal card, which that player will keep secret. It tells how many extra points the player will get for certain card combinations at the end of the game. Life goal cards are also placed on the board, one less than the number of players.
Each player gets a hand of cards — the number of which varies depending on the number o players — from the childhood stage of life. They keep one and pass the rest pass until everyone has three cards. Most of those cards will help them purchase cards later in the game, except the bicycle card, which determines the starting and gives that person a point.
The rest of the cards are divided into three stages of life — early adulthood, middle age, and old age.
Five cards from the current stage are placed out on the board.
The first player rolls four dice. Each die has six symbols representing health, knowledge, relationship, money, good luck, and bad luck.
All dice except those with a bad luck symbol can be rolled up to two more times. Three bad luck symbols will force a player to lose a card.
The cards on the board also have those symbols, which the player must roll or combine with a symbol token (which can be gained from some cards) or an event card, which can be used once.
Six different kinds of cards, plus event cards, are available, and players stack them up as they acquire them.
The board is refilled, and play moves on. After each player has taken a turn, the leftmost card on the board is removed, and a new one is placed to the right.
After each stage of life is finished, any player who is significantly behind gets a bit of help, and then play continues until there fewer cards in the last deck than the number of players.
Then it’s time to tally the score. Health, knowledge, and relationship cards get points based on the number of that type a player has. Scoring has a multiplying effect on those cards, with one card giving one point, and 10 cards giving a whopping 55.
Possession cards each have a point total on the card. Those are added, as well. The player who best achieved the public life goals get the corresponding points for those, and the players get points for their secret life goals.
The player with the most points wins.
Why you might buy CV:
CV is like a more complicated Yahtzee. Lucky dice rolls can give you amazing cards, and bad ones can break you.
But what makes CV interesting is that the cards you get along the way give you benefits, either extra of a certain kind of symbol, more dice to roll, or wild symbols and the ability to trade or get cards for less than the “price” listed on the card.
There aren’t a lot of choices in the game, but the ones you make matter a lot.
There’s a lovely snowball effect where the more you collect, the more you get to collect. But no one knows exactly what you need for your own life goal.
And the art is quirky and charming. The cards are funny, and you can play several times and still notice new details on the cards.
The rules are clear, and there is a page of notes explaining any cards that might be confusing. The cards are numbered, so that information is easy to find.
The length seems exactly right for the sort of game CV is, and it plays equally well with all player counts.
Why you might not buy CV:
If you like pure strategy, CV will make you crazy. It’s all about the dice and what cards are available on your turn.
That quirky, funny art is also a bit off-color at times. I’m guessing that’s the only reason for the ages 13 and up suggestion on the game, which is too bad, because it would be a great family game otherwise.
There’s no interaction between players. The most you can do is get a card you think an opponent might want, and that will only happen if the dice are with you.
If you’re used to playing hobby games, CV will be straightforward. If you’re playing with people who haven’t played hobby games, they might be a bit confused. It plays just enough like Yahtzee for a person to think they know what they’re doing, but the number of symbols and the engine-building will quickly become unfamiliar.
I really like CV when I’m in the mood to throw dice and let luck determine the outcome. It’s fun, and it has a bit of gambling feel — but the only thing you’ll lose is points or cards. I love the artwork, and it sets the tone for a game that doesn’t take itself too seriously.
When I’m in the mood for heavy strategy, CV won’t do. But it doesn’t intend to.
Full disclosure: I received a review copy of CV from Passport Game Studios. That doesn’t affect my ability to give an objective review. These are my honest opinions.