Karma: Be careful what cards you play, you might just get them back.

Recommended Age:8+
Cost:$12.99
Our Recommended Age:5 or 6+
Play Time:Can vary.
Company Site:www.setgame.com
Players:2-6 (up to 12 with two games!)
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Set Enterprises has made some fantastic games and Karma is one of the newest. Karma is a card game of “What goes around..Comes Around!!” and boy is that true sometimes. The idea is to get rid of all your cards but if you’re not careful you could end up getting all of the cards back!

Karma is pretty easy to learn and while it is meant for ages 8+ my 6 year old had no problem playing. If we remove the Karma cards OR just treat them as a straight up wild card my 4 year old daughter could play too. She is working on higher and lower numbers (or greater than less than) and this is a great game to teach that!

2015-05-03 19.58.31 copyThe box is the be careful it doesn’t tear type that you open from a flap on the side, but the inside has a nice plastic slide out container for the deck of cards. Yep, the whole game is just cards!

The plastic is just that, hard plastic but the cards fit so nicely in two compartments so there is no swishing around and getting bent up in a box. I do love that.. The compartments are a tad larger than necessary but I have a feeling if you bought two games they would both fit in one box.

The cards themselves are standard cards with a fun design. These can get bent so as usual with any cards shuffle carefully. I”m a bend and flip kind of shuffler but my husband hates that…says it ruins the cards so he shuffles sideways. You know that way where you hold the deck on its side and grab a few and move them to the top of the deck and repeat? I guess it is the preferred way gamers shuffle…but I stink at it. Now on to the fun part!

2015-05-03 19.53.49-4 copyObjective:

Get rid of all your cards. You might not be the only winner but you sure don’t want to be the last player with cards…that means you are the only loser of the game. That isn’t as bad as it sounds…since it’s just a game but you can have more than one winner if you are playing with more than two people.

Setup:

You know what to do…Shuffle the cards! If you are playing with more than 6 people you need two decks and just shuffle those together. Each player is dealt 3 cards face down and lined up in a row in front of them. These are the Table Cards and you cannot look at them until you can play them.

If you are playing with younger kids you can simply remove or go over the Karma cards ahead of time. Any kid playing should be learning or know greater than less numbers and my 4 yr old Diva does ok with this. For now we left out the Karma cards but when she gets a better grasp of the game we plan on introducing them as a wild but make her say a number higher than the one played…for practice.

Next deal 6 cards to each player. From these each player chooses 3 to put face up on the Table Cards. The remaining 3 cards are your Hand Cards. When choosing keep in mind that to play a card it needs to be equal to or greater than the card shown so you should put your highest cards as the face up Table Cards. You can even put Karma cards there if you want!

You can shorten a game when playing with younger kids by not adding the face down cards and make games fair by not adding them for the younger players or adding extra for the older ones. We will eventually have to do something when my kids play together but for now we play with them separately…it’s easier that way.

2015-05-03 19.37.59-2 copyPlay:

The player to the left of the person who dealt cards gets to go first…you can determine who deals in your own way. First player plays any card from your hand to start the pile and then draw a card from the draw pile. You have to have at least 3 cards in your hand (which means drawing back up to that 3 each turn) until that Draw Pile is gone. Each player will continue to play a card that is equal or greater than the card previously played or a Karma Card and then draw a card.

If at any time you forget to draw while that Draw pile is still there you simply play using only what is in your hand and then draw back up to 3 at the end of your turn…unless you had to draw the whole pile.

You can play all the cards of the same value at one time during your turn. If the previous player played a 7 and you have 2 10’s you could play them both at the same time for your turn.

This works for three of a kind as well BUT if you play 3 of a kind or 2 or 1 of a kind on top of 1 or 2 of a kind that 3rd card clears the whole pile form the game completely. Yep! There is a way to remove cards from the game! (Two actually but more on that later) Whoever played that 3rd card gets to play again and the game continues as normal.2015-05-03 19.45.33-1 copy

The catch for both doubles and triples is that they have to come from the same source. So you can’t play a card from your hand and one from the Table. You might leave these parts out with younger kids until they get the hang of the rest of the game.

If you cannot play any card then you have to take the whole pile into your hand…which ends your turn. The next player gets to start a whole new pile with whatever card they choose and if anyone has 3 or more cards in their hand they do not need to draw a card.

The Table Cards can only be played if you have no cards in your hand and the Draw Pile is gone. All the face up Table cards have to be played before you can start playing the face down cards…and you still can’t peek at them.

2015-05-03 19.56.16 copyIf you have to pick up the Pile then you have to stop playing the Table Cards until you have no more cards in your hand..again. This can happen a couple times and in fact can happen when you play a face down Table card!

You could also play a Karma card at any point as it is a Wild card but each Karma card does something different. There are 4 total types of Karma cards.

“Play a Table Card” – Exactly what it says. You get to play a card from the Table card section instead of your hand. You still have to play the face up cards first but it helps and as a bonus if you have two or more of the same card you can play them all! Also, if you play more than one of these you can still only use the one turn for it.

“Bottoms Up” – You take the card at the bottom of the deck and move it to the top of this card. Play continues as if this was the card played. If the bottom card is another Bottoms Up card or a Play a Table Card you have to treat it as a 0 and play from there. This is my son’s favorite card but it might be due to the name…they grow out of that right?2015-05-03 19.36.35-5 copy

“Give the Pile to a Friend”  – The player who plays this card chooses another player to give the entire discard pile to and then remove that Karma card from the game.  This is great for a player who has no cards (in games of more than 2 players) so they are back in the game! Mwahaha! This does not affect play order at all.

“Five or Below” – Simply play a card that is equal to 5 or is less than 5. Easy.

There is a variation listed about the Triple card and Give the Pile to a Friend cards…it’s harder but fun! You simply remove the 3 Give the Pile to a Friend cards from the game. Then whenever someone plays the 3rd card of a triple set they remove those 3 cards from the game and gives the rest of the pile to another player of their choice! Sneaky…but interesting. I will have to try this at the next game night!

Winning:

Basically the last player who has cards loses the game and everyone else is a winner. I love the reverse twist on this!

Karma is a favorite at game nights and family game nights and for good reason. It is easy to learn, easily adaptable for younger kids (and educational too!), travels well and easily and is so much fun. Be careful how you play your cards and remember what the game says, “What goes around…Comes around!”

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“It’s the things we play with and the people who help us play that make a great difference in our lives.”
~ Fred Rogers

Author: sandyz