Origami Legends is a card game for 2 to 4 players designed by Christian Glove and published by dV Giochi. In Origami Legends you take on the role of an Origami Artist who is attending a competition trying to make the best legendary origami and thus impressing the jury, becoming the Best Origami Artist.
Setup is a breeze in this game. You take one family of origami and one pair of characters per player and shuffle these cards together to form a draw deck. If the polar family is selected you also need to place the rice paper deck somewhere in the center of the table. Now you deal cards to a player until he has a total of at least 10 folds (written on piece of paper in the top left corner). You did this for each player. These are the starting hands for the players and the one that has the fewest folds will be the start player. Afterwards you create the draw line by revealing the top four cards of the draw deck and you are ready to start playing.
During your turn you can choose between two actions: Draw cards or Play one Origami. After you have taken your turn you may have no more than eight cards in hand. When you choose to draw cards you can take cards from the draw to a total number of four folds or less and add them to your hand. After drawing all the cards the draw line is refilled from the draw deck. When the draw deck runs out you reshuffle the discard pile to form a new draw deck.
Playing the origami is the main action of the game naturally. When you want to play an origami you need to pay its cost (top left number) by paying its cost in folds with other cards from your hand. You need to be able to pay the exact cost. A family origami needs to be placed in one of your two collections (columns) in front of you. The difference in size of your two collections may never be more than one. Family origami have one of three effects: An instant effect that immediately happens when you play it, an ongoing effect that is active as long as there is no Origami placed on top of it and a scoring effect that only happens at the end of the game.
The second type of origami are the characters. These are placed in the center of the table because they alter the rules for all players. Afterwards you will be able to play one origami from the draw line for free. If you play a character of the same type as one already in play you simply replace it and put the old one back into the discard pile.
When the deck runs out a second time it signals the end of the game. You shuffle the discard pile again and finish the round. Afterwards each player gets one final turn and the game is over. Now it is time to check how well you did. You get points for each origami you folded equal to the number of red symbols on the left side of the card. You add the points scored from the different scoring cards in play and the player with the most points is the winner.
The artwork in this game done by Francesco Perticaroli is astonishing and fits the style of the origami. This is one of those games that are explained in no time and are really easy to play yet offer lots of choices. The actions you have are drawing cards or playing a card. For each card you play you need to discard other cards. You might want to play a certain card but this means that you have to get rid of this other good card. You can always simply take some other cards so you can keep the other good card when paying next turn but this means another turn until the card hits the table. The effect of the different families is really diverse. The Dinosaurs for instance are all about having as many cards in your hand as possible, the polar family gives you the rice paper which gives you one fold to pay with and the exotic animals let you move origami in the collections. Some effects have a slight take that but never over the top. The scoring effects are also real different going from having more cards in hand than your opponents to being placed next to certain cards or getting points for each rice paper in your hand. The character origami provide some nice twists to the game like being able to overpay for playing cards, having a smaller hand size, being able to play the top discard card and so on… One other nice detail in the game is that they included a piece of paper and instructions to fold your own penguin origami to be used by the start player. This game includes four different families and twenty character pairs but if you include the original origami game from 2017 you can add in five different families in the mix which makes for a lot of combinations of families and characters thus extending the re-playability of the game. The original even includes an extra type of action which is a special action on some of the origami you can choose from. We can only give lots of praise to this little card game which is lots of fun to play and great to look at.
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