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Table Top Game Review: Elevensies

Posted by Sian, May 2016.

The Bluebell Railway was the perfect place to trial Elevenses. Riding on steam trains was quite an experience, and more so if you are right by the tank engine. A mass of white fog clouded outside the window when the train went through the tunnel between Sheffield Park and Horsted Keynes. I’m not ashamed to say I love food a lot and it was a real treat to have cream teas at Sheffield Park station. 

Elevenses is a card game for 2-4 players who role-play as 1920s socialites who compete to serve up the finest morning tea. This means ensuring enough cards, preferably, with a high value, are turned face-up to score the most points, by the time the ‘Elevensies’ card is played. Scoring the most points in a round earns two sugar cubes and the player who collects at least five sugar cubes wins the game. 

At the beginning, everyone has eleven cards each: eight of these are placed face-down on the table. The remaining three cards remain in your hand, which resembles ‘the kitchen’. Now you’re about to discover why this game can make you feel very hungry and may make you start singing a list of food items like in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast… 

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Every turn, you play a card from the kitchen, for example, ‘Sandwiches’, which has ‘8’ in the top right-hand-corner which indicates it must be placed face-up in the eighth card position. Alternatively, you may play ‘Biscuits’, which has to be placed in the seventh card position. When cards are played face-up in positions 2-9 the rules fundamentally lack emphasis that these cards substitute the face-down cards which are placed in your kitchen. 

This particular rule is only inferred by the ‘Special Actions’ section of the rule book, which notes that cards placed in the first, tenth or eleventh positions do not prompt cards to be drawn, after they are played. This is because there would be no face down cards in these particular positions to substitute. 

Elevenses is a particularly fun and interactive game to play, which is helped by the fact that the gaming mechanics are very simple. The central strategy focusses on playing as many face-up cards as your opponent(s). Each card has a condition and the ‘Tea’ and ‘Fine China’ cards can be used to flip over an opponent’s face-up card. Alternatively, ‘Milk’ enables you to see your opponent’s hand, whilst ‘Sandwiches’ permits your opponent to randomly choose a card from your hand, which they may swap with one card from their kitchen. 

Swapping cards during a game of Elevenses can become very strategic and this can become ever more fun and confusing when more than two players are involved. A player may find themselves at a severe disadvantage if they have doubles of particular cards. Remember, the Elevenses can only be called by a player if they have at least 4 face-up cards in play in their ‘spread’. Therefore, it becomes ever more crucial to play has many face-up cards as your opponent. 

The vintage style artwork and presentation for the Elevenses card game is delightful and the cards have a similar charm to the detail of Seiji Kenai’s designs for Love Letter. The white sugar cubes, similar to the red love tokens in Love Letter, add a delicate touch. The game box is square-shaped and the compact design means it’s easy to keep this one on the shelf, within easy reach to pick up and play anytime. 

Overall, I would be happy to recommend Elevenses to people who are new to table-top gaming and also traditional card players. Also, everyone can relate to the theme of food and I always felt this is one of the reasons as to why Sushi Go is so popular. I can see this game appealing to my friends, who adore vintage themes and also appreciate simplicity when it comes to table-top gaming. The presentation of Elevenses is really high quality and I can see myself playing this game regularly in the near future.

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