" Though we expected this to be one of those 'let's play it long enough to review it, then never look at it again' games, it actually ended up being a really solid performer and one we'll be going back to again and again. "
Title: Abridged by Out of the Box
Format: Four player card game
Reviewing Monkey: Our Ape Masters
Let's face it, for most of us bridge is something only our grandparents know how to play. It's one of those archaic little card games that seems to have been invented in the days when figuring out new and more complex ways of using a basic deck of cards was the only way to keep you from killing the other people you were stuck in a log cabin all winter with. Contrastingly simple to play but really tough to understand, at its heart bridge is a really basic game of high-card takes the pot. Each turn the lead player takes a card from their hand, drops it on the table, and sets the round in motion. Other players must then try and beat the lead players card with one from the same suit. Played in teams, the goal of bridge is to try and wins as many rounds as possible. So that's the simple part.
The complex part is a really bizarre type of scoring and an intricate form of bidding in which each team tries to out-do the other by declaring how many rounds they believe they can win. The team that says it can win the most rounds controls the play and stands to gain the most if they win, but also have the very real chance of getting stomped on if they fail to win the number of rounds they boast they can. It's this part of the game, more than anything, that had your granny and pappy screaming at each other and throwing pots and pans at the end of the night, and it's this aspect that kept most of us from wanting to have anything to do with the game.
So it was only logical that someone, someday, would try and stream-line the game to make it more understandable and playable for the masses. The result is Out of the Box's Abridged, and it's worth taking a look at.
By boiling bridge down to its most base, and entertaining, elements, Out of the Box has created a really enjoyable social game for 4 people (not more, not less). They have dispensed with the bidding, greatly simplified the scoring, and traded suites and value-relative cards (face cards) for simple colors and number cards sort of reminiscent of Uno. It all combines to make the game straightforward, easy to understand, and quick to learn.
The result is a game that is actually a whole helluva lot of fun to play. Simple enough that it can be played amidst idle conversation and without too much brainpower, but still having enough depth to let you work strategies and get in a good competitive showing, it has become one of our new favorites for late night distress sessions. Though we expected this to be one of those "let's play it long enough to review it, then never look at it again" games, it actually ended up being a really solid performer and one we'll be going back to again and again.