Match Em’ Up by Brains & Brawn Gaming, designed by Keith Wilcoxon, was kindly gifted to us to review. It is a memory matching game–mint tin edition! The mint tins are part of a special pop-up Kickstarter series by this company.
The first part of the game is light and fun. You place the black cards in a grid symbols facing up, and spend a minute memorizing the cards. Literally a minute, as the rules state. We found it a little too easy to memorize cards with 60 seconds, so instead we made a house rule of 30 seconds and this increased the difficulty of the game a healthy amount.
After the allotted time you flip the cards over and that’s when you use the shared rainbow card deck, one card at a time guessing where the rainbow card symbol is in the black card grid. You place the rainbow card you draw next to a side of the grid you designate as yours to keep track of points. This was a pretty clever, easy to use system to separate where players play their cards.
There is a special card that pops up a few times in the rainbow deck–the switch card. We have mixed feelings about this card. It adds a tactful mechanic that allows you mix up the face down cards and make it more difficult for your opponent. The downside is, if someone previously guessed an icon right and then that icon is switched around, the previously correct guesser(s) lose points.
The last round of the game is the hardest because at this point it has been a long while since you’ve seen the cards in the black grid and you have to keep them memorized for a second round! This time, you take a deck of single color cards of your choice (fun fact: Pato is always blue player).
You take turns drawing from your individual color deck and placing the cards on top of the card you think matches. Remember the cards that were switched earlier? Because at this point in the game I never can.
We found it easiest to flip all the cards at the end of the round so the grid cards ended up on top with each player color at the bottom and scored them individually.
You need a calculator for scoring but it is pretty easy to do. You score cards from the rainbow round first then from the last round. You lose points whenever an opponent gets a card right, which didn’t seem very necessary to us but also was fine and not that hard as long as you calculated your individual scores at the same time.
The challenge of remembering the symbols is a lot of fun, it is a straightforward concept that was utilized in a creative way. It is a game that has plenty of replayability as you always have a new combination to memorize since the cards get mixed up.
Pato and I both have our individual ways of remembering the cards. He remembers the ball with the star as a Dragonball while I think of Toy Story. I also like to create narratives with how the cards relate to each other to remember the order (until that Switch card comes into play!)
Match ‘Em Up is an easy to pack and play game. Set up takes less than a minute and games last about ten. We enjoyed playing and will continue to enjoy playing it. It is a light game to put on the table when you want to play something quick and easy.
Language Player Replayability: once you know the instructions, no language needed! You don’t even really have to communicate your moves since it is very straightforward.
Replayability: Very good! We can even see this being good for all age groups.
Artwork: The bright colors are nice and the rainbow cards are especially eye catching. The symbols are simple, which seems like it would be a little lackluster but in the context of this game it is perfect as the symbols are very similar to each other sometimes, which creates a nice challenge. It is also nice that you get to choose your own color deck for part of the game.
Quality: Thick cards which are always nice. The tin box is very cool and literally fits in a pants pocket (if you are a guy who has pockets, am I right, ladies?)
Strategy: Create your own strategy to memorize the cards. Using the Switch card strategically helps you throw off your opponent and makes them lose points if you switch cards where they had scores points previously.
Instruction Manual: Ours was not the finished instruction manual so we can’t judge it very much, but we’re told the finished is accordion style paper which is nice and neat. The pictures in the instructions help to guide the player through set up visually.
Organization: Again, you can’t go wrong with tin container pocket games. The cards stay in place and it doesn’t take up a lot of space.