Collecting Cute and Colorful Chameleons in a Coffee Shop: The Coloretto Card Game

Coloretto Card Game Overview

Coloretto cover

Coloretto is a card game created by Rio Grande Games. It’s suitable for 2-5 players, age 8 and up. The game box indicates that a game will take about 30 minutes to play. In my experience, once all players are comfortable with the rules and style of play, the game speeds up immensely and can often be played in 10-15 minutes.This very quick play style makes the game ideal for waiting rooms, airports, and coffee shops.

The blue chameleon.

The game centers around the collection of different colored cards, each with a very cute chameleon on it. There are nine cards of each color, with different amounts of points being awarded depending on the size of a collection.

Part of what makes Coloretto work well in the ranks of card games for kids is that there is minimal text on the cards, and it’s very easy to tell the different colors apart. And while there is a certain amount of strategy involved in the game, it isn’t too complex.

Strategy Keeps Things Interesting

At its heart, the Coloretto Card Game is a collecting game, in the same family as old favorites like Rummy. Two things serve to make the collecting in Coloretto interesting and challenging:

The row cards of Coloretto. The green ones are used for the two player game.

1) Players take turns drawing and placing color cards on the row cards. Rather than drawing and placing a card, a player can choose to pick the colors on one row card up, but that also takes him or her out of the rest of the round. This interaction means that players must simultaneously try to build up a row that will benefit them but not be picked up by other players, and try to mess up any row that other players are trying to build up. Since one’s row can be fouled easily by other players, a constantly evolving strategy is required.

This interactive row building also seems to cause a lot of banter and friendly teasing, which just adds to the fun.

2) Collections of only three colors count as positive for the purposes of scoring. Any other collections count as negative points. This means that strategy often focuses on trying to get other players to pick up colors that don’t belong to their three main collections – and sometimes necessitates switching which collections are the "main" ones midstream.

Scoring Controls Strategy

The two different scoring tables
Using the brown side of the score card, this hand is worth 36 points.

The Coloretto card game also comes with a built-in variation; the score cards are two-sided. The brown side of the cards is the best one to start with, since it has a simple scoring table. On the brown side of the score cards, a bigger collection (up to six cards) simply means more points. The other side of the score cards, which is gray, has a different scoring table where three is the ideal collection size, and anything larger than that brings in less points.

The same hand, using the gray scoring table, is worth 22 points.

Switching from one scoring table to another means that different strategies have to be formulated – a level of variation that keeps the game interesting for many plays.

Simple, quick, and fun – and it fits easily in a pocket. This game travels with me a lot, and I highly recommend it.