We’ve been having better luck these past few weeks finding quality board and card games at thrift. For a while we were coming up empty, but we’ve purchased enough lately to keep us happy for some time. At one store we found eight new-to-us games we’ll be highlighting here at some point. The first of this batch is a card game published by Mattel, Voltage.
Although it includes a board, we’re referring to it as a card game because that’s the main feature of Voltage. The game boasts a custom deck of fifty-six cards split into four colors and numbered one through three. The small board is laid between the opponents (Voltage is a 2-player game) and populated with four +/- terminal blocks. On the sides of the board are separate scoring tracks.
The object of Voltage is to win sets of like-colored cards by having the highest or lowest total when the pile contains five cards. Each player begins the game with a hand of four cards with the remaining being used as a draw deck. On your turn you have a choice of actions.
First, you could just draw two additional cards into your hand. Or you might select to play a card on the board and draw one to replace it. Lastly, you can choose to play two cards of distinct colors to the board without drawing more. There is a strict hand limit of six cards, so that might have an impact on your decision.
The +/- terminal blocks on the board signify the winning condition for that color of card. Positive means you want the higher total, while negative challenges you to have the lowest. When playing a card to the board, you may place it in any matching space on either side of the board (yours or your opponent’s). If the card you play is the fifth of that color, the color is resolved immediately, and a point is awarded to the player who has the highest/lowest.
Special cards in the deck also mix things up. Bypass cards may be placed on any color, but only on your opponent’s side of the board. This allows you to steal one number card from their side and place it on your own. The Bypass card remains in play and counts as “0” towards the total. It also counts as one of the five cards needed to resolve the color.
A Blown Fuse card is like a Bypass card and may only be played on your opponent’s side. Instead of stealing a number, you choose one of their number cards and move it to the discard pile. Transformer cards may be any type (number, Blown Fuse or Bypass) and are signified by a lit “V” image on the back of the card. Whenever these are drawn into your hand, you must flip one of the terminal blocks, reversing its polarity.
Once either player wins their fourth trick, the game ends and that person is the winner of Voltage. This game was originally published in 2006 with a reissue a decade later. A full game can take up to thirty minutes, but ours were much shorter. You can still find new copies of Voltage on Amazon for under MSRP!
What is your current favorite 2-player game?