Much like our last Thrift Treasure, this week’s feature is a $1 grab at the Gen Con flea market. It surprised us because we didn’t attend until the second day and usually the cheaper games are grabbed first. Maybe it was the rough box. Or because it was sealed inside a Ziploc bag, they weren’t sure if all the cards were present. Regardless, for just a dollar I’m always willing to take a chance.
Ugh! by Calliope Games is a quick push-your-luck card game for up to six players. Inside the box are one hundred and ten standard-sized playing cards along with a bilingual rule sheet. Setting up the game is as simple as shuffling the deck and placing it in the middle of the table.
The youngest player begins the game. The object of Ugh! is to collect sets of colored cards. The value of the three-card set is determined by multiplying the numbers on the cards together. Card values range from 1-5, so obviously the higher ones are worth more to everyone.
Next to the draw pile will be three “safety piles”. The first drawn card is placed onto the first of these piles. The player then has a decision on whether to take that card or another card on top of one of the other safety piles. If they elect not to, another card is drawn and put on top of safety pile #2. The same decision is made, and the player may keep drawing until all piles have had one card added to it or they draw an Ugh! card.
After three cards have been drawn and the player doesn’t want any of them, they must draw a fourth and take that one. Any taken card is placed face-up into the player’s pool in front of them. There are no “hands” in Ugh!, only pools in front of all players. Once a card is chosen, the player may elect to lock any sets made, protecting them from Ugh! cards or being stolen by other players.
The active player’s turn ends immediately when an “Ugh!” card is drawn and they must perform the action on the card. These may range from discarding cards from their pool, discarding certain colors or simply ending their turn. Fortunately, if you are unlucky enough to draw an Ugh! card at the start of your turn, after completing the action, you get to add that card face-down to your locked pile and is worth three points.
There are two uses for “Wild” cards. First, as expected, you can put them into any set to finish it off. The value of the Wild card is one less than the lowest card in the set. So don’t use it in a set that has a “one” in it! The other thing you may do with a Wild card is to steal a card from an opponent’s pool that matches the color of the Wild Card. Or in the case of the All Wild card, any color.
A game of Ugh! ends once the last card is drawn from the deck. Players total up the values of their locked sets and receive no points for any cards in their pool. The person with the highest overall total wins Ugh! Originally published in 2012, Ugh! is currently out of print. You can find new and used copies on eBay for right around the original MSRP of $10!
Do you take chances on games when they’re cheap?