Game Buzz: Lucky Numbers

Back in 2012, Ravensburger came out with a small number-based abstract from designer Michael Schacht called 5 vor 12. It’s eight years later, it’s getting a new edition, and it’s now called

image by BGG user TIKI Editions

Lucky Numbers is now being published in English and French by TIKI Editions. It’s a 2-4 player game, and it’s currently available to play on Board Game Arena (which is where I first found out about it).

Basically, Lucky Numbers is a sorting game. Each player gets their own board with a 4×4 grid, and you’ll be using clover-shaped tiles (numbered 1-20 in four different colors) to try to fill it. You’ll shuffle together 20 tokens per color for each player in the game, then draw four and place them on the diagonal, low number at the top, high number at the bottom.

On your turn, you’ll draw a tile, either from the face down pile or from those that are face up. Then you’ll either place it on your board in an empty space, swap it with another tile on your board (which is then discarded face up), or just place it back on the table face up. You’re trying to build your grid so that every row is ascending from left to right, and every column is ascending from top to bottom. The first person to fill in their entire board wins the game.

image by BGG user TIKI Editions

That’s it. It’s a pretty simple game. There is an advanced setup where your initial setup is done one at a time, so you’re kind of guessing at where they should go. I’ve played several rounds on BGA and I haven’t tried that variant yet, but I have enjoyed the game. It’s very fast, and it’s an interesting puzzle to try to get the numbers in the right spot. You also want to be careful about what you discard so as not to give your opponents what they need. And you can be clever about using the swap action. I like it, though I’d want to play it in physical form before I actually do a review. Playing online is never really the same experience.

From what I’ve seen of the original, this looks much more attractive, and the clovers really fit in better with the name Lucky Numbers (which is what the multilingual edition was called even back then). It’s a nice, fast numbers game from one of my favorite designers – I can’t recall if I’ve ever played a Schacht game that I haven’t liked. I’m sure they’re out there.

That’s all for this fairly brief post. Stay safe out there, and thanks for reading!

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