Quick Takes: 2-6 players 20 minutes Ages 8+ Level 1 (easy to learn, easy to play and FUN!)
We love clever titles and updates on classic games; L.L.A.M.A. delivers both. The rules are simple - dump cards and win points (a la several other familiar card games), but there are a few scoring twists that make this one a fun introductory strategy game for children and adults alike. On each turn, players can do one of three actions: play a card, pick a card, or quit. When you can't dump all your cards, you have to take markers which count against you at the end of the game. Keeping Llama cards also causes you to lose points. This is where the name is clever: don't L.et L.lamas A.nd M.arkers A.ccumulate. See how that works? One of only three games nominated for the prestigious 2019 Spiel des Jahres award, this one is also a critics favorite.
For language lovers, the name of the game is an acronym in English. Did you know that the same is true in the original German? In German, the game is called Lama (Lege alle Minuspunkte ab).
L.L.A.M.A. was one of the top games for kids in our annual mom's poll in 2020, and we feature it in our Top Picks for Your Littlest Gamer. It may have special "llama math" rules, but it's still math and helpful for reinforcing the math skills kids are learning in school. This game has a great mix of luck and strategy that is key for kids at this age range too. The rules are simple, so kids can focus on their strategy as they play.
Here's what the Spiel des Jahres jury had to say about it: "the game causes so much emotion and so many moments of excitement one after the other. This comes from the special llama-mathematics, meaning it’s sometimes worth passing, even though you have a hand full of cards. And often the winner of one round will then get ten minus points in the next." As you can see, there's enough luck involved, plus a catch-up provision, so that kids have a real shot at beating the adults (even if they aren't winning the whole time). No wonder the moms picked this one!
- Family fun - great for family game night
- Simplicity - easy set-up with a quick learning curve
- Oscar nominee - the Board Game Oscars (Spiel des Jahres)
- We love llama math!
- Spiel des Jahres Nominee - 2019
- Golden Geek Best Card Game Nominee - 2019