Do you ever wax nostalgic for a board game from your childhood? Monopoly, Sorry, Trouble, Risk, or The Game Of Life? Ever tried to go back and play one of those after Catan, Codenames, or Blood Rage? I find that those old games just don’t hold up mechanically, and ultimately, they just aren’t as fun as I remember them anymore. Short of nostalgia, they have almost all been replaced for me by better games. I loved The Game of Life as a kid. Spin the wheel. Go to college, or don’t. Spin the wheel. Get a job, get married, have a car full of kids, or don’t. Spin the wheel. Have a bunch of life things happen along the way. Spin the wheel, and after an hour or so, finally retire in that cool mansion. Fun enough. And pretty thematic. Fast forward 40 years. Enter CV Pocket, from Granna Games.
CV Pocket tackles the same subject matter as the Milton Bradley classic, but it does it with a lot less space, over a lot less time, and frankly, in a more satisfying way. CV Pocket is designed for 2-4 players by Filip Miłuński. Players take turns taking a single card from the 3 x 5 grid laid out before them and adding it to their personal tableau (or CV). Each card contains a few symbols, and is splayed on top of the previously chosen card so that the symbols of all of the cards remain visible throughout the game. These symbols represent money, luck, relationships, knowledge, and life goals, and at the end of the game they will be scored to see who had the best life. The player who has the most peace signs (victory points) is the winner.
While game turns are as simple as can be, there are some neat mechanics which lend to decent strategic decisions for such a short game. For instance, each card has a 1, 2, or 3 on it representing a bicycle, car, or plane. Once you place a card in your CV, your next card may an only be taken from the corresponding row in the grid. This gives you at most three cards to choose from each turn, and sometimes none, because as a card is taken, the cards above it in the grid slide down to fill in the empty space. Further, the grid is not replenished with new cards until there are only four left. This mechanic tends to create some good hate drafting opportunities and sometimes, strategic disappointment. I shafted myself on more than one occasion by choosing a card that looked great for my CV and not taking into account that next turn there would be no cards for me to choose since my card had a 3 on it and that row was empty. I chose… poorly.
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What seals CV Pocket as the replacement for The Game Of Life for me is that in addition to being small and quick, it somehow nails the theme through its art and card titles. While choosing cards with symbols and a single cartoonish picture, I still felt like I was making a unique story with my CV. In one game I had a hipster housewife with several children who started a business and became a bon vivant. She had some ups and downs, but I was proud of her accomplishments just the same. And this was in a 20 minute game! The symbols on the cards did a surprisingly good job of advancing theme as well. Yeah, the business person got some money, and the bookworm gained knowledge, but they were also a little sad because of that. It sort of made sense. In the end, CV Pocket was a fast, fun, and thematic set collection game that left me with the same satisfied feeling I remember as child gamer spinning that wheel and getting a job. But CV Pocket meets my current game quality and time expectations, which is near impossible for those old MB titles. It is well designed and should be checked out. I’ll leave you with a little nostalgia.
Thanks for reading, and keep nerding on!
RELATED: Read all Rob’s board game reviews and recommendations, here!