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A Card Game by Christian Giove for dvGiochi

On opening the box one is faced with a sealed deck of cards, a rules sheet and a small square piece of blank yellow paper. This piece of yellow paper is the Start Player Marker and it is a Butterfly! Well it will be a Butterfly if you follow the instructions correctly on the back of the rules sheet, for this is your Origami (the Japanes Art of Paper Folding) test. I thought I had made quite a good job of the Butterfly but my companions suggested it could be a Stealth Bomber, a Crab, or even a Super-Hero's motif; it doesn't really matter what it looks like (I still say it looks like a Butterfly) as long as it turns out as something to be used to note who the first player is.

Don't worry if you aren't dextrous or good at card folding as making the Start Player marker is the only piece of Origami in the game, the rest is just excellent artwork of Origami animals on the game cards. Origami is the art of clever paper or card manipulation and the Origami game is an art of card play.


The deck of cards is made up of five sets, known as Families, of Animals; Farm, Sky, Sea, Savannah and Lawn animals, colour coded on the information bar (top left corner) and in pastel shades on the cards.
The Farm Animals are:
Cat x 4  Sheep x 4  Raccoon x 2  Pig x 2  Dog x 2  Fox x 2 Rabbit x 2
The Sky Animals are:
Chick x 4   Parrot   x 2  Owl  x 2   Dove x 2  Chicken x 2   Vulture  x 2  Eagle  x 2  Magpie x 2 
The Sea Animals are:
Minnow x 4  Shell x 2  Roundel Skate x 2  Whale  x 2   Squid x 2   Crab x 2  Dolphin x 2  Shark x 2
The Savannah Animals are:
Monkey 4  Cheetah x 2  Rhino x 2  Gorilla x 2  Elephant x 2  Zebra x 2 Lion x 2 Snake x 2
The Lawn Animals are:
Ant x 5  Butterfly x 2  Bee x 2  Cricket x 2  Caterpillar x 2 Spider x 2  Fly x 3

The game is for 2-4 players and there are five sets so it is, or should be, obvious that players do not get a set of cards each, instead one set is used per player and the deck made from those sets is well shuffled. Players are dealt cards face up to make their hand of cards, the number of cards they receive depends on the number of "Folds" (an icon showing folded cards and a number is on each card). The dealer stops dealing when the player has 10 folds or as the card folds value goes over 10. For example if you were dealt three cards ov value 3 each you would obviously have a value of 9 in your hand. The next card dealt to you, whatever its value will take your total over 10 and then the dealer moves on to the next player and deals them cards of folds value 10 (ish).The game starts when all players have been dealt a hand of cards each and four cards from the top of the remaining deck have been flipped face up and laid out in a display.


Turns play round the table in a clockwise direction with each player having the same three options of Actions and only being allowed to take oone of the options:
1. Draw Cards - take cards from the display up to a value of 4 folds, so a 3 and a 1 , two 2s,  a 4, etc to your hand. You need not take cards that are exactly equal to 4 in value, you may if you wish take any number of cards as long as you don't exceed 4, a single 3 for example ? 
2. Play one Origami card - play a card from your hand to the table in front of you onto one of the two selections you are collecting - when you place cards in front of you you make two lines straight down, one line can never have more than one card mnore than the other line except when you lay your very first card of course.
3. Use the Special Action on one of the top Origami cards (usually a choice from two) in front of you - some of the cards have "Instant" Effects which are only used immediately they are placed and cannot be used afterwards.


ORIGAMI is easy to play and to explain to new players. It is a fun 10 minute + game where players have the opportunity to buy the cards they require from the main display using cards they already hold (never those in front of them). This means that you have to be careful when to lay cards and when to take cards. If you lay cards too often then you will run out of cards in your hand, but if you draw cards too often the deck will run out quickly and end the game sooner than you wish. Managing your cards and the deck is a main tactic in Origami the card game. It's okay getting a card or cards with great special effects on the top of one or each of your lines as you can use one of them each turn but at some time you will have to cover one of them and then the next time you play a card from your hand you will have to cover the other good card, unless of course you have managed to play a new card or cards onto your lines that also have great special effects. Using a Special effect is your turn and thus it can also prevent you from gaining a card from the display that will make your hand and thus VP possibilities stronger.

Don't simply spend a card or cards to buy another simply because you like the picture better. Make sure you know the possibilities of each card and whether they will work for or against you. Ants are good to have in your lines if you can get more than one of them, in which case they are worth 5 points each instead of 2 points each but their effect is only during scoring. In a 2-player game I personally would remove the Ants from the game because they are too easy to collect and are very valuable towards making a high score. Once there are three or four players then there are more chances that other players will also collect an Ant or two thus preventing one player monopolising them. I do suggest before playing for the first time, or when introducing new players to ORIGAMI that you take a few moments prior to playing to show and explain the different Special Effects cards have - knowing the cards when others do not is a distinct advantage, as is taking note of what other players have placed in front of them - all cards on the table are always visible to every player - to know your limitations or possibilities.


ORIGAMI games are quick to play because cards are always being collected and the deck knocked down. Players replace cards in the main display once their turn ends, thus taking 2 cards per player per turn (which is highly likely) and the game ends once the discards have been shuffled, the current game turn has been completed, and each player has then had one full turn.The Origami cards have red Chinese signs on them, each of these counts as a point, thus a card showing 3 Chinese red symbols has a three point VP value. It doesn't matter which cards you have in each line as long as one line is never longer than the other by more than one card. To tally your score pick up both of your lines and sort the cards into types and count up the number of these Red symbols you have, highest total wins.



© Chris Baylis 2011-2015