Star Plus is a quick and simple little card game where the aim is simply to get rid of your hand. Easy, right? Umm…. no, in fact it’s not! Beautifully illustrated with the twelve zodiac signs, Star Plus is a great little filler that will really get you thinking!
In the box you get:
- 11 Cards each of: 1 - Aquarius 2 - Pisces 3 - Aries
- 7 Cards each of: 4 - Taurus 5 - Gemini 6 - Cancer
- 3 Cards each of: 7 - Leo 8 - Virgo 9 - Libra -3 - Scorpio -2 - Sagitarius -1 - Capricorn
- 2 Zeus Cards
The game is played over three rounds, with your score from each round being totalled up to give a final score that determines the winner. Each round, the aim is to get rid of all your cards. Shuffle the deck and deal nine cards to each player (8 cards in a 5-6 player game), place the deck in the centre of the table as you may have to draw more cards during the round.
Choose a start player. They must play any number of combination of cards that equal one. So, they could simply discard a ‘1’ card or a combination of cards that equalled one eg. two ‘2’ cards and a ‘-3’. These cards are placed in a discard pile in front of that player and will be counted as points at the end of the round.
The next player then must places card(s) to tally two. Play continues in this way until the total hits twelve, then it drops back to one again. In this sample round the first player in the top left plays 1 (3 - 2), and then continuing clockwise the next players play 2, 3 and then 4.
If you cannot or do not want to play cards in your turn, you may skip and draw two new cards from the main deck. Play then continues as normal to the next player.
However, what makes Star Plus more interesting is the special cards and conditions that occur during the game.
The Black Hole
A Black Hole is triggered when a player discards three or more cards to make a total. All players from now on must play a minimum of three cards. If a player cannot, they must draw four cards and play resumes back to normal with the next player.
Special Cards are red in colour and numbered 7, 8 and 9. They all have different abilities which are indicated by a symbol on the cards.
7 - When you discard a ‘7’, take two cards off the points pile of the person to your right and add them to your own pile.
8 - When you discard an ‘8’, take two cards off the points pile of the -person to your left and add them to your own pile.
9 - When you discard a ‘9’, reverse the order of play, For example, if you had been going clockwise, start playing in anti-clockwise order.
Zeus - The Zeus card must be played on it’s own. Play it when you wish to skip a turn, even in the case of a Black Hole, then play continues as normal.
The round ends if a player has no cards in their hand or if the last card has been drawn from the main deck. Score one point for each card in your points pile, minus one point for each card left in your hand. Get a bonus five points if you have no cards in your hand. Keep a note of your score, shuffle up the cards, deal out nine to each player and begin round two!
Play three rounds then add up the totals from all three, the player with the highest total is the winner!!
Star Plus is a great little game with a small footprint so it can easily be played on small tables eg. trains, pubs etc. The standard box is a little big for this but pop the cards in a deck box and it's super portable! I really like the simple, yet striking illustrations and the gameplay is quick and easy. It may seem fairly simple but It is deceptively hard to empty your hand at the right moment.