CV is a game about your life, about friends, family, jobs and all the other things you have accomplished throughout the years. But all these things don’t fly into your lap, you have to work for it, you have to roll the dice. Two or three times if you must.
CV is a Yahtzee style dice rolling game. You roll four dice and re-roll twice if you are not content with the result. Once you are satisfied you can buy cards with these dice. These cards give you extra resources or skills to buy other cards cheaper, buy better cards or just give you points. The game takes you through different stages of life and once you’ve become an elderly man or woman the game ends and you add up all your points.
You can collect different sets of cards, cards that give you points on their own and you can get points by accomplishing certain life goals. The player with best CV, the player with the most points, wins the game.
This is the general idea of the game. It’s a simple concept. Roll dice, buy cards, get points. Besides from these easy rules, the game is quit thematic. You start the game with some childhood memory cards. These are event cards that you keep in your hand and can play during your turn. Event cards give you a one-off benefit. IN the game you go through three decks of cards, representing three life phases, early adulthood, middle age and old age.
In these decks of cards you find different types of cards. Cards that concern relationships, jobs, knowledge, health or possessions. When you buy these cards, from the general market of five cards, you build up your CV, you go through your own life. Every card has a cost, equal to symbols on your dice and symbols from other card’s abilities. An ability can also be that you buy cards cheaper or roll more dice. However, only the top card of every stack is active. Every type of card has its own stack.
You can buy cards with the dice you roll. On every side you find an icon, like a money or a knowledge icon, but there are also good and bad luck icons. Bad luck icons cannot be re-rolled and when you collect three of them you have to discard a card from your CV. When you collect three good luck icons you can take one card from the market, ‘for free’.
At the end of the game you count all knowledge, relationship and health cards. The more cards you have per type the more points you get. Possession cards give points per card, the more expensive the card the more points you get. Then you also check if you have met your own life goal and the general life goals. You get points for every set of one knowledge and one health card you have, for instance. Combinations like that.
CV is one of those Yahtzee style games. It uses dice rolling as its core mechanism and it adds another element to it to make it a bit more interesting than just Yahtzee. King of Tokyo is probably the most well-known game of that genre. That game I enjoyed for a couple of times, but I quickly fell out of love with that one. It’s no longer part of my collection.
So, I’m always hesitant when I encounter another Yahtzee relative. That was also the case when I heard about CV a while ago. Dice rolling, Yahtzee-style. No thank you, I’m fine. However, the theme, life itself, is one that I really like or at least find very intriguing. It’s difficult to do right.
I’ve played CV now a couple of times and I must say, for what the game is, a light filler, it does its theme justice. In the end I really had a sense of accomplishment when I looked at my CV, my life. Plus, the illustrations are really well done, they are very funny. You do have to make up a story in your own head to make the costs of cards fit certain jobs or abilities, or how these life events logically follow-up on each other, but it works.
What doesn’t work is a four, and maybe even a three player game. In my opinion CV is a two-player game. This is due to the combination of rolling the dice and a continuously changing card market. Rolling dice means randomness. Of course. You cannot prepare for what the outcome will be. You can roll three times, so you can mitigate the luck a bit, but still, you know how dice are.
Because players are constantly buying cards, the market is constantly changing. So, in a four player game, there are three other player who also buy stuff, plus at the end of round you remove one card from the market. You can be pretty sure that not a single card from the market in your turn will be there when it’s your turn again. This means that you cannot think ahead. You can only start thinking about what your possibilities are during your turn.
This is the reason the game takes too long in a four player game, especially since it should be a light, breezy game. Secondly, it works against its theme in my opinion. In a two player game you can plan ahead a bit more. Sure, still there are quite a few changes between one turn and the other, but at least your life doesn’t consists of completely random events that coincidently fitted your needs, read your resources, at that point, like in a four player game.
Two players is where it’s at for me.
In addition to the theme and the illustrations I really like the mechanism where you have to place your cards in a stack, by type, and only the top card’s ability is active. On the one hand you just want to collect as much cards of every type as possible, or as much of specific types, depending on the goals that are on the board or in your hand. Points, points, points.
On the other hand, you have to carefully think about which type of card you buy and when. Covering up a card that gives you an extra die or a card that gives a relationship card discount while your goal concerns these purple relationship cards might not be a good idea.
I’m not saying CV is a very deep game, or you have to think very hard, but these small decisions you have to make do make the game interesting for me. As a two-player filler that is. There’s some luck with the dice, you can play around a bit with the abilities the cards give you, it adds a nice dollop of resource management, and the theme keeps you invested in the game and the character you build in front of you.
I would give the game somewhere between three and four thumbs up, but because I really like the look of it, the illustrations are a big part of what drew me to the game, I give it four thumbs up instead of three.