I played a game of Nacho Loco a few nights ago with my wife and daughter. Nacho Loco is a card game produced by Buffalo Games, featuring triangular cards that at least on the back, look like nacho chips.
The game mechanics are pretty simple and are similar to dominoes in many ways. Players draw six chips and then proceed to build off of a starter chip drawn from a pile. Chips are played by matching colors or special actions. If you match a chip segment with a go again wedge then you get to play another chip, otherwise you will either play a chip or draw a chip from the draw pile and play will proceed. If you use all of your chips, then you win the round and gain points equal to the number of cards remaining in the hands of your opponents.
Game play was pretty intuitive, and my nine-year-old caught on immediately. It’s a very light and fun game, and we couldn’t resist the urge to pretend we were eating our cards.
The only mechanic that wasn’t intuitive was the use of the black X segments. The black X segments do not match with other black X segments and are designed to close off sections of the playing field. The act of closing the playing field was essential in order to score points, as it made your opponents draw cards, while you were able to play an additional card. My wife really didn’t like the fact that the black X’s didn’t match up. Our conversation went a little like this,
She: The segments are exactly the same, so why won’t they match?
He: Because that’s how the game works.
She: Well, that’s just stupid.
I understand her frustration. It’s difficult to establish a rule that creates a like to like match, based solely on the visual makeup of the card, and then break that rule for a particular segment. My wife is right; black X segments look just like other black X segments. I think it would have been better to create a non-tessellating graphic, like a cactus or a salamander ,if you want to work within the Tex-Mex theme, so that when the sides were placed next to each other, it would be obvious that they are not the same. If you made the cactus extra prickly, then that would reinforce the concept of closing the board. Maybe Buffalo Games will produce a collector’s edition with an extra prickly cactus just for my wife.
This game is not going to scratch your strategy game itch, but if you want a light and quick game that’s a lot of fun for the price, I certainly can recommend Nacho Loco.
Now if someone will just invent a salsa game…