How many of you find yourselves in a position where you want to play a game but there just isn’t enough time for a good game? What if I told you that there’s a small family-friendly card game that can set up and played in 10 minutes?
The downside is you’re probably going to be yelling ouch a lot like a masochist who needs attention. But don’t worry, unless you give yourself a paper cut, this game won’t really hurt you.
Ouch! has players taking turns drawing from one of six cards on the table with the goal of collecting the most flowers. But these flowers are on cacti so they’re full of spines. The more flowers on the card, the more spines it likely has. When you grab a card, you declare the side you’re grabbing and flip it over. If you grabbed the pointy bits you say “ouch!” and it goes into the discard, if you didn’t, it goes in front of you for scoring later. The game ends when someone gains eight cards. Counting each flower as a point, whoever has the most points wins.
But, that’s the basic game and a good way to start for non-gamers or young children but there are a few additional twists that’ll prickle your pears if you want something a little meatier.
First, some of the card backs showing three flowers only have one flower on them but they have a snake or a fennec. The snake means if the next player gets pricked, you get their card instead of it being discarded. The fennec fox allows you to draw again but if you get pricked you lose both the fennec and the new card adding a dash of press your luck.
Another push your luck-like aspect is the person with the most red flowers gets an additional five points (huzzah!) but if you get pricked when selecting a red flower, you also have to discard another card from your play area (boo, hiss).
For each set of four different colors you have, you gain an additional four points as a wild bouquet.
You might think, as I did initially, that grabbing the two flower cacti is the optimal move. Losing three games in a row had me changing my tune. But the winner wasn’t always the person with eight cards and that’s where the wild bouquets, animal cards, and red flowers really add to what seems to be a simple experience.
While there is some strategy in this game it is very luck heavy as the best strategy in the world (which I apparently don’t have based on my awful win-loss record) is trash if you keep grabbing the prickly bits like the world’s slowest learner. The fennec cards provide a small element of push your luck and the snake cards turn your self-inflicted take that aspect into a small boon for an opponent.
A small quibble I had was when one of my games ended in a tie and I was surprised there wasn’t a first tie breaker provided in the rules. But, with a game that clocks in around 10 minutes; this isn’t a huge deal.
The biggest drawback for the game is sometimes nobody is advancing towards the end as people keep figuratively impaling their fingers on virtual cactus quills leaving their hands empty or losing cards when failing to grab a red flower. Turns are quick but a few consecutive failures in a row can range from annoying to mildly frustrating.
Overall this is a filler game that’s perfect while waiting at a restaurant for food to come out or as a quick game while you’re waiting for others to show up for game night. It’s small, portable, and easy to teach. There’s not a lot going on in Ouch! but what is here works well if you’re okay with the luck-based aspect of the game. It’s easy to get some laughs playing this quick filler game with some cute art and a unique theme.
Final Score: 3 Stars – Ouch! is a compact, luck-heavy, and quick playing filler game with fast turns and a self-inflicted take-that mechanism.
• Quick playing filler game
• Accessible and easy to teach
• Luck does play a large factor in the final outcome
• No tie breakers provided in the rules