We have been playing the Llama Drama card game all through the holiday weekend and I have to say it is certainly addicting. The name is appropriate as there are a ton of LLAMAS and DRAMA throughout the game! There's also awesome adorable llama graphics on each of the numbered cards and on the 5 Special Llama cards.
While it took a few minutes to learn the basic rules and understand the mechanics, the directions to the game fit neatly on the sides of 2 cards so you are up and running in no time. And, since the game consists of a deck of cards (2 decks for 5-8 players), it's easy to travel with and bring along with you anywhere.
To set-up the game, deal each player 5 cards. Additionally, deal each player 3 cards face down and a face up card on each of his or her face down cards. The card deck consists of either numbered cards 1-9, or special llama cards, with their own rules, such as Baby Llama, Shy Llama, or Magic Llama. The special cards provide special "abilities" or game play (e.g. Baby Llama gives the next player the ability to play any card, etc). The goal of the game is to be the first player to get rid of all your cards.
To begin, the first player plays a card from their hand. Once that card is played, the next player must play the same or higher number card, or a special llama card. If you can't play a card because you don't have the same or higher number than the one on the play pile or a special llama card, you must pick up the entire play pile, and that becomes your new hand (in addition to any cards you hold in your hand). If 4 of the same cards are played consecutively (e.g. four 7's or four Shy Llamas'), the play pile is discarded. Also, players must draw back up to 5 cards at the end of their turn.
It sounds pretty straightforward, right? It is...except..remember that part where each player has 3 cards face down and 3 face up cards in front of them? Once a player has no more cards left in their primary hand, and no cards can be picked up from the draw pile, THEN and only then, the player may play the 3 face up cards in front of them. Once those face up cards are played, a player can then play their facedown cards, except they must play them blind, without knowing what cards they are playing. For example, if one player has only face down cards left, and the play pile has a 4 on it, this player has to hope that the face down card he or she chooses works on a 4. For example, a 1, 2, or 3 card wouldn't work, and the player would have pick up the entire play pile! The fun continues!
Llama Drama is an engaging card game, with a unique mechanic at the end that makes the play that much more interesting for everyone. All in all, Llama Drama is a great family game as it is easy to learn, accessible, and fun to play. A round of Llama Drama, anyone? For other board game ideas, you can see our list of best cooperative board games and best strategy board games.
For the full set rules of how to play the Llama Drama card game, please see here.