Cha Ching! Card Game: A Hard Sell

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This week’s review is for Cha Ching! Card Game published by Talicor Aristoplay.  Though it is a card game, the need for a table gives you the same feel as any board game would.

The Gist

cha ching card game instructionsCha Ching! is basically a deck of cards featuring different amounts of money ($1, $5, $1o, $25 $50), select amounts of various ‘wild cards’ and two dice (white, black). Players, in turn, pick up and discard cards of different values to have all eight of their cards add up to the target number each round. The first person to have all 8 cards add up to the number “zeros” out and wins the round. All other opponents must total the value of their hand against them. The first player to reach 1000 points loses the game, the winner will have the lowest amount of points.

There can be some surprises- wild cards, ($, $0 , and the Cha Ching! cards) can turn everything around. If you receive a $ card, you can assign any value ($1. $5, $10, $20, $50) to your hand. A cent card has $0 value, which can greatly help if the target number is on the small side. All eight cards MUST somehow equate to the target number… since you are only allowed to draw new cards from the “draw pile” or the top card on the discard pile, you need to know at all times what to keep and what to throw out.

Keep in mind, a Cha Ching! card gives the player the chance to change the target number OR switch their hand with yours! Knowing this will encourage you to bluff a little bit. The last thing you want to do is imply you’re about to win- you never know if they’re holding the power to take your hand! This twist can be damning. There’s nothing worse than being within grasp of the target when the number changes and is completely out of range from your cards value… but it keeps things very interesting!

Great for A Growing Family

cha ching card game

To get to the target number, you have the option to discard one card per turn- and replace it with a card someone else put face up in the discard pile, or pull a random one from the draw pile.

I’d say of all the games I’ve played lately, this one has the most educational value.The need for brains and acting talent makes the game extremely enjoyable. The amount of simple math requires each player to use their brains and add/subtract as quickly as possible while controlling all emotions- it’s a real balancing act! Not to mention watching your opponents slip up and give you opportunities to benefit is always both inevitable and hysterical.

The box says this game is good for family, ages 8 and up- and I can say that is an accurate suggestion. I imagine kids could really benefit from this without even knowing it- which in my opinion is the best way to learn there is… If I want to be real with you- I have to say there are many adults that would benefit from a little basic math too. We are all so accustomed to our calculator app on our smartphones and laptops that our brains almost never to do “manual” math. It’s pretty funny when you find yourself incapable of a simple equation under pressure, it’s also quite humbling. As long as you can have fun with it, this is a great trip back to grade school math.

 

It’s All Fun and Games Until Someone Falls Asleep

cha ching card game set upMaybe it’s just that we were already tired after a long week, but I have to say my biggest complaint is the length of time it took to play this game. The instructions say to play until one of the players hits $1000. The person with the lowest amount tallied wins. The instructions also say it’s a game for 2-8 people and will be 25 minutes long… No. Not with two people at least.

I played with my Fiancè and it took at least an hour and a half to get to 700 points. With two people, I’d say 500 would have been a fair place to stop. The reality is, if you MUST use all 8 cards toward the target number – it takes a lot longer to acquire every card you need than the instructions would suggest. Not to mention all the time you inevitably take to make your move in the first place.

Realistically people will count and recount their cards each turn, adding time to every round. It is a mentally exhausting game to play with an objective that takes a very long time to get to.  Any given turn may result in $150 worth of points racked up against you or an opponent, but they could be as little as $30 or $60 too. Unless you’re playing with a larger group, I do not suggest you try to play with 2 people unless you are able to count like a wizard and enforce some kind of time limit per turn.

Final Word

I definitely enjoyed the idea of Cha Ching! (and the first 30-45 minutes of play) but I definitely can’t recommend it for two players- anyway. I am slightly glad I didn’t pay the $12 to own this one right out the gate (thank you, BGE!)…
I think we all know games are naturally more fun with larger groups of people, but if a game is going to be extremely time consuming and tedious with a couple players it shouldn’t be advertised otherwise. I’d have appreciated a reference to ways that could have improved the experience with two people.

Beyond the fact that the game took a long time to play, I always have to be honest with myself after playing a game for the first time. I ask myself a very simple question, will I try to get my friends to play this with me? So far, I’ve brought friends over our place to play 2 of the last 4 games I’ve played. The truth is, I think I’d rather move on to a game I haven’t played with my friends before I’d suggest this one…Which brings me back to the familial and educational value. Parents and their kids are definitely the target demographic here and will definitely get more out of it than I could. I think the younger players will get a thrill from the challenge of However, imagining myself down the road with a family of my own, I just may end up playing it again after all!

 

1-4 Too Much Awful
5-7.5- Not so Awesome
7.6-8.5 Almost awesome
8.6-9.4 – Awesome!
9.5-10- Totally Awesome!
6.3 Not so Awesome

I am actually surprised Cha Ching! rated as low as it did - but I was simply filling out my criteria honestly. The concept was good and intriguing but there wasn't much to look at - notice my lack of imagery on this post? The rounds went on for a very long time- and the game itself had just a few twists that for two people- were too far and few between. I do suggest this as a family game for pre-teens as a entertaining way to sharpen their minds, not so much for a fun night in with a board game. Not a bad game just not compatible with my ideal game.

  • Concept: 7
  • Presentation: 7
  • Longevity: 4
  • Gameplay: 7
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