We’ve all had that feeling of Deja Vu. We walk into a room and our brain tells us that we have been here before. Sometimes we have and sometimes our brain is just playing tricks on us. For me, it is often like that with games. With over 500 games in my collection plus hundreds more that I’ve seen but never made it to my bookshelf, I’m accustomed to seeing games that look a lot like other games. Very few games are completely new. Often it’s a refinement of a game element. Other times is a novel combination of existing elements. Sometimes it’s just a copycat.
I recently picked up a copy of Mio by Reiner Knizia at JR in Burlington. It was a most pleasant surprise to see a bunch of European imports. At $2.50 I couldn’t resist. Knizia is one the top game designers of all time. He has given us treasures such as RA, Ingenious, Lost Cities and dozens more.
It was dinnertime and Amy and I decided to stop at Steak and Shake for dinner. We often break out a card game while waiting for our food and this looked like a good choice. I opened the box and started to read the rules. Then a weird feeling came over me. Amy said it was probably just hunger and it would pass once I got a burger and milkshake in my belly. It wasn’t hunger, it was that feeling of Deja Vu again. I was sure that I had seen this game before, or was it just a hunger induced mirage?
Uno, I mean Mio is a simple card game where the object to the be the first player to get rid of all of their cards. There were cards numbered 1 through 5 in different colors. In addition, the deck had star cards in the different colors along with 5 jokers. The game play was simple. In Uno, I mean Mio each player tries to discard a card that matches either the color or number of the previous card. If a player doesn’t have a card to play, the must draw from the deck until the get a card that can be played. The first one to get rid of all their cards wins the round. Uno’s, I mean Mio’s scoring was simple. After one player ends the round, by discarding their last card, the other players get points for cards left in their hands. The winner in Uno, I mean Mio is the player with the fewest points.
Our milkshakes arrived and I put the game down long enough to satisfy my stomach. I still had that feeling of Deja Vu. Uno, I mean Mio looked so familiar, but I just couldn’t place it. I continued reading. “Just before a player discards his second to last card, he has to announce it by crying “UNO!” I mean “MIO!”. Amy said “Oh, so when you have 1 card left you need to announce it, just like in Uno”. That was it. I had seen it before. It was just a rip-off of Uno.
Our burgers arrived and the game went back in the bag. After a nice burger and fries I felt much better.I highly recommend the milkshakes at Steak and Shake. Mio, on the other hand, well let’s just say stick with Uno.