Everyone likes llamas! In the speedy card game Lama, the llama isn’t just the mascot for the game but also provides the German acronym “Lege alle Minuspunkte ab” (something like “Leave All your Minus points Aside”). Behind this slogan lies a simple principle for how to play your cards. You can only play a card with the same number or a number one higher than the card already on the table. The Llama cards are the bridge between the six and the one cards. When a player lays the last card in their hand, everyone else has to add up minus points for their remaining cards. So far, so ordinary, but the game causes so much emotion and so many moments of excitement one after the other. This comes from the special llama-mathematics, meaning it’s sometimes worth passing, even though you have a hand full of cards. And often the winner of one round will then get ten minus points in the next.
Designer Reiner Knizia has cleverly distilled the principles of card-laying games to their very essence. What appears at first to be something of a trivial exercise unfolds through the minimalist scoring to reveal an enthralling game that you just can’t pull yourself away from. The game creates an emotional response in players of all age groups and consistently delivers a fun playing experience. It’s this quality that gives Lama its potential to become a classic.