Ultimatch review

Ultimatch Review

During our trip to Origins Game Fair this year, we dropped by the Fireside Games booth to check out Ultimatch. We had heard about this cooperative card game and wanted to know more. The game supports 1 to 5 players as they work their way up the pyramid, clearing out and revealing new levels of cards. Let’s see if we’re up to the challenge to beat this colorful card matching game.

Ultimatch - players hand

A Colorful Display

A game of Ultimatch starts with building out a pyramid of cards in the center of the table based on the number of players at the table. Each player will have a hand of cards spanning 6 colors from the number 1 to 8. There will be a line of cards below the pyramid that players will contribute to called the Alta-Hand. This is a set of face up cards that are available to anyone at the table as they try to chip away at the pyramid.

Ultimatch - pyramid

On a players turn, they can trade a card with another player without revealing its value before the trade. This step is optional at the start of the turn. Players will use 1 or 2 cards from their hand or the Alta-Hand in order to match a face up card in the pyramid. Eliminate cards to reveal the face down cards on the row above, opening the door for new matches to be made.

Players can make a match that is based on the card number or the card color. Or, match both the color and number for an Ultimatch. Cards can be combined (number and/or color) to make these matches. For instance, a blue card and a red card can be used to eliminate a purple card. Cards with a value of 2 and a value of 3 can be used to eliminate a card with a value of 5.

Ultimatch - purple Ultimatch

When an Ultimatch is made, the player receives 2 new cards from the deck, placing 1 in the Alta-Hand and the other in their hand. If you cannot make any type of match on your turn (or have an empty hand), you can pass and collect 1 card from the draw pile.

Taking Down the Pyramid

Ultimatch is a tight and puzzley game where new cards are rare and it’s easy to burn through your hand and the Alta-Hand. Communication is limited in the game because players cannot share the info that’s in their hand or the value of a card involved in a trade. It may take a couple games to get in sync with other players, but it’s incredibly satisfying when it happens.

Ultimatch - gameplay

Each player can only eliminate a single card from the pyramid on their turn. Ultimatch may start off slow, but the game has a nice pace as you chip away at the pyramid. You won’t reach the top unless you and the other players make strong matches and important trades.

Each time we play Ultimatch, we learn a little more and feel more confident going into the next game. A single game of Ultimatch will play in around 20 minutes and resetting for another game is quick and painless. The first time we won a game, we had 3 players at the table and failed 3 times before taking down the pyramid. Everyone got excited to try again with a new set of cards.

Final Thoughts

Ultimatch is a great card game for people who enjoy a good cooperative puzzle. Every card and icon is straight-forward and playing at different player counts offer a new challenge. It’s one of the few games that I will actually play as a solo experience because of its puzzley nature.

Ultimatch - alta-hand

If you’re looking for a colorful, affordable, cooperative card game to jump into, Ultimatch should absolutely make its way into your collection.

You can purchase Ultimatch from your local game store, the Fireside Games webstore, or online through Amazon today.

This game was provided to us by the publisher for review. Read more about our review policies at One Board Family.

Highs

  • Combining cards to make matches offer lots of flexibility
  • Creating an Ultimatch gives players new card options
  • A very satisfying solo card game

Lows

  • Players can miss combinations if they aren’t paying attention

Complexity

1.5 out of 5

Time Commitment

1.5 out of 5

Replayability

3 out of 5

Ryan Gutowski

I'm a huge fan of strategy games and pretty much anything that involves "city building". My love of board games goes back to my childhood and passion for building relationships with others.

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