Asmadi Games: Innovation – Review

July 4, 2011

Publisher Asmadi Games
Genre Card
Number of Players 2 to 4 players
Play Time 30 minutes
Initial Review Date 7/3/11
Last Updated 7/3/11
Click here to Play

Innovation is an interesting little game. It is sort of what you would get if you turned flux into a civilization building game. During each turn you get 2 actions and you can either draw a card, play a card or use a card that is in play. The last part is when things get weird. This is because every card you play has a color and a series of symbols on the front. Additionally, each card has 1 or more “abilities”. There are two types of abilities

  • General “shared” abilities
  • “I demand” abilities

Many of the later cards seem to have both of these. When  you choose to use a card you activate every single ability the card has and you do them in order. however, each ability is tied to a symbol and so when you use the ability you have to compare it to the symbols everyone else has. Then depending on if it’s a shared ability or an “I demand” ability one of several things happens.

“Shared” abilities

If someone else has as many or more of the symbol than you do, then they get to do the ability first.. Anyone who does not have as many of the symbol as you do or more does not get to do the ability

“I demand” abilities

These abilities are usually stated to be something like “I demand you give me 2 cards” or something along those lines. All players who have the same or more of the symbol may ignore this demand. All players who have fewer symbols then you must follow the demand.

Color Melds, Splaying and Tucking

Now, as I mentioned before there are 5 colors in the game. Additionally, each card has various symbols on it. When you play a card if you do not currently have any cards of that color down then the card simply goes in front of you. If however, you already have a card with that color, the new card is placed directly on top of the old card replacing it. This is referred to as melding.

Something else that can happen in the game is splaying. A card ability may tell you to splay cards of a certain color or that you may choose to splay cards of a color of your choice. What this means is that y ou shift all of the cards 1 symbol in the direction indicated. In this way the cards that were underneath are partially revealed allowing you to regain the associated symbols. The card on top is still dominant and only it’s ability may be played but the cards below now augment what symbols you have shown which can affect which abilities you and other players may participate in.

This is why another action called tucking can be useful. What tucking means is that instead of playing a card on top of your stack the card gets played to the bottom of a stack. In this way it’s symbols augment what you already have in play (if the stack has been splayed).


Now, if that wasn’t confusing enough winning is also kind of strange. In the game there are a number of achievement cards which can be acquired. Some are acquired by having points and others are acquired by completing certain actions. The first person to get 4 of these achievements wins the game. Because many of the achievements are point based in a way you could say the person with the most points wins but it’s not really a given. In fact depending on how things go the winner could end up being the player with the fewest points.

Overall, it’s the sort of game that I think takes a couple of plays to really fully grasp. It does however require quite a bit to thinking as I constantly found myself trying to figure out not so much if a given action would be beneficial to me but if I could do it without someone else benefiting from it even more, since so much of what you do often other players also get to do.

I would say give it a try if you have the opportunity, just if you do play it be ready for a lot of heavy thinking and feeling somewhat lost at first and this is coming from someone who won their first game. 😛


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