Abandon All Artichokes
“Abandon All Artichokes: A Heartless Card Game” is a deck-building (or as the makers say, “deck-wrecking”) card game for two to four players in which the players try to build up their personal decks with vegetables and toss out their artichokes as soon as possible. On a turn, players have a hand of five cards from their own personal deck. They pick one of the garden row cards, and then try to play any advantageous vegetable cards from their own hand. Each vegetable type is unique, allowing players to discard artichokes permanently to the compost pile, add garden stack vegetables to their personal deck, claim cards from other players (sometimes at the risk of getting an extra artichoke), and pass cards to other players (sometimes at the risk of losing a garden vegetable). At the end of each turn, a player discards everything left in their hand and draws five fresh cards from their personal deck, reshuffling the discard pile into the deck as needed. If all five cards drawn from the personal deck are artichoke-free, the player calls out “Abandon All Artichokes!” and wins the game.
In play we quickly realized there were two strategies, that of discarding artichoke cards as quickly as possible, thus eliminating the opportunity to draw them; or that of collecting as many vegetables as possible, thus making the chances of drawing vegetables from one’s personal deck higher. Ideally one can pursue both goals at the same time, but most cards favor either one direction or the other. Recognizing which way a fellow player is leaning at any time can help one’s own strategies, and it is possible for a player to become gleefully “heartless” toward one’s opponents as well as literally heartless in one’s card deck. In a two player game, there’s a greater element of luck — so the choice of vegetables to play becomes even more crucial.
Not only is the game concept well-designed, but visually Abandon All Artichokes is a delight. A game doesn’t have to look good to be fun to play, but it certainly adds to the enjoyment. A quick and enjoyable game for social family times.
Emily Crawford ©2020 Parents’ Choice
Emily holds a BSE in electrical engineering and computer science from Duke University and a Master’s in computer engineering from Georgia Tech. She is a homeschooling parent and lives with her husband, three children, five cats, and thousands of LEGOs in Blacksburg, Virginia.