The father-son New Years’ resolution of playing at least one new board or card game each week of 2021 got off to a quick start on New Years Day with Pic Flip. The idea was to play one new game each week of the year, but we happened to play another new game Sunday night so what the hell, maybe we’ll do as many as we want whenever we want.
The Game: Dos
Players: 2… John (6) and me (38)
Date: Sunday, January 3, 2021, 7:50-8:20pm
Dos, like Pic Flip, was one of eight card games that came in a Costco combo back which John received for Christmas from Santa. The game states that it is intended for ages 7+ and 2-4 players. John is only 6, but is pretty sharp, so I had no doubt he would be able to play Dos, especially since he beat four adults in a game of Uno just three days ago.
I had never played Dos before, but given that it appeared to be directly related to Uno and included the same lettering and branding on the package, I assumed it would be a similar version of the game. I had to take five minutes and study the rules beforehand, and was surprised to find out it isn’t as much like Uno as I had thought!
Instead of a single card laid face-up in the center of the table, there are at least two. And while the rule about matching numbers is the same, you can’t match solely on color. However, you can combine two cards in your hand that add up to one of the numbers in the center. Also, you can play multiple hands if possible, using up each of the two cards in the center. There are also number-color bonuses and two different wild cards to add to the confusion.
The rules say the first player to reach 200 points wins, but we were getting close to bedtime on his first day back to school since well before Christmas, so I cut it short and said first to 50.
How Dos Went
To my surprise, John picked up on the rules immediately, and we only had to refer back to the instructions a couple times when some odd scenarios came up. We played one practice round with our cards spread out on the table just to be sure, and then we were off playing for real.
Unlike Pic Flip, John didn’t need to bend too many rules to get by. The one exception was whenever a player had two cards in hand, they are supposed to yell “Dos!” John never remembered to do it, and I constantly would be like, “ahem… how many cards you got there dude?” One time I finally called him on it, but then to my surprise he called me on it to even things out.
The “Dos!” thing aside, John legitimately won the first round, 21-0. His hand was empty while I was left holding a few cards. I won the next round, making it 21-10. John added 16 on his next turn, making it 37-10. I scored 11 on my next turn making it 38-21. John won again, making it 45-21.
With a sizable lead and needing only one more decent hand to claim victory, the six-year-old began laughing and boasting that he was sure to win against his 38-year-old father. I figured there was a pretty good chance that, if truly needed, I could win a game at will. Though it is largely a game of chance, when you’re playing against a child, there is still a way to take it up a notch. And I did just that, turning in a gut-wrenching victory that gave me a 49-45 lead.
Despite the game being very much alive, John was incensed, and the meltdown began. He began screaming and bawling hysterically, certain he would lose the next game and go down in defeat. I told him that a) the game was very much alive for him and b) even if he did lose the next one, it was really impressive that a first grader was this competitive in a game that requires quick math skills against an adult. It made no difference as the tears rolled down his face.
I dealt the cards and we played a tough game, at one point there being 7 center cards. But John came up with a clutch double color bonus and dropped all of his remaining five cards on a single hand, racking up a huge 68-49 win. Dare I say, a legitimate win even? John was ecstatic, rubbing it in my face with a “boogie down” dance and finger-pointing, before Mama, who was sitting nearby playing Nintendo, reminded him about being a good winner. John then came over and shook my hand before continuing his celebration.
The Stats (1-10 Rating Scale)
Ease: 6/10. The rules took some getting used to, but once we were in the groove it was almost as easy as Uno.
Entertainment: 7/10. It was very engaging, fast-paced, and made us both do a little bit of thinking.
Meltdown Factor: 8/10. In games that rely largely on chance, John felt especially hopeless when I took that late 49-45 lead, leading to his dramatic meltdown.
Time: 9/10. The game was super fast-paced. Some rounds lasted just a couple minutes. However, if we were playing with four players and going up to 200, it could be a drag.
Likelihood of Child Actually Beating Parent: 7/10. Yes, John did beat me, but there was part of me that felt like I was holding back a little, and I did have to remind him about that Dos rule. And several times he was quick to concede and draw, and I would say “are you sure you don’t have two cards that add up to 10?” and on second glance he would.
Really solid game for parents to play with kids of that age, I’d say! More interesting than Uno, for sure. And the kid has to use his brain a little rather than blindly matching numbers and colors. Definitely a game we’ll keep in the rotation. I do need to work on these meltdowns anytime he’s losing, though. I’ve tried every which way—make sure he never falls behind, be very gentle and consoling, don’t give it any attention and just move on, etc. But apparently I was the same way or worse as a kid, according to my mom, so… who knows.
John has been playing Uno since he was 4, so it was clear he’d pick up on a variation quickly. He clearly took to this game right away and mostly legitimately won without any help from an adult, so it stands to reason he had a good time playing.
John leads 2-0, winning Pic Flip and Dos.