(2013 – Granna, Passport Game Studios)
“Curriculum Vitae”. Of Latin origin, it translates to “course of life”. In our modern day, a CV is a document usually more detailed than your standard resume. It encompasses a person’s achievements in their lifetime, whether it be from their work history, education, or personal experiences. Designed by Filip Milunski (Vampire Empire, Magnum Sal), the game CV works to provide a player with a character as they experience life from an early age all the way through their golden years. Players will roll a set of dice in the form of a Yahtzee-style mechanic, and use the final rolled facings to draft cards from a tableau on the game board. Cards are revealed on the tableau in stages, beginning with early adulthood, then middle age, and finally old age cards. These cards are further divided into categories including a character’s knowledge, relationships, health, work history, possessions, and events. Most of these cards contain bonuses that players will be able to include with future die rolls on their turn. There are multiple ways for a player to collect Victory Points, from collecting possessions, completing certain life goals, and building the most impressive CV amongst their knowledge, health, and relationships.
– CV game board
– Life Goal cards
– Childhood cards
– Early Adulthood cards
– Middle Age cards
– Old Age cards
– Summary cards
– CV dice
– CV tokens
The main game board for CV includes pre-printed references for where the different types of cards are to be placed during setup. During the game, players will experience different stages of their life from toddler to retiree. Each main stage of life has a separate card deck; Childhood, Early Adulthood, Middle Age, and Old Age. The Early Adulthood, Middle Age, and Old Age decks are shuffled and placed on the top spaces of the board from left to right. The top five cards from the Early Adulthood deck are then drawn and placed in the five spaces along the life track at the bottom portion of the board.
Each player will begin the game with a random Life Goal card dealt to them. This card represents a player’s ambition for what they want to accomplish in life. If completed by the end of the game, the player will score a number of bonus Victory Points, as listed on the card. While the Life Goal card in hand is for that player only, a number of public Life Goal cards are dealt and placed on the game board to the right of the Life Stage cards, depending on the number of players in the game. One public Life Goal card in a 2-player game, two cards in a 3-player game, and three cards in a 4-player game.
Players will also have a hand of Childhood cards to begin with at the start of the game. These don’t contain great skills, but are something the player can start with in order to build to better skills and accomplishments. Each player is dealt three Childhood cards at the beginning of the game. They will then choose one, and pass the other two to the player on their left. Then they’ll choose one amongst the two passed to them, passing the remaining one to the player on their left. Players now have the three Childhood cards that they’ll begin the game with (along with the previously received Life Goal card).
One of these Childhood cards is the Bicycle card. A major memory and accomplishment for most people in their childhood was the ability to learn how to ride a bike. This player receives the Bicycle token, places the Bicycle card out in front of them (worth 1 Victory Point at the end of the game, if still active) and is considered the Start player. It is possible for the player to lose this card during the game, therefore the Bicycle token will remind everyone that he is still the Start player.
Finally, all remaining Life Goal and Childhood cards not being used by players are discarded from the game, and the CV dice and tokens are placed near the main game board. Each player also receives a Summary card. After setup is complete, the play area should look something like this:
Before I get into the various steps of a player’s turn, I first want to take a look at the anatomy of a CV card, and the card types available in the game. Each Life Stage card in CV contains the skill icons needed to acquire the card (the cost), located on the top portion of the card, and the skills and abilities provided by the card when it is active, listed on the bottom of the card.
For instance, taking a look at the “College Friends” card, we can see that a player would need to spend an active “relationship” and “knowledge” icon in order to obtain this card. Once obtained, and if active, the College Friends card will allow the player to obtain any future Knowledge type cards for one less icon than normally required.
There are six different types of CV cards that will be revealed from the various Life Stage decks, and each of these types can help to provide something different to players. The first three types are Health (orange) cards, Knowledge (green) cards, and Relationship (purple) cards. At the end of the game, players will earn a number of Victory Points depending on how many of each of these card types they’ve obtained.
Health cards are normally related to healthy living and outdoor leisure activities, and will help to provide additional health icons and mitigating bad luck (which I’ll cover when discussing the die rolling aspect of the game). The “Bike Instead of Car” health card, seen above, is found in the middle age Life Stage deck and will provide a player with a health icon and one extra die reroll when active.
Knowledge cards normally relate to educational advancement and life skills. Cards of this type will help with providing additional knowledge icons as well as helping to convert die facing results. A PhD can be obtained during early adulthood, and as long as it remains active will provide the player an extra die to roll each turn.
Relationship cards normally relate to, well, relationships that players will form over their lifetimes. These cards will usually provide additional relationship and/or good luck icons. Found in the early adulthood deck, having a Child will provide a player with an additional relationship and good luck icon. However, children aren’t cheap. Therefore, the player will need to spend a money icon in order to keep this card active.
The next type of card is the Work (blue) card. Players will earn no Victory Points for these cards at the end of the game, as the previous three types did (unless their Life Goal card requires Work cards). However, Work cards normally provide additional money icons, which are required to obtain Possession cards (I’ll look at these next). Work cards are directly related to the player’s current career. As seen above, getting a Job at Dad’s Company requires a lot of contacts (three relationship icons to be exact), but while it is the player’s active job, it will provide three money icons. Though it also gains the player a bad luck icon, because we all loathe the guy that was promoted past us because of family connections.
Possession (yellow) cards are items that players can buy throughout their lifetimes such as cars, homes, entertainment centers, etc. Each Possession card provides the player with a number of Victory Points at the end of the game, as printed directly on the card. Players can purchase a House in the Mountains from the old age Life Stage deck. While active it will provide a health icon to the player, and at the end of the game it will provide five Victory Points.
Finally, Event (gray) cards are a bit different from the other card types. Instead of laying these cards in play after purchasing, these cards go into a players hand. He can then choose to play Event cards from his hand at any time during his turn in order to gain the benefit listed on the card. For instance, a player will need to spend two Good Luck icons in order to obtain the Lottery Jackpot event card. He can then save this card for later in the game, playing it to immediately gain five money icons (which could be useful when wanting to purchase that House in the Mountains).
Now that we’ve taken a look at the types of cards that will be available for players to purchase during the game, let’s take a look at what happens during a player’s turn. Each turn consists of five phases; the Die Phase, the Card Phase, the Bad Luck Phase, the CV Phase, and the Cleanup Phase.
I. The Die Phase – The first thing a player will do on his turn, is roll the CV dice. A player will normally roll four of these dice, unless he has active cards that provide additional dice. Since there are seven dice in the game, a player can never exceed this amount. Each die contains six unique facings; Health, Knowledge, Relationship, Money, Good Luck, and Bad Luck. Die rolling is resolved using a Yahtzee-style mechanic, in which the player can roll the dice, then choose to re-roll any number of the dice two more times. It’s important to note however, that any time a Bad Luck die is rolled, that dice can not be re-rolled.
For instance, early in the game after Player A rolls his four dice, resulting in a Good luck icon, a Health icon, and two Relationship icons. Deciding to keep the Good luck icon, he rolls the other three dice, resulting a Health icon, a Knowledge icon, and a Bad Luck icon (seen below). Since he can’t re-roll the Bad Luck icon, and is otherwise satisfied with his remaining Good Luck icon, Health icon, and Knowledge icon, he decides to forfeit his final re-roll.
II. The Card Phase – Players will now be able to purchase up to two CV cards from the game board, paying the cards cost from icons from their rolled die facings as well as any active cards. If players had three Good Luck icons, they could choose to purchase any card available without needing the required icons. They could then use their other rolled die facings and active card icons when purchasing their 2nd card. Cards are considered “active” if you can see the bottom of the card’s bonuses. Players can have any number of a certain type of CV card in play, however only the one shown at the bottom is considered “active” as far as being able to use its listed ability. To help keep track of which icons players are using to purchase cards from the game board, CV comes with an assortment of tokens that contain the different CV icons on them. This way, players can physically place the token underneath the card they wish to buy, along with any die facings they are using, without having to remove the CV cards from their play area.
For instance, following Player A’s die roll we can see that he is a Blood Donor, which provides him with a Relationship token. Combined with his die rolls, he now has a Good Luck icon, a Health icon, a Knowledge icon, and a Relationship icon to spend. The Bad Luck die does nothing for him right now.
Taking a look at the card row, Player A decides that he wants to purchase the College Friends card, along with the Intern card. He places the Good Luck die, Knowledge die, and Health die underneath the Intern card, according to its cost. He then places his Relationship token he earns from his Blood Donor card underneath the College Friends card.
It seems that he would be short the extra Knowledge icon required to purchase this College Friends card, however he has decided to play his Top Student event card, which immediately provides him with a Knowledge token (only for this one-time purchase). He then will discard the Top Student card from his hand and collect both the College Friends and Intern cards.
III. The Bad Luck Phase – If a player has three active Bad Luck icons on his turn (whether from dice or active cards), he will resolve the misfortune effect at this point of his turn. A player with three Bad Luck icons must remove an Active CV card from his play area, removing this card from the game.
The player can choose which card to remove, but it must be an active card (one that shows the card’s ability). For instance, taking a look below, if this player earned misfortune and was forced to remove a active card from play, it would need to be either the Healthy Diet, Memory Master, Boardgame Club, Manager, or Yacht card. When making this decision, players must keep in mind that after removing a card, the card immediately underneath it will become the new active card of that type. So that may effect which card a player chooses to remove.
IV. The CV Phase – At this point, players will need to put their purchased cards into their play area, which the rulebook references as the player’s CV. There are placement rules according to particular card types which players must adhere to. When placing the Health, Knowledge, and Relationship cards, the player has a choice whether to place the newly purchased card on top of the others of that type (making it the active card) or placing it underneath, keeping the current card active. Work and Possession cards however, are always placed on top of their stack as the active card. Thematically, this makes sense as players will advance to better jobs and careers during the progression of the game.
Later in the game we can see Player A‘s current CV. After purchasing the Professor knowledge card, he has a choice of whether to place it down as his active Knowledge card, or placing it behind one of the knowledge cards, keeping the Magician ability active. The ability to perform magic awards him with being able to switch one icon into another icon, once per turn (the Joker icon means “any” icon).
However, the Professor ability will be better for end-game scoring purposes, as it allows this card to count as two Knowledge cards when scoring end-game Victory Points for the Knowledge stack. Player A chooses to cover the Magician with this new Professor card, making it active. It seems his passion for teaching others in a college setting is more important than his hobby of performing magic.
V. The Cleanup Phase – After the player has resolved the CV phase of his turn, he will shift all remaining cards on the game board track to the left, and deal new cards face-up to fill the empty spaces. If the current player is the last player to take a turn before the Start Player (player with the Bicycle token), then it is the end of a Round.
At the end of each Round, before new cards are added to the game board, the leftmost card on the track is also removed. Once the Early Adulthood cards are depleted, players will draw new cards from the Middle Age deck, then the Old Age deck.
Whenever a deck runs out, the game will temporarily pause and players will check to see if anyone receives social assistance. If another player has at least twice as many CV cards overall in their play area than him, that player can choose any face-up card from the game board without needing to pay its cost. This is a catch-up mechanic implemented in the game. Its essentially welfare. Convenient for those that receive it, and annoying to those that watch them receive it. Thematically ingenious.
When dealing new cards to the game board, if there is ever more players in the game than Old Age cards in the draw deck, the game immediately ends. Players will individually earn Victory Points for their Health, Knowledge, and Relationship cards in the following way:
– 2 cards of a type is worth 3 Victory Points
– 3 cards of a type is worth 6 Victory Points
– 4 cards of a type is worth 10 Victory Points
– 5 cards of a type is worth 15 Victory Points
– 6 cards of a type is worth 21 Victory Points
– 7 cards of a type is worth 28 Victory Points
– 8 cards of a type is worth 36 Victory Points
– 9 cards of a type is worth 45 Victory Points
– 10 cards of a type is worth 55 Victory Points
Players will also add all Victory Points from their Possession cards to their total, as well as any points scored from their revealed Life Goal card. The player who best achieved each public Life Goal card will also score Victory Points from it. The player with the highest number of Victory Points at the end of the game, wins. Though not stated anywhere in the rulebook, we’ve been using the player’s total to represent how long of a life they lived. A bit morbid, yet humorous, and just another added thematic element to the game.
Taking a look below we can see that Player A ended up with 6 points from Health cards, 15 points from Knowledge cards, 10 points for his Relationship cards, 23 points from his Possession cards, 8 points from his private Life Goal. Unfortunately, he was not the best at completing any of the public Life Goal cards on the game board. Therefore, Player A ended with a total of 62 points.
Since games such as King of Tokyo have reminded us all of how interesting the die rolling mechanic from Yahtzee can be if used properly, there have been many games that have recently embraced this mechanic (Elder Sign, Dice Town, Alea Iacta Est, and Bang: the Dice Game just to name a few). CV uses this roll and re-roll mechanic, but includes a deeper card-building element that isn’t necessarily found in many of these others.
One of the reasons I’ve found that CV works well is because there’s a direct correlation between the bonuses on cards becoming more powerful over time in relation to the player’s character aging and “gaining” more life experiences. I also find it interesting in regards to the knowledge, health, and relationship cards, that players have a choice of which card takes priority over another when placing it. We’re all required to organize things in our lives with different sets of priorities, and CV forces the player to do so as well. A player gaining the “Marriage” card will need to decide if the bonus from that card is more important than his currently active “College Friends” relationship card. While he’ll have both cards in his relationship set for end-game scoring purposes, he’ll need to decide now which given bonus is more important. It can make for some pretty funny instances, but overall it holds true to our everyday lives. I find that both engaging as a player, and an amazing aspect of game design.
The various cards that a player collects over the course of the game helps to tell his own personal story. While the game is a solid blend of die-rolling and set collection mechanics, a group that is willing to play up the theme and embrace the story that their player is living through can take CV to a completely different level. Jobs and Possessions improve over time, so as you work your way up from Intern, to Manager, to CEO, you may also see yourself upgrade from a Bicycle, to a Used Car, to a Sports Car, or an Inherited Apartment, to a House in the Countryside, to a Mansion.
At the end of the game, you’ll have a chance to look back at your life, reminiscing upon all the different major events that occurred. Was you life and happiness focused on collecting various possessions more than it was balancing your health, knowledge, and relationships? Were you able to follow through with your life goals before the end? It’s these nice little implementations that helps CV come together in a connected way with the individual player that many other games aren‘t able to. A great mixture of social elements, Yahtzee-style die-rolling mechanics, and set collection.