Slide 5 (a.k.a. 6 Nimmt!) is another recent game acquisition that somewhat falsely claims to be playable with two players. While Bohnanza mostly failed to live up to its promise, Slide 5 is just plain bad with only two.
I picked up Slide 5 because of its reputation as a good filler. It’s quick, it scales to as many as ten people, and its rules can be explained in about three minutes. I’m expecting that it may go over well during an upcoming family vacation (five or six players), but in the meantime it will sit on the shelf.
For a full rules description, watch Tom Vasel’s fairly positive review. For our purposes, it’s enough to say that players simultaneously reveal cards from their hand, which get played to the four stacks of cards on the table. If a player causes one of those stacks to exceed five cards, he must take it, which gives him points (which are bad).
From what I can tell, the joy of this game comes from the unpredictability of where cards will be played, and therefore which stacks will “avalanche” at six cards. With enough players, that could be any one at any time, but with only two cards coming out a turn it’s a rare, predictable, and annoyingly-unavoidable occurrence.
In his review, Tom Vasel mentioned that some players even claim that Slide 5 actually has no strategy, but they enjoy playing and tossing out random cards anyway. Cait at least felt that after five rounds she had no more idea of how she should be playing than when we started.
In a social setting, I can understand how the chaos and the laughter and the oh-no-I-just-got-screwed gameplay could be a lot of fun. With the right crowd at the right time, I’d definitely like to try it out. While I think that there are some plays that are better than others, the decisions are light enough and the deal of the cards is influential enough that two players are probably better off playing War. It at least won’t discourage them with the pretense of choice.