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Got a few minutes? Then I'll tell you about the small box card game, Kotakote from Djeco, and we can probably fit in a couple of plays while I do so, too. Yup, it's that quick!

Kotakote by Sébastien Decad has very particular artistic design by Gaia Stella because therein lies the crux of the game. Each of the 2-6 players takes a set of four cards which, on one side, have geometrically designed cartoons and, on the other, four geometric shapes in different colours. Each round, one of the 30 Challenge cards is revealed showing one or two pictures (depending on difficulty) made up of a cartoon and a shape. The first player to match the picture(s) on the card with their Kotakote cards takes it. Five cards taken wins the whole game and there's time left over to discuss the pros and cons of Electoral Colleges.

Speed games are not everyone's cup of sencha; nor is pattern matching. Given that, I can understand why some would pass this by. But in the proper setting - a family game day, or kids in need of distraction - Kotakote works its frantic formula well on a willing audience. If the next objective card is revealed immediately, the game can be a fairly breathless few minutes of flipping and rotating the cards in your hand trying to find the exact combination of two or four cards to match the picture(s) on the table.

The speed and pattern matching aspects, along with the Japanese name, will draw comparison to the more rules-laden Shiba Inu House (Renegade Game Studios), but this felt more like the spiritual twin of Ghost Blitz (Devir/999 Games), which offers a similarly speed-of-thought experience, only without the probability of injury. That said, the physicality here is in your hand rather than on the table and it's usually fairly clear who calls 'Kotakote!' first to declare themselves the round's winner (assuming your opponents don't concede, of course).

Right, if your attention is wavering by now, you're probably in the target audience for Kotakote, so think quickly about picking it up, turning it around, turning it over, and finding the right combination of players for a good time.

(Review by David Fox)

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