This simple game aims to blend tactical choices with dexterity, and requires you to balance the risk of stacking cubes on the tallest tower against the reward of getting the highest valued cards on the table. (And yes, the name is a tribute to John Cleese and Connie Booth)

At a glance:

2-8 players

30 minutes

Complexity: Low

Components used:

All cards

All cubes

Setup:

fawlty_1
Setup ready for any number of players

Shuffle the cards and place 4 columns of 6 cards face up on the table. Put the rest of the deck on one side which will be the “top” of the 4 columns.

Take one cube of each colour and place them near the cards as the base of 4 towers to be built. The towers are not related to the columns of cards. Keep the rest of the cubes available in a common pile.

Play:

Taking turns, each player takes one cube of their choice and places it on top of one of the 4 towers. After placing the cube, the player is allowed to take a card from the table of the same colour as the placed cube. You can always take the bottom card of any column, but in order to take a card higher up you must make sure the tower you build on includes one cube of the corresponding colour for each card in the column below the one you want to take.

So if you want the fifth card from a column, and this is red. The four other cards below include one yellow, two blues and a green. To get the red card, you must place a red cube onto a tower that already contains at least one yellow, two blue and one green cube, in any order. If no such tower exists you have no way of getting the red card this round.

Special rules for white and black cards: Both black and white count as wild colours, meaning they can be taken regardless of which colour cube you placed. For the white cards, you can also use any colour in a tower in order to move past the white card to take a card higher up. The black cards, however, you can not move past. So while you can take a black card in the normal way, you can not take any card higher up in the column before the black card has been taken.

If any cubes fall off the tower, then the whole tower must be removed from the table. You are then allowed to place a single cube on the table as the base of a new tower, and to take a card of the corresponding colour from the bottom of any column.

Once a player has taken a card, the other card in the column are moved down, and a new card is added to the top.

Winner:

The game ends when two of the columns are empty. Then each player sums up their score:

Each card is worth points equal to the printed number on the card.

Each set of 3 equal symbols is worth 5 bonus points, and each set of 5 symbols is worth a total of 10 bonus points.

Variation:

For a simpler game, remove all black cards from the deck before you start.