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Official Overlap Rules

Overlap is a domino-style card game that combines spatial reasoning and color matching for a deceptively simple yet strategically deep experience. Here's how to play:

Objective

Maximize your score by strategically placing cards to create the most color connections at the end of the game.

Setup

1. Shuffle the Deck: Thoroughly mix the deck of Overlap cards and place it face down within reach of all players.


2. Draw Starting Hands: Deal a set number of cards (usually 5-7) to each player, keeping them face down in your hand.


3. Scoring Tokens (Optional): If your version uses scoring tokens, distribute a set amount to each player.

Gameplay

The game follows a turn-based structure with strategic card placement:

1. Draw Cards (Optional):

  • At the beginning of your turn, you can choose to draw three cards from the deck to replenish your hand to the starting number (check your specific game instructions). You can skip drawing if you prefer to keep your current hand.

2. Play a Card:

  • The core mechanic of Overlap revolves around playing cards from your hand onto a central playing area.  Here's where the strategy comes in:

    • Placement Rule: You can only place a card if at least one of its colored squares overlaps an empty space on a card already played in the central area. You cannot completely cover an existing card.

    • Connecting Colors Score Nothing:  However, if any of the colored squares on your played card overlap with the same color on another card already played, those connections score nothing.

3. The Key to Scoring:

  • The strategic element comes from aiming to create overlapping squares of different colors.  Each instance where a square of one color on your card overlaps a square of a different color on another card earns you one point.

4. Discard Pile:

  • After playing a card (or choosing not to play and draw cards), discard the played card or any cards from your hand you don't want to keep face up into a discard pile.

5. End of Round:

  • The game continues with players taking turns drawing (optional) and playing cards until one of two conditions is met:

    • Draw Pile Depleted: If the draw pile is empty and no player has any cards left in their hand, the round ends.

    • No More Plays Possible: If no player can play a card according to the placement rule, even after drawing new cards (if applicable), the round ends.

Winning the Game

  • Once a round ends, players reveal their hands and score points for all the visible colored squares on their cards that overlap squares of different colors on other cards already played (as per rule 3).

  • Scoring tokens (if used) can be used to keep track of points.

  • The player with the most points after a set number of rounds (typically 3-5) wins the game!

Tips/Strategies

  • Plan Your Placements:  Think ahead and consider how your cards can connect with existing cards on the table to create the most scoring color overlaps.

  • Watch the Discard Pile: Pay attention to the cards being discarded. This might give you clues about what colors your opponents might have and how to potentially block their scoring opportunities.

  • Don't Be Afraid to Discard:  Sometimes, discarding a card that doesn't offer good scoring opportunities allows you to draw new cards and potentially find better plays.

Overlap offers a simple yet brain-teasing experience that will challenge you to think spatially and strategically. With a dash of luck and careful card placement, you can become the master of colorful connections and claim victory!

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