Publisher: 25th Century Games
Player Count: 2-5 Players
Dedicated Solo mode: No
Game Length: 30-40 Minutes
Complexity 1.75/5

Velonimo from famed designer, Bruno Cathala, is a card game where players are responsible for a team of bicyclists racing across different mountain summits over the course of 5 legs. The bicyclists are represented by different animals and they have different card values… but let me stop right there. In Velonimo, the theme doesn’t really matter. It doesn’t feel like you’re competing in a race nor do the humorous and whimsically illustrated animals really do anything other than provide a nice window dressing for the cards. BUT HOLD ON… stay with me here. Despite the pasted on theme, this is from one of my all-time favorite designers. The legendary Bruno Cathala is the brilliant mind behind Five Tribes, 7 Wonders Duel, Kingdomino and a dozen or so other fantastic games. I’m just saying there may be something interesting here after all. Let’s take a closer look at Velonimo and see if it should race into your collection.


The game takes place over 5 rounds, or legs where you’re attempting to out race your opponents until the end. You do that by ridding your hand of all your cards before anyone else.

During a round, players will take turns playing cards. The trick is you must play cards of a higher value than the previous player. Of course that comes with some interesting stipulations.

The deck is made up of 55 cards divided into 7 different suits represented by different colors with each suit numbered 1 to 7. There are an additional 6 cards called “Breakaway” cards that feature values of 25-50.

When playing a card or cards, you may play sets of matching numbers (irregardless of their color) or matching colors (irregardless of their number). Playing a single card just represents its own value, but playing sets mean that each card is worth a value of 10 plus the lowest card played. So if you played a blue 5, 6 & 7 it would equal 35. The breakaway cards can’t be paired with other cards and are equal to their own value.

At any time a player can pass on their turn, but if all players pass consecutively the discard pile is removed and the last player to play a card starts a new discard pile. This essentially gives the last player to play 2 turns in a row.

The player in the lead at the end of each round earns the coveted leader-of-the-pack jersey card that can be played to add 10 to any set and the player in last place goes first in the next round. Scoring is somewhat unique. When you empty your hand you earn points equal to the number of players still playing x2. Play continues until only 1 player is left with cards in their hand. After 5 rounds the player with the most points is the victor.


➕ Think-y card game that’s simple to setup and plays quickly

➕ Unique ruleset and scoring

➕ Cards feature fun racing artwork


➖ The theme doesn’t shine through


If you’re in the market for a quick, think-y, card game, Velonimo fits the bill. Each round/game is going to challenge you to build a new strategy from the cards available. This is also one of those unique card games that will take a number of plays to begin to develop a strategy.


The best thing about the game is once everyone has a grasp on the rules, there is a decent amount of gamesmanship that comes into play. I love it when my group is playing the game vs the game isn’t paying us. Velonimo gives you plenty of opportunity to bluff. You’re often wondering what your opponent has and when you should bump up discard value to force you opponents to pass or play low value cards that don’t have pairs.


I mentioned how the theme felt seriously disconnected from the game and I’m a big fan of theme… but I don’t care. I am really enjoying Velonimo. There is always a space in our collection for a game like this and this is one that could be in regular rotation.

This is a ladder-building, trick taking game that presents a slightly different slant and I think it hits really well on 3 very important points: it’s accessible, plays quickly and has some interesting decisions.

It’s a card game that’s super easy to set up. There is a 2-player variant, but otherwise it sets up the same for 3 to 5 players. It also plays quickly. The box claims a 30-45 minute game, but I can see us beating that with more plays under our belt.

Those 2 points are fine, but they wouldn’t mean anything if the game wasn’t fun and Velonimo is FUN! I really enjoy the choices. The game is probably 80% strategy and 20% luck, which for me is a pretty good place to be. There’s just enough luck to keep things interesting, but you can typically overcome poor luck with proper planning. While it is potentially prone to some analysis paralysis, you’re typically planning and then planning a contingency each turn. You never know what your opponents are going to play and that always keeps you on your toes. Additionally, the way you can pair sets together creates some very interesting choices.

There is a small amount of interaction built into the game where players can trade cards when a player plays a 1 card, but the gamesmanship element provides plenty of interaction for me. I really enjoyed trying to determine when and how I should play certain sets. This can lead to a bit of standoff with your opponents as they’re seeking the same answers. It creates a fun environment to play.

It is a trick-taking game and there are those who feel strongly about that in one way or another. You know who you are and if you’re a skeptic, this one won’t probably win you over.

Over the past 3 or 4 years, only a few card games have stuck with us. Only time will tell, but Velonimo has the feel of something we’ll keep in the rotation. It’s portable and fairly easy to teach so I could see us taking this to a friend’s house or breaking it out after a long day. It’s a little too think-y for younger kids, but it’s still a solid game for both families and gamers alike. You can never have enough fast-paced, think-y games in your collection and Velonimo is certainly something you should grab.