Here’s a review of Diabolo in Finnish.
Diabolo is a light-weight card game from Michael Schacht, the designer of Coloretto, one of the more popular filler card games.
Diabolo is a struggle between heaven and hell. Players play cards on the table trying to influence the five colours in game. Cards can be played on either heaven or hell side. A colour is locked when five cards are played (either 3-2 or 2-3), the round ends when three colours are locked.
At that point, the totals on each side are summed. If colour has more points on heaven side, it scores positive; hell means negative. The player with the most points in hand in that colours scores the values of those cards in his or her hand; they are either negative or positive. Each player can double one colour they have to score extra points.
The catch is simple: to better influence a colour, you must play a big card from your hand. If the colour ends up in heaven, that big card would’ve been very valuable. If you keep the big cards in your hand, the colour might end up in hell, at which point the big card is a huge liability.
There’s a healthy dose of luck, as you can’t control the luck of draw: you might end up drawing a big card in the colour you just locked in hell — at that point it’s impossible to get rid of the card. The luck might be too much for many gamers, but those who don’t mind it probably find it to be quite exciting.
Heaven or hell?
So, heaven or hell? Neither; I’d place Diabolo strictly in purgatory. It’s neither good or bad, simply bland. Those looking for a fresh little card game to play for a while will find it in Diabolo, if they don’t mind the luck. I’ll rather play Geschenkt or Fettnapf.