Here’s my Finnish Halli Galli review.
Halli Galli is an entertaining speed game. Each player has a deck of cards. The cards are turned over one by one in turn, so that each player has a discard pile in front of them. Whenever the top cards of the piles show exactly five fruits of a kind, players must race to hit the bell in the middle of the table.
The first player to whack the bell gets all the face-up cards and adds them to his or her stack. Then play continues, until players are eliminated one by one as they lose their cards. When two players remain, the one with most cards wins the game. It’s all very simple.
However, while it might be simple and very derivative of certain traditional card games, Halli Galli sure is great fun. It’s clear, elegant and entertaining. The mad rush to hit the bell (the most excellent component in itself, the sound and the feel of ringing the bell is just so satisfying), the excitement when your pile is running out, it all comes together in great entertainment.
The rules are very simple and thus the game works well for the whole family. I would be apprehensive of playing this with a mixed group of adults and children, however, as sometimes when several players try to reach the bell at the same time, accidents happen. The bell kind of hurts, when you hit it first and then two or three hands slap on top of yours.
However, for groups of adults or groups of kids, Halli Galli should provide many good laughs and lots of entertainment. The only drawback is the same as with any speed game: some people are simply so much better in these games that the fun is diminished. However, Halli Galli isn’t hard, so the skill differences shouldn’t be that pronounced.