In tabletop game industry, one thing that the game publisher would do to attract more people to come and play their game is to offer a production value. It can be many things like just more beautiful art.
Instead of just cards and other paper pieces, they will use other things like cardboard tokens, plastic miniatures, even metal coins. The reason is that when people come to the publisher’s booth in any convention, people can see something interesting on the table.
Some may say it’s a gimmick while other games, this extra feature may have a role to the gameplay. If the gameplay is good, the gimmick can be considered as an added value.
In this next game, Gizmos, the publisher were using translucent marbles along with a dispenser. It’s definitely not the first one to use such component and there will be some more in the future.
So, what is this Gizmos card game? How do we play it? Can we play the game solo?
Those are probably just a few questions that came to mind after hearing about the game. Well, in this article, I’m going to share with you my Gizmos Review based on my experience on playing the game and what I can find from the internet.
Hope this helps. Is Gizmos going to be the best card game out there?
Click or tab on any sections from the table of contents to jump right to that part. Use the red arrow button on the bottom right corner of the screen to head back to the top.
Game’s Title: Gizmos
Genre: Card Drafting, Tableau Building, Engine Building, Competitive, Fan-made Solo Variant.
Designer: Phil Walker-Harding
Artist: Saeed Jalabi, Giovana Guimaráes, Hannah Cardoso, Gernanda Montoni, Júlia Ferrari, Mathieu Harlaut
Publisher: CMON Global Limited
Number of Players: 2-4
Playtime: 40 – 50 minutes
Official Webpage: Gizmos 2nd Ed. (cmon.com)
Release Year: 2018
1 List of Effects Sheet
4 Energy Storage Rings
1 First Player Dashboard
3 Player Dashboards
1 Plastic Dispenser + Paper Wall
20 Victory Point Tokens:
5-Point Tokens (6)
1-Point Tokens (14)
52 Energy Spheres:
Heat (Red) Marbles (13)
Electric (Yellow) Marbles (13)
Battery (Black) Marbles (13)
Atomic (Blue) Marbles (13)
4 Starting Gizmos Cards (66 x 66 mm)
108 Gizmos Cards (66 x 66 mm)
Lost Designs Promo Set (2018)
Extra Credits Promo (2020)
About Gizmos Card Game
Gizmos was originally released in 2018. It was known as one of the tabletop game that uses marbles as the component, which became popular thanks to another game, Potion Explosion.
The first edition offers marble dispenser made of cardboard that we can assemble. In 2019, it got a second edition that comes with a plastic dispenser.
Gizmos is what most people in the industry would consider as an engine building type of game. We are not creating or playing with an actual machine in this game but more of a system that can help generate resource and convert those resources into victory points more efficiently.
Whoever has the most points wins the game. There are many games like this but most of them have some sort of theme pasted on the game. But players will still have that same experience of generating goods and converting them.
In Gizmos, the theme is about creating a device or gadget using cards. The marbles are the resources with 4 different types or colors.
To build a Gizmo Card, we need to collect and spend a specific type of marbles with specific amounts. These Gizmos can give different additional bonus after doing certain actions.
The bonus can be many things. It can be about taking another Marbles, either randomly or from the available market or just getting points for building Gizmos of certain type.
Some Gizmos allow us to convert the Marbles from one type to another so they can be spent for other Gizmos. There are also some that increase the value of each marbles.
Every player will start with the same situation. They can only hold very limited number of Marbles at a time and hold just 1 Gizmo Card.
Players need to find some Gizmos that increase those storages. That will give player more flexibility as there are hard limit with those storage.
The most important Gizmos would be the one that triggers another actions. It is also possible that one action can trigger another one. So, these Gizmos can create multiple combos or like chain reactions if we can build the right combination of Gizmos.
At the start, we can only just do one simple action. Either take marble or spend them to build 1 Gizmos. It feels slow but we can increase them.
Towards the end of the game, our one action can do a lot of things.
The challenge is that we need to pick the right card from the communal market before our opponents take them. There are 3 level of Gizmos with level 1 for the least and level 3 as the most powerful and valuable cards.
Every turn there will be 9 available cards of all 3 level combined in the market. However, there is also a Research action. This will allow us to search through the deck of cards and hopefully we can find a better one than what is available.
The game will end after one player has a certain number of cards in their tableau.
In 2019, Gizmos was selected for the annual Mensa Select Awards. The Mensa Select seal indicates that the selected games are original in concept, challenging, and well designed.
Here is an overview video for Gizmos (1st edition) by Britannie Boe from Be Bold Games.
The game of Gizmos comes in a weird size box. The shape is not square with 26 x 29.6 cm size and 8.3 cm depth.
My copy is the 2nd edition. As the sign on the cover says, NOW WITH A PLASTIC DISPENSER. There is also a seal from the Mensa Award at the bottom right corner.
At the back, we can find the look of the actual game. The box has a lot of cool Gizmos art.
Inside the box, there is a space for the entire plastic dispenser and a plastic transparent insert for the other components. When we want to store the dispenser, we still need to remove the paper wall on the top and put all of the marbles in a bag.
With all of the components, the box still has more than enough space. It does feel like some parts are wasted.
Since we don’t need to assemble the dispenser like in the first edition, we only get 2 cardboard sheets, one for the Victory Point Tokens and the other for the Energy Rings.
The insert has dedicated slots for Player Boards, Square cards, the Rings and one big slot. This last one is, I assume for Marbles and Tokens.
The slot for cards are big enough to fit cards with sleeves. However, the depth may not be enough. This is based on my experience using 60 micron sleeve.
In that slot, I can only store like 72 cards. For the rest, I need to use the slot for the Marbles and Tokens.
Each type of marbles also comes in their own zip lock bag. I think they also provide us with one more bag for the tokens.
All of the cards come in one size, which is 66 x 66 mm. The only sleeve with the closest size would be the one from Swan PanAsia with 67 x 67 mm.
I used the one for 7 Wonders with 65 x 100 mm and trim them. For some people, it’s either too small or too tight. It does bow the card a bit. I also don’t think the card will fit if the thickness is higher than 60 microns.
Again, we can put them in the extra space for the dispenser for the excess. Even the bottom of the insert has more room.
For the Energy Rings, the slot doesn’t have a room for our finger to help us lift the component out. That will not be a problem if we discard the inner part of the ring.
The rulebook for the new edition is actually only a folded sheet with 4 pages. For those who are interested in reading the rule first, we can find the digital file on the official webpage for the game, here. It seems, they didn’t posted the rule on BGG.
At the top of the first page, we can see the English language icon. Unfortunately, I cannot find any link for translations to other languages. The first edition did come in multiple different languages like French, German, Chinese, Polish, Korean, Japanese, Hungarian and a couple more.
When folded, the size of the book is about 21.5 x 27.7 cm. Here is the table of content of the rulebook.
Title, Introduction (Page 1). At the top, we can see the logo, name of designer, number of players and playtime. There is also one introductory paragraph that tells us a bit about what we will be doing in this game.
Components (Page 1). Here we can find all of the components that come in the box, each with the amount. What is missing is the detail of cards for each 3 level.
Dispenser Assembling Guide (Page 1). Since the edition will have a single piece plastic dispenser, the only assembling guide is how to put the paper wall on the top. When we want to put them back to the box, we need to remove that paper wall from the dispenser.
Setup (Page 2). This is a step by step guide to setup the game. There is also an illustration that shows what the game will look like for the communal market and the player area.
One important thing from this part is that we will not be using all of Level 3 Cards for each session. We will only choose randomly 16 of them and return the rest to the box.
Player Dashboard (Page 3). This illustrates further of how to read and use the Player Dashboard. There is an additional area for ARCHIVE that didn’t get illustrated during the setup.
Gizmos Card (Page 3). This part explains every single element of any Gizmo Cards and what they meant.
The Player Turn (Page 3 – 4). This explains all of the 4 possible actions that a player can do on their turn from FILE, PICK, BUILD and RESEARCH. We can also read the explanations of those actions from the Player Board.
However, this section has several details like the HARD LIMIT for Energy or Archive. I think the most important one is about how to resolve the RESEARCH, especially about sorting back the cards. That action can also be considered as either FILE or BUILD action which can trigger another action.
Triggering Gizmo Effects (Page 4). This explains how one action can trigger another action based on the Gizmos that we already built. And that secondary action can also lead to another action just like the first one.
So, it can lead to multiple chain reaction. The important note is that, each Gizmo can only be used ONCE per turn in any order. Also, it says that we can use the Effect on the same turn it is built but not y the same action that built it.
End of the Game (Page 4). This section will explain the two possible way to trigger the end game. Players will have equal number of turns. The section ends with the 3 tie breakers, from the most Gizmos as the first, followed by most Energy left and the last one is the furthest from the first player.
Credits (Page 4). Here we can find about all of the people involved in the development of this game. From the designer, game developer, several artists and game testers. We can only find a link to the publisher’s website without any info regarding missing components and replacements.
Those 4 pages actually do a good job telling us how to play the game in general. Of course, some parts can use further clarifications more explicitly.
I like how they highlight some important notes or words as reminder. However, I think they miss a couple of things. For example, instead of highlighting the Energy Storage limit of 5, they should highlight the part about HARD LIMIT.
Because the limit of 5 can change during the game but the rule about hard limit will take affect immediately. The rule doesn’t explicitly say that we are not allowed to discard both the Energy and the Archive or switch once we have reached the limit.
It just says that we cannot take that action. I assume it means, we need to build or spend what we already have first to make rooms.
I like the art style where they use like a hand written arrows or circle between the explanations and the illustrations. It makes the rulebook like a scientific paper with all of the corrections and notes from a Professor or so.
The rulebook only covers the explanation of icons in most of the components with the exception for more icons from Gizmo Cards. That should be covered by the LIST OF EFFECTS sheet.
Those icons and effects will make the game more complicated. But the base rule is very simple.
List of Effects Sheet
As mentioned above, this is like a supplemental sheet to further explain all of the icons from the Gizmo Cards. There is also a digital English file for this sheet which can be found on the webpage for the first edition, here.
This sheet only has 2 pages of a single sheet, not folded with the same size as the folded rulebook. It also use the same graphic design as the main rulebook with the hand written arrows or circles to emphasize the important points from the illustration.
Each Gizmo Cards will have an icon that indicates the action we can do and another icon or icons that tells us the effect or benefit we can get for triggering that particular action.
This sheet will first explain all of the triggers from actions, followed by the effects. Any Effect Icons can be triggered from all Action types. So, they do not explain the specific card but just the variables.
Each of them also may include examples and highlighted notes, mostly related to two possible triggers in a single Gizmos. This is important because we can only trigger each Gizmos once per turn.
Based on my experience, the thing that I misunderstood at first are mostly about CONVERTERS. I assumed at first that a single converter means we can have multiple conversions of Energy of the same type.
That is not the case. We can only convert the Energy one or 2 Energy according to the amount of icons on the card. In Converter Gizmos, the vertical line means AND rather than OR.
So, with the rule to activate each Gizmos only once per turn, those Converters consider two conversions as a single action. We can choose to activate one or both.
Another thing that I keep checking this sheet for is related to the GENERIC GIZMOS. Those Gizmo Cards can be considered as any type of Energy for both the cost and effects. Sadly there is no specific example for this.
It kind of reminds me that if we have a Build type Gizmo that can be triggered by two colors, we can only trigger it once using this GENERIC GIZMOS, instead of twice.
I guess another important thing is the DRAW ENERGY RANDOMLY. The main rulebook only states about the Energy Ring Limit related to PICK ACTION which is considered as different action than DRAW RANDOMLY.
The sheet confirms that the limit of the Ring also applies to the draw Energy randomly action.
Other than that, I think this sheet explains everything we need to know about the Gizmo Cards.
These are the marbles that comes in the box. We get 52 plastic marbles in 4 different colors with 13 marbles each. Each color also comes in a separate zip lock bag.
The diameter is about 1.5 cm and they are translucent. With a good lighting, we can see a colorful shadows part, except for the black one.
Inside each of them, we can see some bubbles. I don’t know if they are intentional or just the result from the manufacturing process but they are kind of beautiful.
The game box does have a reminder that says that this product is not meant for children under 14 years old. My 3 year old nephew did try to swallow them because he thought they were some kind of candies.
Since the marbles are plastic instead of glass, they are relatively very light. I think they are very sturdy. So far, I have dropped them from the table a couple of times and none of them are broken. Of course, they can at some point.
In this game, these spheres are the resources. We need to take them from the dispenser and put them in the player’s RING. More about the ring and dispenser after this.
Then later in the game, we can spend them, returning them to the dispenser to pay the cost to build any Gizmos. I guess at some point, we need to clean them because all players will pick any of them.
Some people might say that these marbles are just gimmick of the game. Phil Walker-Harding, the designer even said that for the earlier prototype, they basically used just cards. We can read more about the development from the designer’s tweet, here.
CMON as the publisher was the one who came with the idea of using marbles. The reason is mostly because the tactile aspect and give a better table presentation with the dispenser and the ring.
On the other hand, it makes the game less portable while the other components are mostly just cards. It also makes the box bigger than it should.
I’m surprised that there is no fan made card versions of these marbles. All we need is just another 52 cards and we can replace the marbles, the dispenser and the rings.
Some say that we can just use the standard playing cards with 4 suits. We just need the symbols.
Energy Storage Rings
These are the cardboard rings for players to hold their marbles after they took them from the dispenser. Four of them will come in a very thick cardboard sheet, with about 3mm thickness.
Each of them are circular giant token with almost 8.5 cm in diameter. Then, we can punch out the inner part, which takes about 6.5 cm in diameter circle and leave the rest as a ring shape token.
It is a clever idea to store those marbles. Clearly they need a thicker cardboard. Even with that thickness, if the marbles are too many, they can easily push out some marbles out of the rings. That is how I dropped some of them off the table.
Both sides of each rings have the same art so we can use either side. It is also very colorful depicting a gauge with a combination of those 4 colors.
I realized that they suggest to discard the inner part. But I, myself, use that inner part to place the Victory Point Tokens.
Also, when I put the inner part back to the ring, it feels like the inner part makes the rings sturdier. Somehow I feel like something can get stuck in the middle part and ruin the ring.
On the other hand, as mentioned earlier, the insert has a dedicated slot for these rings after we punch them out of the main cardboard sheet. The problem is that the insert doesn’t have a hole for our finger to help us lift them out.
I guess the idea is that the inner part of the ring is how we pick them out. But it is a minor complaint, just a bit annoying when setting up the game.
The ring itself can hold up to 13 or so marbles without the need to stack them. In this game, each player will start with just a limit of 5 marbles that they can store.
Over the course of the game, we can increase the capacity which I think can go higher than just 13. However, in general, having these unused marbles doesn’t necessarily give us points at the end of the game. There are Gizmos cards that allows us to get points but there is no guarantee that the card will be used in the game.
That means, most of the time, we will constantly pick and spend the marbles and the ring will be empty.
Somehow, I think the idea of the ring itself reduce the tactile nature. It’s not like we can keep some of the marbles and play them in our hand. They need to stay in the ring, to remind us that the ring is full and we cannot take more spheres.
That way, based on the official rule, the tactile nature is not that great. But it still does increase the table presentation significantly. It really help a lot to make people want to come and play the game.
This is the biggest component and probably the main attraction of the game. I have to admit that the marbles and the dispenser is one of the reason I bought the game.
I even put it on my shelf like ornaments instead of storing in the box. Sometimes I just pick the marbles and put them back, let them circulate in the dispenser.
The dispenser is meant to hold all of the marbles of Energy Spheres as the general supply. Players will take from and return marbles to this dispenser.
As I have mentioned before, with the second edition, we get a plastic dispenser that we don’t need to assemble. We just need to assemble the paper wall at the top.
From the top, the dispenser has a triangular shape. The two identical sides are about 20 cm and the shorter one is about 18 cm.
This bottom part has a purple color. I guess the first edition with the cardboard has more color and printed logo. With this one, we still get the shape and I guess we need to paint them like any plastic miniature.
I assume that the reason they use a plastic one is because the cardboard will not last. The paper will eventually break either because of the moisture or to handle people dropping the marbles into the dispenser.
On the other hand, I think this plastic one maybe has a downside compared to the cardboard one. When we drop one or more marbles into it, it will make louder noise with the plastic dispenser.
The bottom part has one corner to display 6 marbles that players can pick them from. After a player takes one of them, the main storage part is supposed to automatically refill it using gravity.
However, sometimes, the marbles can get stuck between the main storage area and the display area. Even the rules acknowledges this issue and it happens in either edition.
The rule suggests to just shake the dispenser until new marbles will fall off to the display area. Ideally, each player will be able to access at least 6 marbles.
It also gives the idea which marbles are players going to leave behind for the next player to take. We can also see the 7th one at some point and this can help player to plan their strategy a bit.
Unfortunately, that is not going to always happen. Everytime we take a marble we need to shake them. Otherwise, we will leave them empty. Maybe the next player doesn’t mind because the marble that they want is already in the display area.
The dispenser acts as a randomizer. We don’t know which Energy spheres will come next. The display area may have all different marbles or all the same.
Depending on the Gizmo Cards they have and want to build, players may need to consider what’s available at the moment into their part. Should they take that marbles now or do it later with a big chance that the next player can take it? Especially with 4 players.
There are only 52 marbles in this game and most of the time, each player can hold like 5 to 9 marbles. I guess, it is not that difficult to count what is left in the dispenser.
It is possible that one player may hoard one type, not that it is a good plan. However, that can actually affect how we play. Maybe that player just plan poorly and pick the wrong ones randomly.
Another issue I have with this giant component is that we need a decent lighting. If the light is from the back of the dispenser, there is a chance that we will have a hard time telling the color of marbles in the display area.
This can affect some players from certain sitting position. That bottom part with the purple color is already dark as well.
The Paper Wall has several purposes. One of them is to cover the main storage part so we cannot tell what comes next.
In this game, there is a mechanism that allows players to draw marbles blindly. Instead of taking from the display, and know which color to take, we can take from the top, through this paper wall. Hopefully we can get the color that we need.
The other purpose that I can see is to hold marbles from bouncing off the dispenser. When we return the marbles to the dispenser, we do it by putting them from the top. Usually we will just throw them and it can bounce off.
The paper wall does mitigate that. However, I don’t think we need that high. The height of the wall is about 11 cm which about 1 cm will be covered by the bottom part of the dispenser.
I kind of wish that the height is a bit shorter just so I can store it vertically in the box. With the current size, we need to flatten the paper wall and put it on top of the insert.
As the art, the paper wall depicts a glass. The bottom part shows some marbles art and other gadget or gizmos. Apparently, some animals as well. But somehow I wish that they put more illustrations on the wall instead of mostly just blank glass.
Somehow it feels very empty. Even more if we remove the wall, the marbles only create a layer. I get it, that maybe they want to create a hole big enough so our hand can easily pick a marble.
My last complaint with the paper wall, specifically is that they don’t actually show how to assemble the wall. We need to fold them and join both ends of this sheet so it will create a loop with trapezoid shape with the cut corners.
However, there is no telling where to fold. I think I kind of ruin mine a bit.
The paper wall also actually makes it feels cheap.
With all of the issues, I think it is understandable that players will try to look for alternatives. I think some even create their own 3D printed dispenser that I can no longer find where.
We can use cards, cubes or wooden discs. For those who wants to keep using the marbles, some suggests using bag as randomizer.
Personally, I don’t mind the marbles, even though they are just gimmick but I do wish a better alternative for the dispenser.
Victory Point Tokens
The game comes with another sheet of cardboard for the Victory Point Tokens with the size of 24.5 x 8.4 cm and about 1.5 mm thickness. From this sheet we can find tokens with a number either 1 or 5 inside an icon that looks like a star badge with gray color on the background.
I’m surprised that the insert seems to have a dedicated slot, not just for the tokens but the entire sheet at the top.
We can punch them out and get 20 Victory Point Tokens from which 6 of them are worth 5 points and 14 of them are worth 1 point each. The size of all tokens are the same, which is 3 x 2 cm.
In this game, these tokens will create a general supply where players will take them from when they activate a Gizmos that will give them VP. Any Gizmos will only say get 1 or 2 VP tokens. Those that are worth 5 are for players to exchange so the publisher doesn’t need to provide too many tokens worth just single points.
This is not the only way to earn points. The Gizmos themselves will give their own VP. Players can even win without getting any of these.
When a Gizmos allows us to get VP, we then take one of these token that is worth 1 point to our tableau. The rule doesn’t say anything about whether the tokens are considered as limited supply or not.
In general, we probably will not need that many tokens, especially if we play rather casually. However, there was a point where I get a lot of Gizmos that allow me to take multiple tokens over and over again and I already take all of the 5 point tokens.
Keep in mind that this is from using the fan made solo variant with the Bot also taking a lot of the tokens and possibly I didn’t follow the official rule. The official multiplayer mode will probably not reach that situation.
At this point, I have not tried the full player count but maybe it is not impossible that we may run out of tokens. I assume that these are not limited supply and we probably need to take notes to replace the tokens.
In this game, these tokens or VP are just the end result. There is no mechanism that allows us to trade VP to other things like Energy or such.
The first time I played the game, I usually just focus on building the engine that allows me to get a lot of chain reactions. But getting Gizmos that generate VP is not part of it. Usually I really don’t care about winning at all just trying to have a good time playing the game.
When I played the solo mode trying to get higher score than the bot, only then I realized, that I need to get these to win. Which is why I said if we play rather casually, we probably will not take many of them.
Now, for me, getting these tokens are fun. It really shows me how efficient the engine that I have built like constantly generating them every turn. Collecting these tokens feels rewarding.
It also drives me to chase the high level Gizmos instead of just slowly building from the cheapest one until the end game has been triggered. Not that it is necessary to play that way but it gives me a reason to explore everything.
I think we can always replace them with other things like maybe metal coins. We just need something with a total value of 44 points at least.
These are the 4 cardboard strips that comes in the box. The insert has a single slot to store those 4 boards, folded backwards.
All of them have identical information but only one has a brown color while the rest are gray. The player who gets the brown one will be the starting player.
What I don’t understand is that the rule suggests we shuffle them and give them to the player randomly. I mean, it’s not that hard to tell the difference and it’s like we just choose who goes first.
The width of the strip is only 3.3 cm with 42 cm long when unfolded or less than 23 cm when folded. I get that they need to fold it unevenly so it will not break the segment but they might as well just make it longer.
Honestly, I’m not a fan of this component’s shape. I feel like it can easily break, especially the folded part.
The thickness is about 2mm. These player boards have 6 parts or segments.
The first two on the left is the player’s starting and future conditions like UPGRADES AND CONVERTER. While the other four on the left with white background color tell us the 4 possible actions that we can do each turn from FILE, PICK, BUILD and RESEARCH action.
Each segment will have a giant icon that represent the segment and explains what each action we can do. So, they serves as like a player aid.
The exception would be the Upgrade section which has 3 icons to tell us 3 different things.
In this game players will actually do nothing with the board itself. The main purpose is to be a guideline to help us sort our Gizmos over the course of the game.
Each time we build a Gizmo card, we place that Gizmo under the corresponding segment of the board. So, for example, a CONVERTER type Gizmo should be placed under the CONVERTER segment that have the same icon.
The RESEARCH segment is a bit different as we will not have any Gizmos with this type. That is probably the reason why that segment is shorter compared to the others.
However the board and the cards we will be placing under them are not the only player’s tableau. There is still a section for ARCHIVE where we store some Gizmo Cards.
The rule suggests to place them on the right side of the RESEARCH section of the board or just the right of the board. Personally, I do place them under the RESEARCH segment just to save some space.
Overall, once we have played this game a couple of times, we probably don’t need to use the board at all. The exception would be the starting UPGRADES but if we can memorize them, we don’t need to use this.
They could have just used some cards to create the strip.
I like how the one with white background has some hand written art style showing some scientific charts and equation. The color is a bit opaque so they are not in the way of the main icons.
While they provide a hole for finger on one end of the insert, I don’t know why the middle part has another well in the middle of the slot. Maybe it is just to help keep the form to the unnecessary tall insert and the long side.
I think this is a good time to talk a bit about each action or each section of the player Dashboard.
As mentioned before the UPGRADE doesn’t have a sentence to tell us what we can do with them but instead we get 3 different starting stats.
The first icon has an icon with 2 hands holding a circular thing with a number 5 in it. This represents the amount of Energy we can have at a time with 5 as the starting one.
The second one has a brown folder icon with a number 1 in it. This represents that we can only have 1 Gizmo in our Archive.
The third one has a magnifying glass icon with a number 3 in it. This represents that we can draw 3 cards during the RESEARCH ACTION.
So, the Gizmos cards we will be adding under this segment will mostly have a combination of those 3 icons. What that means is each added Gizmos will increase any of those stats.
The Gizmo card can have 1, 2 or even 3 of those icons. If it has just 1 icon, it is mostly just to increase the Energy Storage limit. With 2 icons, the most common is to increase either Energy Storage + Research or Energy Storage + Archive. And if they have all 3 icons, most of the time, the extra Archive capacity is lower than the extra for the other two.
Other possible upgrades that we can see are either the GENERIC GIZMOS, NEGATORS or DISCOUNTS which all of them comes from the Level 3 Gizmos.
Generic Gizmos allows us to gain score from two things. They are either from our left over Energy Sphere or double the VP that we get from the VP Tokens. Both of them are very powerful.
The Negators, however, prevents us to use some actions after we build them. It can be the RESEARCH or FILE action. While we may lose the access to those actions but the Gizmos themselves gives the highest points immediately. It will be a good choice for our last turn.
The Discounts are about making it cheaper to build certain Gizmos. It can affect building Gizmos from Archive, from Research action or just from the Level 2 Gizmos. All of the discounts are just 1 less Energy required.
There are 27 Upgrade Gizmo Cards from which 8 of them from Level 1, 4 from Level 2 and 15 of them from Level 3.
The player board as a definition of a Converter Gizmo. They are Gizmos that allows players to convert Energy into different types or different quantities.
Remember that in this game, we can only activate a Gizmo once every turn. Most of the Gizmos can only convert a single Energy up to 2 Energy. So, if have 2 Heat Energy and 1 Gizmo to convert to any type, in as turn, we can only convert one of them.
However, in this game, we can create a chain reaction using multiple converters in a single turn. For example, we convert a red Energy to Black, then convert the quantity of that Black into 2 Energy.
Converters are probably the most complex in this game. Almost like they have their own engine.
Convert also means, treating differently, instead of exchanging. So, it is not like we can convert one by one per turn. It’s about convert and spend them immediately or lose the effect.
All of the level 1 Converter Gizmo can only convert 1 Energy into any type of Energy. Each Energy Type will have 4 cards from this level to convert them into any type.
From the Level 2, Converter Gizmos can either convert from 1 Energy and treat it like 2 Energy of the same type or they allow us to convert 2 Energy of the same type to any type.
From Level 3, some Gizmos allows us to convert a single Energy of any type to different type. The other Level 3 allows us to convert 2 single Energy of different types into 2 Energy each.
In my copy, I got 29 Converter Gizmos. 4 of them are Level 3, 12 of them are level 2 and 13 of them are level 1.
The first action we can do is FILE ACTION. The player board says that with this action, we can choose a faceup Gizmos from the Display area and add it to our Archive.
Remember that File action has a limit according to the UPGRADE section and once we have reached the limit, we cannot take the action. At the start, all players can only have up to 1 Gizmo in their Archive.
Also, each player starts with a Level 0 Gizmo or Starting Gizmo that allows us to take a random Energy after doing a File Action. There are only 8 other FILE type Gizmos and none of them are from Level 2.
The Level 1 of this type allows us to do PICK action after a FILE action. So, with 4 players, all players can have 1.
The other File type Gizmos are from Level 3. They can either allow us to take 3 RANDOM Energy or take 1 VP token after the FILE Action.
We definitely want to try getting that VP Token bonus as soon as possible. While the Pick is nice at first but there is always the Energy Storage hard limit.
With the VP bonus, if we keep doing File action and only build from Archive, we can definitely score a lot of points. We get points just from taking the cards without the need to actually build it.
This second action allows us to take 1 Energy from the 6 available in the display part or Energy Row of the dispenser. In this game, we can also take randomly from the top of the dispenser.
For the random pick, instead of icon with hands holding an Energy, it will have an Energy icon with a question mark in it. However, the pick randomly action can only happen as a chain reaction or triggered by another action. Either from FILE or PICK ACTION.
There are only 12 PICK type Gizmos that comes in the box and none of them are Level 3. All of them only allows us to get 1 Random Pick after the PICK ACTION.
The difference is that Level 1 will only allows us to pick randomly if we pick 1 type of Energy. The level 2 Gizmos of this type allows us to choose between picking any 2 types.
This can be a very helpful Gizmos early in the game. However, as the game progresses, we may not find them very useful without increasing the Energy Storage capacity.
The third action is the BUILD ACTION. From the Player Board, this action allows us to choose a faceup Gizmo from the Display area or Archive. Then, we need to spend the required Energy so we can add them to our tableau or the ACTIVE GIZMO AREA.
By having the Gizmo in our tableau, we can trigger them later and get the benefit, effect or chain reaction. This is the main event of the game. Not only this is how we get VP from each Gizmo but this is how we can eventually trigger the end of the game.
From my copy, there are 37 Build Type Gizmos, from which 8 of them are Level 1, 16 of them are level 2 and 13 of them are Level 3. That is like a third of all Gizmos we get from the box.
Even both the triggers and the effects have more variety. The effects will give us immediate VP tokens, or trigger another type of actions like Pick, File or Research. There are some from the Level 3 that will give us Discount for future Build or immediately one more Build right after it.
From the triggers, obviously they are based on the type of Energy to build. However, some will give us bonus if we build Gizmos from our Archive. It’s like they encourage us to do FILE action.
The Level 3 also have several unique triggers that if we have them, the effects can be triggered by building Gizmos of lower level.
Once we have several of these, the game can be a bit complex in terms of how we can trigger the chain reaction. Mostly because we can only trigger them once per turn and the triggering can be from one type of action to another.
Some of the effects allows us to trigger two actions, which each can lead to multiple effects as well.
I think from all of these, the most powerful and meaningful ones are those that gives us VP because that is how we win. The others may trigger another action but it can lead to some bottleneck.
For example, like the effect to do PICK action. Once we have reached the limit, we lose the bonus. The same goes with effects like RESEARCH, or FILE. Even Level 1 Gizmos that give us VP is better than higher level but only do other actions.
The other type of Gizmos will not have an effect that allows us to BUILD. They are more about increasing that action’s effectiveness. But the BUILD GIZMOS are like the main machine that can lead to all directions.
Maybe we can even win by only building from this type. However, this is a competitive game. We don’t always have access to the best Gizmos and other players can take them before us.
The last type of action that we can find from the Player Dashboard is the RESEARCH ACTION. From the board it says that with this action, we draw cards from 1 of the Gizmos deck equal to the Research amount or capacity. Then, we can either BUILD OR FILE the chosen Gizmos.
As mentioned before, there is no Gizmo Cards for this type. We will not be placing any Gizmo below this section.
Basically, the research action is how we draw blindly from the deck. Usually I don’t like this kind of action in any games because we can get unlucky. We don’t know what we are going to get.
However, what makes that idea interesting in the game is that we can increase the Capacity of the Research Action. As indicated from the board, each player can only draw 3 cards at the start of the game. With some upgrades, we can increase it to 5, 7 or 9 cards.
That is a big deal, especially if we are looking through the Level 3 deck with only 16 cards. We already saw 2 of them in the display and there is a good chance with 5 or more cards we draw, we get a very powerful Gizmos.
In my opinion, this idea actually solves typical issues with any engine building card game. Usually we have to deal with a lot of random cards from a giant deck. This allows us to explore and discover from those randomness.
It introduces some kind of push your luck mechanism to the game but with a very good chance. This is very useful when the cards in the display area are not very good.
Even if we cannot find a very good one, we can still gain the benefit if we already have the right Gizmos. At least, if we put it in Archive, we can draw 1 Energy randomly.
What is missing from the board is that after we have chosen the card, we need to return the rest to the bottom of the deck. When doing so, we can arrange the card in any way we want.
This is an interesting idea because, we might actually draw a lot of good cards from one action. The problem is that we can only Build or File one of them. By being able to rearrange the card in any order, we can probably try to prevent other players from accessing them.
Maybe we can even count the cards to predict what is coming and when it will come later. Especially with the Level 3 Deck, we can actually see all of the cards. Not that it is an interesting strategy.
This is a very powerful action that any player should try to utilize. Don’t forget that whether we choose to File or Build it, it can still create a chain reaction if we build have the right Gizmos.
Of course, that means, we need to increase the capacity first with Upgrades.
We will definitely want to upgrade our Energy Storage and the Archive to store more Gizmos. But the one to increase the Research capacity can really help if we know that specific strategy.
The rule didn’t say but I assume when drawing the cards using this action, we don’t need to tell our opponents about the cards that we put them back. While the card that we do take will be in our tableau so other player can look at.
This is the last and the main component of Gizmos, the Gizmos Cards. All of them are square cards with about 6.6 x 6.6 cm in size.
The rule says that we will get 112 Gizmos cards with 36 for each 3 Level. We also get 4 Starting Gizmos or Level 0 for each player.
Instead of 36, my copy came with 41 Level 1 cards. Since they don’t release any list of official set of cards, I don’t know for sure. I think there are a couple of copies of the same cards. Maybe they are intentionally included in the game without changing the rulebook but I don’t know.
On the back side of the card, it will tell us which groups or decks that the cards belongs to. Each of them has a giant Romans number with either 1 or 2 or 3 which indicates the Level of that Gizmo. The higher level will be more valuable in terms of VP and the effect we can get but also more expensive in cost.
The Starting Gizmo has a zero on the back with white color. For the other 3, they have a distinct color. Brown for the Level 1, Green for the Level 2 and Purple for the Level 3. This makes it easier to sort them out later after we have played the game.
While the game will have a separate deck for each Level, after we take the cards and build it, we will mix them up based on the type of Gizmos but not the Level. So, we will need to separate them later.
The back of those cards also shows a smaller Arabic Numbers, with the exception of the Starting Gizmos. This number indicates the cost to build the Gizmos from that Level.
Level 1 only has 1, while Level 2 has a range between 2 to 3 and Level 3 is between 4 to 7. I guess, this can help when we do the RESEARCH action. We probably want to have enough Energy before we draw those cards randomly or at least have 1 space in our Archive.
The thing is that the cost is always from the same type of Energy. So, if it requires 5 Energy, they are from a single type. There are 2 Generic Gizmos that can be built from different types of Energy but for the most part, we have a good idea for the cost.
The front side of the Gizmo Cards, any Level will have similar attributes. If we start from the bottom left corner, we can see a number which indicates the cost to build the Gizmo as shown on the back side.
Right above that number we can see an icon for Energy Type. We can also see the color of the bottom half border to tell which Energy it needs between Red, Black, Blue, or Yellow with white color for the Starting Gizmos.
The Generic Gizmos that can be built using a mixture of Energy Types, the bottom half will have all of the colors and the X icon above the cost.
The middle part of each card will have an illustration with cartoonish style. Each of them depicts either a gadget or Gizmos or some kind of robot like in children’s show. Some are high tech version of home appliances like blender or heater.
All of them are very colorful and it seems like they are unique. Some of them share the same objects combined with a couple of different objects. More like just a lot of variants from certain number of objects.
Obviously none of the illustrations actually represents the effect of the Gizmos we are playing. Most of the time we will not even look at them. While we do place them into our tableau and have a better chance on looking at them, the chances are we won’t.
Especially because when we have Gizmos of the same type, we will overlap them so only the top part of the cards are visible. That means, aside from the latest or the bottom most card, we will not see any of the illustration.
The top half of the card is probably the most important part of the game. It shows a lot of icons.
From the top left, we can see the type of Gizmos so we can place them to below the corresponding segment of player’s board. The top right most will have a number and the VP icon.
This numbers are the VP we gain for building that particular Gizmos. Level 1 Gizmos are only worth 1 VP, 2 or 3 VP for Level 2 and the Level 3 is from 4 to 8 points. The 2 Generic Gizmos can worth different points depending on either the Energy or the VP tokens that we have.
The middle top of the cards have up to 2 parts. Both of them have icons. The left one with the darker background indicates the trigger icons while the right one indicates the effect, benefit or chain reaction.
If we meet the criteria on the left, we can trigger the effects on the right. There are some Gizmos with just a single icon in this middle part.
They can either give an immediate discount for that action or a NEGATOR, which invalidates the owner to do certain action in the future turns.
As I have mentioned in the previous section, the triggers are always related to the action we can do while the effects can be a lot of things. We can get VP tokens, do another action or get a discount.
So, these top parts are mostly what we will pay attention to during the game. I also said that we will overlap the bottom part with another Gizmo cards of the same type in our tableau, leaving only these top parts visible.
The Gizmo cards also have another purpose. They will be the one to trigger the end game. When a player has either a total of 16 Gizmo Cards of any Level or the 4th Level 3 Gizmo, that will trigger the end of the game.
Because of this, anybody can just rush to build 4 Level 3 Gizmos right away. Alternatively, we may want to have 16 and the last one is also the 4th Level 3 Gizmo to score even higher. So, there is a time during the game that we want to count cards in our tableau.
However, the end game trigger can be done by any player. That’s why we might want to pay attention to the other player’s progress. There is a chance that they are the one to trigger it and we may not have enough turns to build our Gizmos.
The problem is that it is not easy to tell whether the other player already have 16 Gizmos or about to build their 4th Level 3 Gizmos. It’s true that Level 3 Gizmos actually have a yellow color on the background for their top half of the card while the other Level Gizmos have a gray color.
However, we still will cover the card with another one. It may help the owner to count their Gizmos but it’s not very helpful to see our opponents. It’s not like there is a rule like the UNO game where we need to shout out that we only need 1 Gizmos left.
Another issue with the idea of overlapping cards is when we want to track which cards we have activated. The rule says that we can only activate the same Gizmo once every turn.
It will be helpful if we should just place them individually and do like rotate the cards or something. Of course, the overlapping idea saves some table space but it is not really helpful to follow the rule.
Level 0 Gizmos
This is the 4 Starting Gizmos that each player will take one at the start of their game. The effect allows player to take 1 Energy Randomly after taking a FILE action.
It counts as one of the 16 Gizmos that will trigger the end of the game but worth no points at all. All of the cards are identical, including the art. So, if we only play with lower player count, we may not need to use the rest.
It feels like this Gizmos encourage player to start with the FILE action. Hopefully, they will get the corresponding Energy to build that Gizmo.
I kind of wish that these 4 cards can be different like not just for the File action. Maybe they can use a starting Gizmo with Converter or Pick or even Build action and that can definitely change the player’s plan.
It seems that I’m not the only want curious about different starting setup. Some suggest using the Level 1 card instead but it seems nobody has shared how balance they will.
I think if to mitigate the balancing issue, maybe we can just choose the Level 1 Gizmo with similar effect, like all players will get Pick action after File. Those Upgrade Gizmos may complicate things but maybe the one giving VP token as benefit is not that bad.
As it is, this starting Gizmo will not give a lot of replay value. We will always start with rather similar situation. But I think there are other setup variables that may change the tactics a bit if not the overall strategy.
Level 1 Gizmos
My copy came with 41 Level 1 Gizmo Cards while the rule says that we will only get 36 Level 1 Gizmos. The 5 additional cards are all a copy of the CONVERTER TYPE, one for each Energy type and additional card for the Heat Energy.
All of them only cost 1 Energy and worth 1 VP each. Here are the details of each effects from Level 1 Gizmo Cards.
Upgrades (8 cards): +1 Energy, + 1 Archive or +1 Energy with + 1 Research, with 8 cards each.
Converter (8 cards): Convert from 1 Energy type to any Type, with 2 copies for each Energy type.
File (4 cards): Pick 1 Energy after File Action.
Pick (8 cards): Pick 1 Random Energy after Pick Action, with 2 copies for each Energy type.
Build (8 cards): either Pick 1 Energy after Build with certain Energy Type, or 1 VP token. Each Energy type will have a variant for both.
Some people say that Pick action after File is probably the best one to go. In a way I kind of agree. They said that the reason is because we can pick the required Energy for that Gizmo we just take.
This way, on the next turn, we can immediately or closer to build that Gizmo. However, It doesn’t always work because we really cannot tell what will appear in the dispenser display row. At least, it does give us a bit of control.
For me, it’s either about getting more Energy as fast as we can and complement the Starting Gizmo. We are increasing that Gizmo with another File type Gizmo.
But for me, there are better option, even from the Level 1. For example, maybe the Upgrade is more important. I mean, there is no point on taking more Energy if we cannot store them.
The same goes with the Archive which will limit the File action. With more Files, then we can keep more Energy.
If we do take any Gizmo with the Pick action as bonus effect, we then should have Gizmo that allows us to take more Energy from certain Energy type. The Level 1 Pick type Gizmo is nice at the start but maybe we need to diversify with other Energy type from the Level 2.
Those Gizmos that give us VP token everytime we build is probably the next one that we need. It will generate a lot of scores.
The problem is that each of those Level 1 Gizmos only works for 1 type of Energy Gizmo. There is a chance that we may not be able to build any Gizmos with that color.
It’s like picking a goal that we don’t know if we can take advantage from. Of course we still need to diversify with similar Gizmos from Level 2.
At the end, if the Gizmos are diverse enough, we no longer need to worry about just choosing one type.
I think the Converter is probably the hardest one to take advantage of. The reason is because we may not even have the right Energy type to convert. They are very situational.
Level 2 Gizmos
For this, my copy came with exactly 36 cards. The costs are always between 2 or 3 Energy and worth about 2 or 3 VP. Here are the details.
Upgrades (4 cards): +2 Energy. + 1 Archive + 2 Research, one of each Energy Type for the cost.
Converter (12 cards): Convert 1 Energy into 2 of the same type or convert 2 Energy from a single type into any type. The former has 2 copies for each Energy Type while the latter only has one for each Energy type.
File (0 card): no File type Gizmo in the Level 2.
Pick (4 cards): Pick 1 random Energy after Pick action from either 2 of the Energy type shown by the card. Each color only has 2 combinations like Red-Yellow and Red-Blue but no Red-Black.
Build (16 cards): There are 3 categories from this Level 2 Gizmos. One allows us to do 2 PICK ACTIONS after we build from the Archive. Two, it allows us to do 1 Pick Actions after Build action but based on any 2 types of Energy as shown by the card. Lastly, It will give us 1 VP after Build action from Gizmos with 1 of the stated Energy type.
If we want to continue upgrading the BUILD FROM ARCHIVE strategy, then the next one we need to get from the level 2 is the BUILD type GIZMO that allows us to gain benefit by building from Archive.
This allows us to do PICK 2 Energy action and it can be very powerful as we can build another Gizmo on the next turn. There are only 4 cards for this.
Of course, the UPGRADES of this level is also important with only 4 cards as well.
I think if we can get the Level 2 Upgrade Gizmos, it already help us a lot in short term as it will increase the capacity for all 3. We can probably ignore the upgrade from Level 1 if we find this on the Display.
With this upgrade our Research capacity become 5 and most of the time, it is enough. We can focus next on just increasing the Archive and Energy Storage. For Archive, I think 3 is already optimal.
For the BUILD TYPE GIZMOS that give us VP token, we might want to combine them with the level one, just to make sure we can diversify. The same goes with Build type Gizmos that allows us to do Pick action if we build Gizmos with certain Energy type. But this one is the lowest priority as there are 8 cards for this.
I feel like the Converter is my least favorite from Level 2. Again, mostly because we still need to have the right Energy Sphere in order to use the benefit.
From the 2 options, I think the one that increase the quantity is more useful. The one that change the Energy type is useful if we get too many random Energy and we get stuck with them.
Also for this one, the icons means converting 2 Energy of the one type to 2 of any type is considered as a single action. Still, we need 2.
The Level 2 doesn’t have any Gizmo with FILE TYPE. That means, the Level 1 is even more valuable.
Level 3 Gizmos
For this level, my copy came with exactly 36 cards. The costs are between 4 to 7 Energy and worth at least 4 VP. About 20 of them can be built with just 5 Energy. But those are mostly with just a single Energy type.
That means, we need to at least increase the Energy Storage capacity to 7 before we choose to do Research action through the Level 3 deck. Otherwise, we will get stuck with some Gizmos that we cannot build.
Here are the details.
Upgrades (15 cards): For this level Upgrade type has the most Gizmos with various different effects. According to this thread, I think we should have 16 with one of them have the BUILD icon instead of UPGRADE. It’s the one that allows us to get discount for building the Level 2 Gizmos.
We have 4 Generic Gizmos from which we can score more than 7 VP which is very powerful.
There are also 4 Gizmos with NEGATOR effect that prevents us to access certain action in future turns. They are preventing either RESEARCH OR FILE action. We will not want to have them during the game but at the end they will give 7 or even 8 points.
The Upgrade Gizmos for the capacity are those that will increase the Energy Storage by 4 each but nothing for Archive or Research. While this is very powerful and we probably will not need any additional upgrade for the Energy Storage, I’m not sure about chasing this at the start.
Especially if there is one from the Level 2. We can say the cost is higher but the benefit is better. And I think at the end, we may not need those extra 4 Energy from the Level 3 as we have built from another Level.
However, from the Level 3 Upgrade Gizmos, I think my least favorite are those that give us discount for Building certain Gizmos. They can either for Building Level 2 Gizmo, Building from Research or Building from Archive which get a discount of 1 less Energy required each.
The Build from Research is useless if we choose to File. We should just go for the Build from Archive bonus. However, unless we are building Level 1, we still need some Energy.
Of course, these can help us build more Gizmos faster. The problem is that the discount is only 1 less Energy so, if we are trying to build the Level 3 that has the cost of 7, they are not very helpful.
Converter (4 cards): There are 2 effects. The first one is to Convert 1 of any Energy Type to any Energy Type. As for the second one, it allows us to increase the quantities of 1 Energy to 2 from 2 different Energy type as a single action.
The first type of the effect is very useful for both early and later in the game. Early in the game can help us build Level 1. Later, when we have multiple Energy and can get stuck with some type, we can convert one of them to any type. They are useful if we constantly get bad random Energy.
I’m not sure about the second type of the effect. Mostly because converting doesn’t necessarily changing the Energy. It’s more like how we treat the type and quantity.
In this game, most Gizmos require a single type of Energy. So, increasing the quantity of 2 different type will not be useful unless for the Generic Gizmos. And since we can only use any Gizmo once per turn, I assume we are ignoring the other half.
Sure building this one is more efficient than building two from Level 2. Then again, I rarely use this kind of effect from any Level. We still need to have the right Energy in order to use them.
File (4 cards): with 2 different effects. One will give us 1 VP token for doing File action or two, it allows us to take 3 random Energy.
The first one is very useful and relatively very cheap if we keep using the Build from Archive strategy. That means, increasing the capacity for Archive first.
The 3 random Energy is probably good with some Converter. But with limited Energy Storage and Gizmos that allows us to PICK, this will eventually become useless.
Pick (0 cards). No Gizmo cards that can enhance the PICK action from the Level 3.
Build (13 cards). There are 5 different effects from these Level 3 Build type Gizmos. Again, with the misprint, there are only 12 cards.
The most powerful ones are those that give us 2 VP for building Gizmos with any of 2 Energy types or from Archive. From Archive is definitely the better option as it doesn’t matter the Energy type required. For the other one, we might want to diversify with the lower level Gizmo with similar effect.
The other 4 effects are not very useful in my opinion. One of them allows us to do RESEARCH after building a Gizmos. Unless we have enough Energy or empty Archive, this will be useless.
The same goes for those that allow us to do FILE action. We still need extra space from the Archive. It’s not like we can just discard so that other player cannot take them.
The next effect is interesting as they allow us to do another Build action which is very rare. However, the additional build only comes from the Level 1.
This Gizmo is the only way we can trigger the Gizmo we just built during the same turn but not with the same action that built it.
The last one allows us to do 2 Pick actions if we Build a Level 2 Gizmos. This can be useful but only if we build it early. The problem is, I think the cost is too high. Unless, we also have a Generic Gizmos that gives us point from the left over Energy.
The Market / Display Area
In this game, all of the Gizmo cards that players can take to either build or file come from the general market or Display area. Each turn, players can access 9 cards, with 4 cards from Level 1, 3 cards from Level 2 and 2 cards from Level 3.
So, each Level has its own deck and display area. This is a great idea that I think can solve any card driven engine building game with too many cards. In those games, sometimes the cards we need will be buried under the giant deck of cards.
By separating those 3 Levels, we have access to more cards while in other game we only have like 5 cards in total. Moreover, we can also do RESEARCH action that allows us to search through one of the deck that we can increase the capacity.
That means if each player can research 5 cards, with 4 players, we can access up to 20 cards or half of the cards in each deck. That is before counting the cards we just take from the display area.
Specific for the Level 3, we only use 16 cards per game with 2 of them already in the display area. We can definitely cycle through the deck, probably a couple times.
That means for the Level 3, in some games, the good Gizmos may not available at all or vice versa. On the other hand, if all of them are bad, we may have longer game.
For the most part, we still need to rely on the Level 2.
That being said, the randomness is still there. It is possible that all cards from the research are bad but then the next one is good but goes to the next player. Or just from simply refilling the Display area.
That is it with all of the components to play Gizmo. Now, we can learn how to play.
How to Play
Gizmos is officially a competitive game for 2 to 4 players. The game doesn’t include any solo variant but there are fan made versions that will be discussed separately in this article.
Regardless of the player count, almost the setup and the gameplay are the same. As mentioned before, the second edition only change the Energy dispenser but nothing has changed with the gameplay.
The estimated playtime is between 40 to 50 minutes. Here is another tutorial video from Learn to Play Games channel about Gizmos.
First. Take a number of PLAYER DASHBOARDS equal to the number of players. Shuffle them all and give randomly one to each player.
Whoever has the brown Dashboard is the starting player.
Players then unfold their Dashboard and place it in front of them on the table leaving some space below their Dashboard. This area will be referred as Active Gizmo Area.
Players might want to leave a room for another column of cards on the right side of their Dashboard. This will be the ARCHIVE.
Second. Each player takes 1 ENERGY STORAGE RING and place them also in front of them on the table. The rule suggests placing them on the area above the Player Dashboard.
Third. Each player takes 1 STARTING GIZMO CARD and put it on the area below the Dashboard, specifically below the FILE segment. All players will have the same starting condition.
Fourth. Separate the rest of GIZMO CARDS into 3 decks each for cards with the same back of cards color. Shuffle them separately and put them at the center of the table.
For the Level 3 cards, choose randomly 16 of them and put the rest back to the box as these will not be played in this session.
Fifth. For each deck, we will have to reveal a different number of cards to be the DISPLAY AREA. We reveal 4 cards from LEVEL 1, 3 cards from LEVEL 2 and 2 cards from LEVEL 3.
Each face up cards from each Level should be placed face up right next to the deck. That means, the total cards in the Display area is 9 cards.
Sixth. Place all of the VICTORY POINT TOKENS right near the Display Area where all players can reach. Just to make it easier later, I suggest separating the pile for the 5 point tokens from the single one as they use the same color.
Seventh. Assemble the ENERGY DISPENSER or just put the paper wall part on the top of the plastic dispenser.
Eight. Take all of the 52 ENERGY SPHERES or marbles and put them into the top of the Dispenser. 6 of them will randomly roll out and this will become the ENERGY ROW.
If at any point the marbles get stuck and won’t automatically refill the Energy row, try to shake the dispenser until they slide out and we get 6 again.
That’s the setup and we are ready to play Gizmos.
The game of Gizmos will be played over multiple rounds until one player has triggered the endgame. Each round players will take turns doing one action starting from the First Player in clockwise order.
That one action may trigger another action depending on the player’s Gizmo which could also lead to multiple actions. Only after that player has done resolving all of the actions and the chain reactions, their turn ends and it’s time for the next player’s turn.
Once the endgame has been triggered, players will resolve the current round so that each player will have the same number of turns. Then, they can proceed to scoring to determine the winner.
On their turn, players can start the action with one of 4 possible actions, FILE, PICK, BUILD and RESEARCH. Any of these action may lead to another action of those 4 actions as well.
The active player needs to check their Gizmo under the action that they just took and see if they can trigger another action.
NOTE: Player can activate multiple Gizmos every turn but every Gizmos can only be activated once per turn.
File action means, taking cards from the Display area and place it in our ARCHIVE part of the Player Dashboard. After we take one card from the Display area, we immediately draw a card from the same deck and refill the Display area.
The player’s Archive has a limit of how many Gizmo cards they can store. We can find out the number on the Player Dashboard in the UPGRADE section with the folder icon.
Player can also increase the capacity if they have more UPGRADE Gizmos under the Upgrade section that have more FOLDER icons. Each of these Gizmo cards can only increase the Archive capacity by 1.
This is a hard limit. Once the player has reached that many Gizmo cards in their Archive, that player cannot take the File action. The only way to make rooms is to build that Gizmos from the Archive or by having Upgrades with more Folder icon.
While it’s a good action to reserve some Gizmos so other players cannot take them, we can get stuck with it.
After drawing the card, the File action is over but that player’s turn may not. Check to see if the player has any Gizmos with the FILE ICON and resolve that Gizmo’s action if we want to.
We can activate them in any order that we want but they can only be used once per turn.
NOTE: There is a Gizmo with Negator effect that prevents the owner for activating this action under the UPGRADE type. If the player has this, they cannot perform this action whether as basic, trigger or effect.
This action allows us to take 1 Energy from the 6 available Energy in the Energy Row. Then, we can put that Energy to our own Energy Storage Ring.
The Ring also has a limit which we can find it in the Upgrade section of the Player Dashboard. The number of the left most icon indicates the number of Energy we can have.
This is also a hard limit and once we have reached that number, we cannot perform this Action. We can increase the capacity by Upgrade Gizmo with that similar icon.
After taking the Energy, the PICK action is over but that player’s turn may not. Check to see if the player has any Gizmos with the PICK ICON and resolve that Gizmo’s action if we want to.
We can activate them in any order that we want but they can only be used once per turn.
For this action, we choose 1 Gizmo card either from the Display area or from our own Archive to build. We pay the cost by returning the required Energy to the top of the Dispenser.
If we have any Converter type Gizmo, check if any of them can be activated so we can convert other Energy type or to increase the quantity. We may get some discount and spend less amount of Energy.
NOTE: Converter doesn’t physically change the Energy by trading them with other marbles in the dispenser.
Also, before we pay the cost, make sure to check out any UPGRADE Gizmos as some may give Discount for building certain type of Gizmos.
The number of icons shown by any effect from Converter represents the number of Energy we can convert. If it only shows one conversion, then that Gizmo can only convert 1 Energy.
Then, we put that Gizmo card under the corresponding type section of our Player Dashboard. If there are already multiple Gizmos with the same type, we can stack them so that only the top part of each card is visible.
For building Gizmo from the Display area, we refill the Display area immediately by drawing a card from the corresponding deck.
After placing that Gizmo in our Active Gizmo area, the BUILD action is over but that player’s turn may not. Check to see if the player has any Gizmos with the BUILD ICON and resolve that Gizmo’s action if we want to.
We can activate them in any order that we want but they can only be used once per turn.
For this action, we first need to choose one of the 3 Level deck. Then we draw a number of card equal to our own Research Amount or capacity. This number can be found in the Upgrade section of the Player’s Dashboard.
It is the third icon with the magnifying glass icon. Each player will start with just 3 cards. We can also upgrade the number by having more Gizmos with this icon.
After we draw those cards, we can choose only one of them and activate either FILE or BUILD action for that Gizmo. If we choose to File, we need to have empty space in the Archive and if we choose to Build, we need to pay the required type and amount of Energy.
We may also resolve any follow up action triggered by either the File or Build action. Or we can say that RESEARCH ACTION is like File or Build action but from a different source.
In case we cannot afford to build or file any of them, we can choose to do nothing. Then, we can return that Gizmo along the rest to the bottom of the deck in any order that the active player want.
NOTE: There is a Gizmo with Negator effect that prevents the owner for activating this action under the UPGRADE type. If the player has this, they cannot perform this action whether as basic, trigger or effect.
There is also an effect that gives Discount for Build action through Research, also under the Upgrade part. Make sure we check them before we pay the cost.
Triggering Gizmos Effects and Chain Reactions
As mentioned above, after we do any of the 4 basic action, we can trigger another action from any Gizmo under the same type of action from the player Dashboard.
That second action can also be considered as the basic action to trigger another follow up action. We can activate any of them in any order that we want but we can only activate any Gizmo once per turn.
At some point in the game, the chain reactions can be very complex and difficult to track down. Some suggest rotating the card that we have activated.
Even the Gizmo that we just built can be activated during the same turn but not by the same action that build it. The chain reactions must be the one to activate it.
This is possible but rather rare with only certain Build type Gizmo can do it. We need that Gizmo that gives us discount for building Level 1 Gizmo after a Build action.
NOTE: Some Gizmo may have specific additional requirement before we can trigger an action mostly for the PICK and BUILD action.
The additional requirement is mostly about the Energy type but related to Build action, the additional requirement can be about Building from Archive or Research. If we don’t match that criteria, we are not allowed to activate that Gizmo.
With the once per turn activation rule, even if we meet both Energy type, we can only trigger it once. The effect on the Gizmo may show 2 icons like 2 Pick actions by a single trigger. If that is the case, we are still allowed to resolve both.
Non Basic Actions
All of the 4 actions mentioned above, File, Pick, Build and Research are considered as Basic action. Players can choose any of them to start their turn.
However, some Gizmos allows us to do non basic actions which can only be resolved by another action, mostly the basic actions.
Pick Random Energy. This is the only action with a question mark icon. To resolve it, we simply take Energy from the top of the dispenser without looking which Energy to take and we put it in our Energy Ring.
The Energy Storage limit also applies for this action. If we have reached the limit, we cannot perform this action.
Gain one or two VP Token. This is the action with the VP token icon on the card. We simply take the VP Token and put it on the table in front of us.
The Gizmo can show a single icon or double icons which indicates to take just 1 VP or 2 VP respectively. We can trade 5 single point token into one 5 point token.
End of the Game
Once a player has built their 16th Gizmo or 4th Level 3 Gizmo, that player triggers the end of the game. For the 16 Gizmos, it includes the Starting Gizmo.
To count the Level 3 Gizmo, the Gizmo card will have a yellow background color for their top half. The other level will have gray color.
Based on this, players might want to keep building more Level 2 Gizmo to gain more points. Then they can build the 4th Level 3 Gizmo which is also their 16th.
At that point, we need to finish the current round so that each player will have equal number of turns.
If it was the player to the right of the First player with the Brown Dashboard, the game ends immediately after that player has done resolving all of the actions.
Then, we can proceed to Scoring phase.
Each player count their score by adding Victory Points from all of the Gizmos and the VP Token they have acquired. The player with the most point wins.
In case there is a tie, the player with the most Gizmos wins. If they are still tied, the player with the most Energy left in their ring wins. Then, if they are still tied, the furthest one from the First Player in clockwise wins.
That is it with how to play Gizmos.
Fan Made Solo Variant
The game doesn’t have any official solo variant. However, on BGG, there are two different fan made solo variant to play the game solo. Both of them offers a system for the Bot or AI so we can play against.
If we want to win, we need to have higher score than the AI. In both variants, we also need additional component of 2 six sided dice or d6. I think one of them can just use one.
These dice will determine the action of the AI, whether to take Energy Sphere or the Gizmo cards. I’ve only tried one of them but I will discuss how both variant works.
Rony Fagundes Variant
This variant can be found from this page. The author is Rony Gabriel Fagundes (username: rpgabriel).
With this variant, it is easier to use 2 different dice. However, we only need one if we don’t mind memorizing both rolls everytime.
For the player, we play as the regular rule with the same endgame trigger and scoring. This explains just how the AI works.
We roll both dice. Then, we substract the higher role with the lower one. The result will determine the action for the AI.
If the result is 5, the AI will take 1 5-point VP Token. The chances are 2/36 or 5%.
If the result is 4, the AI will take 4 Energy from the same spot in the Energy Row. The lower value will determine the spot. If the lower value is 1, they will take from the lowest spot and if the value is 2, they will take from the second lowest spot.
That means, we can actually see which Energy the AI will take. It’s more like take 4 starting from either the lowest spot or the second lowest spot going up.
The combination of dice is either 6-2 or 5-1. The author says that the chances are 4/36 or about 11%.
If the result is 3, the AI will try to take Level 3 Gizmo card. However, the AI needs to pay 3 Energy, regardless of the type and we need to return the Energy back to the dispenser.
So, if the AI cannot afford it, the AI will instead take 1 Energy Sphere and will not build any Level 3 Gizmo.
On the other hand, if the AI can afford it, then the AI will take either the top card from Level 3 deck or the 2 cards from Display area. To determine this, we will use the dice with the lower value again. If 1, the AI takes from the deck, and 2 or 3, the AI will take from the Display area.
For this, the combinations are 6-3, 5-2, 4-1 which is about 17% or 6/36 chance.
If the result is 2, the AI will always take Level 2 Gizmo from the Display Area for free. The lower value dice will determine which card to take from either the deck or the display area. 1 is for the deck and the other for the face up card.
For this, the combinations are 6-4, 5-3, 4-2, 3-1 which is about 22% or 8/36 chance.
If the result is 1, similar to if the result is 2 but for Level 1. The AI will always take the Gizmo cards for free.
For this, the combinations are 6-5, 5-4, 4-3, 3-2, 2-1 which is about 27% or 10/36 chance.
If the result is 0, similar to if the result is 4 but instead of 4 Energy, the AI will only take 2 Energy. The lower value dice will also determine the spot to start picking the Energy from.
For this the combinations are 6-6, 5-5, 4-4, 3-3, 2-2, 1-1 which is about 17% or 6/36 chance.
The Bot or AI can also trigger the end of the game by having 4th Level 3 Gizmos or 16 total Gizmos. I recommend just placing their Gizmo cards face down with separate pile for each Level.
Scoring is the same as regular player from the Gizmo cards and the VP tokens.
There is no further explanation but I think we can use the AI system to replicate multiple opponents.
Melissa Jankowski Variant
This variant can be found from this page. The author is Melissa Jankowski (username: multimelissa).
This one is a bit more complicated but this is the one that I have actually tried at this point. Not only this offers a system for the AI but there is a suggestion for higher difficulty variants.
This one also offers two Gizmo cards that we can print and play with. These are optional and they can help us gain more points to defeat the opponent.
The rule also suggests using 2 d6 dice but I don’t have a trouble with using just one. Just like the previous variant, the player will play using the regular rule but the AI is different.
In this one, the AI will do 3 things on their turn.
One. They will take an Energy from the Energy Row.
Two. They may take 1 Gizmo Card or 1 VP token or none at all.
Three. Remove the Energy if their Ring is full. The ring can hold like 13 Energy or so.
For the first one, the AI will roll 1 dice and for the second, they will roll both dice.
The first roll will simply determine which spot the AI will take the Energy from. If the roll is 1, they will take from the lowest spot and the six is the highest or closest to the dispenser.
For the second step, we need to roll both dice separately.
If the result is either 4, 5 or 6, the AI will build or take no Gizmo cards this round. We simply proceed to step 3.
If the result of this roll is 1, 2 or 3, the AI will take a Gizmo Cards from the Level 1, Level 2 or Level 3 row respectively. Then, we need to roll a second dice to determine which card to take.
Here is the list of combination of both dice and which card to take.
1-1: take card from Level 1 deck.
1-2: take 1st card from Level 1 Row.
1-3: take 2nd card from Level 1 Row.
1-4: take 3rd card from Level 1 Row.
1-5: take 4th card from Level 1 Row.
1-6: take 2nd card from Level 3 Row.
2-1: take card from the Level 2 deck.
2-2: take 1st card from Level 2 Row.
2-3: take 2nd card from Level 2 Row.
2-4: take 3rd card from Level 2 Row.
2-5: take 1 VP token.
2-6: take 1st card from Level 3 Row.
3-1: take card from the Level 2 deck.
3-2: take 1st card from Level 2 Row.
3-3: take 2nd card from Level 2 Row.
3-4 & 3-5: take 1 VP token.
3-6: take card from Level 3 deck.
As we can see that if the first roll is 2 or 3, there are some overlaps. This means the AI will have higher chance on taking the Level 2 cards. If the second dice is a 6, the AI will take one Level 3 card.
I think we don’t necessarily need to follow the exact position of cards in the Display area for the roll. This next image is the original chart from the author.
The second image above is a different configuration for higher difficulty setting. In this one, if we roll 4 or 5 with the first dice, instead of no action, the AI will take 1 VP token.
Only if we roll 6, the AI will do nothing on their second step. Also, with this configuration, the AI will have higher chance on taking the Level 3 cards.
That is it with how the AI works from this variant. There are a couple of suggestions to increase the difficulty like whether the AI can also trigger the end game or not.
We can also play against multiple Bots using this AI system to simulate multiple opponents. Each AI will collect their own Gizmo cards, Energy and can trigger the end of the game.
As mentioned before, the author also shared two Gizmo cards that we can print and play with. These Gizmos will give us 1 VP if we can create at least 4 chain reactions or 2 VP if the chain is 5 or more.
The card itself doesn’t give any VP. The rule suggests counting them as part of 16 Gizmos to trigger the end game for higher difficulty.
We can use one of them or both. I think we can also use this module for multi player session.
That is it with this solo variant.
My Experience & Thoughts
I haven’t gotten a chance to play this game with other players and mostly played using the fan made solo variant. Even with the solo mode, I only played against a single AI and haven’t tried with more.
Hopefully that can replicate the 2 player experience enough. The game itself is mostly a multiplayer solitaire game. If there is any player interaction it comes from the Display area where we take the Gizmo cards from.
With just a single opponent, I definitely start to consider reserving the card that I think is a good one so the opponent will not take them. But the tension is not that good because there is a chance that the bot may not take it. I suspect with more players, the situation will be more chaotic.
Regardless of player count, the market remains the same. I guess it is easier to build a good engine with less player. Maybe they should remove a number of cards which is just variants based on the Energy type to increase the tension? I don’t know.
If I remember correctly, when I first played this game, the main focus was to get more chain reaction. For me, I don’t really care about my score or winning in this kind of game. Just having a good engine with multiple combos already feels great.
Like some people, eventually I feel like the game ends too soon. I managed to build the engine but don’t have enough time to run it.
Then, I tried the solo variant and realized that the bot score a lot more points than me. Those VP token that I didn’t care at first and the bot keep collecting and score a lot of points from them.
Because of that, it got me thinking that maybe I didn’t play the game correctly. Since then, I try to chase more specific Gizmo cards, especially those that gives me the tokens.
At the same time, I also started to ignore other stuff like those CONVERTERS. It also get me to try the RESEARCH action. Usually in any similar game, I don’t like pushing my luck by drawing blindly. The chances are, I got a bad card as well and waste my turn.
Then again, this game offers a way to mitigate it. The worst scenario would be that I should just take FILE action with that bad Gizmo and get 1 Energy.
It gets even better that we can increase the reward of FILE action. Because of that, I tend to always use the RESEARCH action considering that I will always get something.
The downside is that we can only draw 3. But we can increase it with more Upgrade Gizmos. This is how I started chasing this strategy.
I thought upgrade is rather useless at first except for the Energy storage. After I realized that the game offer an integrated system of push your luck and mitigation mechanism, those Upgrades are a must.
Instead of just gambling, hoping we get a good card from the random draw, the game offers a way to mitigate, even to improve it. The Starting Gizmo will give us that 1 free Energy if, at least, we put that bad card to archive. Almost like getting 1 Worker for bad dice roll in The Castles of Burgundy.
It’s a bad idea then if we choose that action, get bad card but don’t have a free Archive.
Because of this, the Research action or draw randomly is always a fun choice. We don’t need to focus on the static Display area because nobody wants them.
Even the Display area has 9 cards where other Engine building card game only has a total of like 5 cards. They also separate the deck so knowing what kind of cards we can expect from each level can help a lot.
I wish games like Imperial Setters can also use separate decks. Not just between the Faction and Common deck but within those two as well with the production, action and feature type. It feels bad when we keep getting cards that we don’t need because it get buried in a giant deck.
Of course a good card can come out early in the Display like from Level 3. We cannot afford to build it right away and have no choice but to archive it. Then, we can get stuck early as well because we cannot take advantage of the bonus from the Starting Gizmo.
So, with the multiple decks, a lot of cards in the display, the draw blindly and bonus from Archive, I think Gizmo could be the engine building card game with the best solution. Solution to typical games in this genre of having to play too many cards.
Then again, I have not played a lot of games. Maybe there are other games with better solution.
It may not be the best engine building card game mostly because of the theme. Gizmos is rather abstract and doesn’t really offer anything different from game to game. It’s fun to play once in a while, though.
However, I think the lack of theme makes it easier for player to focus on optimize the engine. Other game may have a name for each card and put more theme on it which for me, at least, kind of more difficult to find the connection.
Still, with all of those solutions, the game can be very slow until we really find a good combination. This is a game where we start with the same situation but as the game progresses, we shape our engine.
I feel like the overall optimal strategy will always be the same even if we always start with different 9 cards. Out of 108 Gizmo cards, most of them are also just variants not a totally different card.
Maybe there are others like using multiple Converters but I’m not sure how good they are. Always look for Upgrades, improve the File action then Research, hopefully we can get cards to gain VP token and diversify.
Also, regarding the Level 3, at first, I always played with all of Level 3 cards instead of just 16. I get it that is so we will see a different cards from game to game. But I feel like I had more fun with all cards. Even the AI can probably get higher score.
One more criticism that I have is regarding the tracking which Gizmos that I have activated. Most of the time, we may not need it but eventually we will have Gizmos that triggers 2 of the same actions and this really need a way to track it.
I made a mistake for a while that I can simply just keep activating both. Other than that, only the Build type can lead to multiple different actions while other types will just enhance its own.
Overall, Gizmo is a fun game. Not only fun to build the engine but we will have more fun trying to beat our own score or the AI’s.
I do wish that the game can have a major expansion but I have no idea what it would be. Maybe we finally have an official AI. Something that we need to attack using the Energy that we produce. So, it can be a cooperative mode.
Maybe a robot that can steal our Gizmos. That means we probably need new Gizmos cards that allows us to spend the Energy to attack the Robot.
Ever since the launch of Gizmos in 2018, the game still hasn’t gotten any major expansion. There were only 2 sets of promo cards so far and from what I heard that there is no plan to reprint them.
Lost Designs Promo Set (2018)
This promos was available during the launch of the game during Gen Con 2018. Someone also said that they were giving this away during CMON Expo 2019 as part of their goody bag.
The promo pack includes 6 new Level 3 Gizmo Cards. These introduces 3 new effects with new icons with 2 cards each.
The first one, a Converter type, allows us to discard Gizmo in the Archive and put them on the bottom of the corresponding deck in order to pay the cost. Each discarded card is considered as 2 Energy of the same type.
The second effect with an Upgrade type allows us to copy the effect from another Gizmos, except for Upgrade type Gizmo. This should be done before taking an action. I think it adds complexity to keep track on which Gizmos that we will use but this one can be very powerful. It also adds some flexibility.
The last one, also an Upgrade type, allows us to gain VP from each built Gizmos from one Energy type with the most Gizmos. This will encourage players to focus on collecting just a single Energy type.
That means, at the end of the game, since the Gizmos are overlapping each other, we need to separate them and check them one by one. Maybe even we need to do that in game or it will be difficult to tell.
Extra Credits Promo (2020)
This one was available exclusively through Asmodee’s “Asmoplay” January 2020 Ingenuity box. I’m not sure what it was.
Basically, we get a sheet with 24 cardboard tokens. 4 of them are Scoring tables for each player. The other 20 have Gizmos type icons from Upgrade, Converter, File, Pick and Build with 4 tokens each.
With this expansion, everytime a player build their 3rd Gizmo of the same Gizmo type, they will gain the corresponding token. Each player can only take the token of the same type once so they can get up to 5 tokens.
During scoring, the player will gain VP based on the amount of tokens. Here are the details.
1 token: 1 VP
2 tokens: 3 VP
3 tokens: 6 VP
4 tokens: 10 VP
5 tokens: 15 VP
That means, this expansions encourages players to not just focus on one type like only BUILD type Gizmos. The more they can diversify, the higher score they can get from these tokens.
If we go for 15 tokens, it almost like the entire Gizmos before we trigger the end game. I’m not sure we will have fun collecting the CONVERTER type and the FILE type is probably the most difficult.
We still have a lot of use from the PICK type and we will have no problem with either the BUILD and UPGRADE.
Somebody suggested that we should not try to chase this expansion. We can easily just use cubes or other game pieces to replicate the function as long as we have 5 different pieces or color with a copy for each player.
Gizmos is a competitive engine-building card game for 2-4 players. We will be using marbles with 4 different colors as the resources in order to pay the cost to build Gizmo cards.
Each Gizmo card has an effect if we build them from just gaining VP tokens or it can trigger another action. If we can find a good combination of those Gizmos, an action during our turn can lead to multiple different actions.
This can help us gain more Energy, build faster, and gain more points. The 4 basic actions that we can do at the start of the turn are FILE, PICK, BUILD and RESEARCH.
File allows us to reserve a Gizmo cards so other players cannot build it. Pick means to pick the Energy or resources. Build is building Gizmo and put the card into our tableau. Research is like the blind draw a number of cards and choose 1 to either build or reserve.
The Gizmos can enhance those 4 actions or lead to more of those 4 actions. Each turn we can activate as many Gizmos as we have but only once per turn.
The game will end after we have 16 Gizmos or 4 Gizmos from Level 3. By using separate decks for each 3 Level, it is very easy to predict which card level we should go for.
The best part of Gizmos is the game offers probably the best system for the typical issue of any engine-building card game with too many cards. Not only we have more cards in the display area with 3 separate decks, the game also allow us to explore the deck with that Research action.
It’s even better that we can improve that action. That action is like a push your luck mechanism that we may still get bad cards. However, the game has a system to mitigate that we can also improve.
At least if we choose to reserve any card, we will get an Energy. With the right Gizmo cards, this can be another action, another Energy or even VP token.
It makes the game very fun to search through the deck. The chances to get bust is very low, assuming we are prepared for it and it’s not that hard to improve it.
The game comes with marbles and dispenser for the marbles which is mostly just a gimmick. But definitely will make a good table presence. We can simply just use a standard playing card to replace the marbles.
Unfortunately there is no official solo variant. But there are two fan made variants that allows us to compete with one or more Bot.
While the game is very fun to play once in a while but it doesn’t seem to have a lot of replay value with no major expansion at this point. The game may start rather slow but can get very complex with all of the chain reactions that can happen.
More Similar Games
There are many tabletop games out there whether a board or card game like Gizmos. These are games that I have played that share some similarities with Gizmos.
Engine Building Game
For me, the best part of Gizmo is the engine building experience. In this game, we are not just gathering resources and converting them into points. But the fun experience is how we can connect each element of the engine so they can synergize and work together in long term.
It’s like finding the right gear for the machine. Even if we cannot achieve that, we will be trying to increase the efficiency of each part and figure out how to manually connect them.
For that, I think Imperial Settlers can also offer similar experience but in more complex settings as it has more theme to each card we play. Like in Gizmos, we have several different major types of machine.
One that produce, another to increase the storage and the last one to convert either to VP or other resources. Imperial Settlers also uses mostly cards but instead of marbles, we use several different wooden tokens.
Like in Gizmos where at the start we can only do one action but towards the end, we can do multiple different actions.
For smaller game, I think Oh My Goods! can also give this engine building experience. This one only uses cards but multi use cards that works as the resources and the machine.
In this game, we are creating a factory which produce a specific type of goods. If we manage to find another type of factory, the goods from the first one can boosts the engine of the second one.
Like the Research action in Gizmos, in Oh My Goods! we can discard our cards, pushing our luck hopefully to find a better set of cards. We can also experience the chain reactions between these factories.
Café is another card game that I think can offer the similar feel of engine building. The main mechanism is tile laying using cards. We will need to overlap those cards so that the icons of the same machine are right next to each other so it can be run with just a single action.
There are 3 types of machines in this game with coffee factory as the theme. Each coffee or cubes must go through these 3 machines before they can worth some points.
Sometimes we need to hold the production chains because one machine is not as efficient as the others. This is similar in Gizmo when having Converter but still not enough Energy.
For those who don’t mind auction or bidding game, Fleet can also offer similar feel. It’s a card game about a fleet of fishing boats where we have to bid for licenses.
The different licenses we can try to get doesn’t necessarily going to generate resources. Instead, they can give discounts in some parts of the process similar to discount effect in Gizmos.
To some extent, I think in Mint Works, we can also have this experience. It is a worker placement game where the Worker is also the resources that we can spend to build factory cards.
If we can get the right type of Factories, we can generate more Workers or resources. That way, we have more actions in future turns.
Villages of Valeria can also have this experience but very minor.
Another interesting challenge in Gizmo is the resource management. While we can increase the capacity to hold resources for marbles or Gizmos in Archive, most of the time, we need to figure out how to manage the limited amount we can have.
And sometimes, we just cannot find the one to increase the capacity and have to deal with what we have. There is a hard limit and we cannot simply discard them to make room.
We have to find a different path like going for the Convertor in Gizmo or just build the others that may not help much.
So, the challenge is the limit and the fun is to find alternative way to overcome it. Whether it’s a hand limit, or other resources limit or even limited choice.
For that experience, Targi may fit this criteria. It’s a 2 player only game with worker placement mechanism.
We can only hold up to 10 Goods and we need to figure out how to convert them into points. Whether by converting them into Silver or by expanding the Tribe.
The Castles of Burgundy: The Card Game may also offer this experience. There are several limit or bottleneck that we need to overcome.
The first one is that we can only have up to 3 project cards. We may start a project or collecting a set of 3, but sometimes we have to abandon that plan. Maybe later we can finish it or remains unfinished.
Another limit is the dice in the form of card that will limited the choice of what we can do. At the same time, the game still offers a lot of choice with those limited dice. But that means we need to have some kind of contingency plan.
This one also feels very rewarding. Almost every action we do will give some form of bonuses or resources that we can use spend for future actions, just like getting those extra marbles in Gizmos as the effect.
The Dice version of this game may offer this experience in more spatial puzzle. We need to go to a different direction because we are dictated by the dice roll.
In the form of hand limit, we can also try Mandala. It’s another 2 player only game with area majority element.
With a limit of 7 cards of several different colors, we need to play them in 2 different Mandala areas. The opportunity comes between increasing the control or the reward.
Another game that I have tried with this experience is Quests of Valeria. In this game, we have a hand limit and Guild limit of 8 cards each. Cards in the hand will have different use with the cards in our tableau or Guild.
Only cards in the tableau can be used to fulfill the Quests but both can used to generate cards in our tableau. So, the same cards become two different type of resources and we need to figure out how to manage cards in both places.
There is also a RESERVE element to keep some Quest cards similar to File Action in Gizmos. Sometimes we can forget about that card and complete a different Quest in the market.
There are definitely other games that I have not played but with these similarities. I will keep updating my website with more games.
Jaipur is also similar. We have a hand limit of 7 cards but we can have Camel cards to help us doing trading between several different cards from hand and the market. This one is also very rewarding when we trade those cards into tokens.
For solo game only, I’ve only played Finished!. In this game, the limit is the candy token. We need to figure out when to spend the candy so that when the cards allows us to take candy, we have rooms.
Another resources that we can manage is the time by preventing as long as we can to spend those coffee. In order to do that, we can use the different location of our tableau and send the cards there in the right time.
Find out the latest update from this Complete List. If we are just looking for portable games that we can play anywhere, there are more games on that list.
That is all I can share with you about Gizmos, a card game. The box size and the components may suggests that this is more than cards but it is essentially just card game with some production value.
I probably have missed something that I should have discussed regarding the game. Please don’t hesitate to point that out and share what you know related to this game and I will update this article.
I keep saying that these tabletop games can be a good way to spend some time without looking at the screen of our gadget. If we do have someone close, that we can play with, there are other games where we can play cooperatively or competitively but with a lot of player interaction.
The game can be very fast or like a filler type or it can take hours to play. Some games can also be played in solitaire mode and they are still more engaging than other entertainment activity.
So, what is your experience on playing this game? If you know other games similar or even better than this, please do share via the comment section below. I would love to learn and play that game, assuming I can get a copy.
This article is just my notes about what I can find from the internet. Hopefully this can help anybody who reads it.
Thanks for reading.