Gnomitaire

App review by
Erin Brereton, Common Sense Media
Gnomitaire App Poster Image
Unclear play rules complicate simple card game.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Educational Value

Kids can learn about using logic and making decisions. The game involves strategy and working toward a general goal. Kids will follow instructions and get reading practice, and problem solving may come into play if they run into difficulties stacking the cards the right way. Unlike many card games, the app doesn't offer much counting or other basic math practice. Some seemingly inconsistent elements of the game may diminish the overall learning opportunities the app ultimately provides. Depending on how rounds go, though, kids could get a chance to strengthen some critical thinking skills.

Ease of Play

A tutorial offers a basic introduction to each game version, although kids may find the instructions aren't thorough enough to prevent any confusion.

Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Gnomitaire is a card game for iOS and Android devices. Gameplay involves lining cards up by certain rules. Gamers can choose between three versions -- two single-player options and a mode that pits them against other players who they don't have any contact with. The app's remarkably ad-free and doesn't feature product plugs or similar references. A brief tutorial explains some of the gameplay basics when players start. They can revisit those instructions at any time, but the rules can still be a little bit confusing, particularly if they aren't familiar with card suits or games.

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What's it about?

Kids drag and place cards in four columns so each contains four suits in the Casual, or basic, version of the solitaire-esque GNOMITAIRE card game. In addition to each card's suit, shown in the upper left corner, additional suit symbols at the bottom of each card indicate which cards can be placed beneath it. In the Expert version, you're also not allowed to have more than one type of card in each column and row -- two heart cards, for example, can’t be horizontally next to each other. In the Challenge mode, you're ranked against other players.

Is it any good?

This card game initially has a fairly simple premise: players line cards up in vertical rows so the rows contain a card from each of the four card suits. The bottom of the cards in Gnomitaire have one to three additional suit symbols, which indicate which type of card you can place beneath it. If a row has a heart card, for instance, with a club and spade symbol at the bottom, players can line up either a spade or club card underneath it. A gnome watches you drag and drop cards and offers initial instructions.

Playing the basic version of the game would be easy enough, if things were that straightforward -- but they aren't necessarily. As a number of users have commented, the app seems, as of now, to be a bit buggy. One suit symbol at the bottom of a card may be grayed out, for example, and it’s unclear why. In some instances, although a placement seems to be within the rules, a card can't physically be dragged and dropped into place in a row. If there's a legitimate reason for that, it isn't explained clearly in the tutorial shown before playing. The instructions include some visuals, and players can test out moving a card around, but overall, they're pretty brief. The game can be fun when it works -- but the same issues can appear in the Expert and Challenge versions of the game, in addition to the basic version, which ends up turning what would otherwise be a pretty fun, quick round of cards into a potentially frustrating playing experience. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how strategy is used in Gnomitaire. What kind of real-world challenges could your child's approach to figuring out the best card order help solve?

  • Can your child identify an objective -- and several steps to take to reach it? Are there other ways that goal could be accomplished?

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  • How should you handle having no idea how to complete something? What can you do to determine a way to advance toward your goal?

App details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love card games

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