Oh. I didn't mention that you have to unlock them all? Yes, ladies and gents, you won't be able to immediately start playing your favorite card games the minute you pop the cartridge in. You'll first have to go through the aptly-named Stamp mode to unlock all 42 games, a process which ultimately ends up being just as exciting as it sounds. It isn't a difficult experience, thankfully, utilizing a stamp system to advance your progress through the lineup. Grabbing first place in a game will net you three stamps, which is the minimum you'll need to advance to the next game. Second place will net you two, third place or lower will net you one, forcing you to play each game at least once and at most three times in order to move on.
In practice, it's a good system. If you happen to be a world-class champion of checkers, you won't need more than one try to earn coveted first place, so there won't be much time nor effort needed to move on to the next game. And even if you're not quite at that level yet, you'll still move on after one or two plays, a number which should provide sufficient familiarity with the game in case you decide to return to it later.
So what's the issue here? That fact that you have to go through stamp mode at all. Clubhouse Games, in case you haven't guessed it, is an excellent title for gaming on the go, with such a wide variety of classic titles for you to play around with. Having to spend a couple of hours just to gain full access to the library doesn't really mix well with the pick-up-and-play mentality, provided you're new to the title. Turning on the game for the first time only to discover you can't play Blackjack immediately can be a little disheartening, especially if you're not all that interested in some of the other categories of games. But once you've cleared stamp mode, everything turns rosy, as you'll be able to hop into the aptly-named Free mode and play any game you like.
This one complaint aside, Clubhouse Games still shines for a number of reasons. The interface is intuitive, offering the official rules for the game you're currently playing with a single tap. And if the rules themselves aren't to your liking, why not change them? Clubhouse lets you tweak the rules for most games freely, providing great potential for replayability even in games you've mastered or never grew overly fond of. If fiddling with the rules still isn't enough to satisfy you, you can always give Mission mode a try, where you'll tackle specific objectives for each game. The tasks you'll have to fulfill vary greatly, providing even more content for players to chew on outside of the games themselves.
Clubhouse's biggest achievement, however, is also its simplest: it gives you a bunch of fun games and lets you take them wherever you want to go. Sure, not all of the classics are well-suited for gaming on the go -- chess comes to mind -- but quite a few of them are excellent ways to spend a few minutes of your free time. Hangman-inspired Word Balloon and card game Spit stood out to me as great fun that didn't require much of a time investment, though those are only two in a large library of titles.
What do you all like? Any games in the Clubhouse collection that you gravitate towards whenever you're out and about? Let me know!