Velonimo – A Whacky Race to the Summit

Velonimo Game box and cards
Velonimo Game box and cards

In Velonimo, animals of all stripes compete in a wacky cycling race!

Bicycle rides are a great way for families to get outdoors and spend time together, cruising with the wind in their hair. But competitive bicyclists seek the challenge and thrill of the race! In this game, you’ll need your best pair of spandex shorts and your water bottle ready to hit the pavement on two wheels!

Velonimo is a bicycle-themed game where players race to the top-most summit of a mountain, scoring points by shedding cards from their hand in each round. The prize for winning this grueling race is the coveted Leader of the Pack Jersey!

Bruno Cathala (Kingdomino, Kingdomino Duel, Oh my Brain) designed Velonimo, a game that combines trick-taking and ladder climbing, and it is published by 25th Century Games.


Velonimo plays over five rounds, or races. The player with the lowest point total (or the youngest player) starts each race.

Remove the Leader of Pack Jersey card and set it aside. Before each round, shuffle and deal 11 cards to each player.

How to Play

In Velonimo there are seven teams (suits) of cards. Each team has seven animals, numbered 1-7. There are also Breakaway Specialist cards ranging from 25-50, which do not belong to any specific team. Finally, there is that Leader of the Pack Jersey card, awarded to the player who holds the lead at the end of a round.

There are three possible actions to take on a turn: Attack, Counter-Attack, or Pass.


In cycling, an Attack is a sudden attempt to get ahead of other riders. In Velonimo, the starting player begins the round with an Attack by playing some number of cards to the center of the table and announcing their value.

A single card is worth its face value. When playing multiple cards, they must be the same color or number. Then, the total value is the number of cards times ten, plus the value of the lowest card in the set.

Since Breakaway Specialists (Hares) are not on a team, they cannot be combined with any other cards.

After a player Attacks, play passes to the next player on the left. That player must Counter-Attack or Pass.

Counter Attack

A Counter-Attack is just like an Attack, but it must be a higher value than the existing Attack on the table. In Velonimo players can Counter-Attack even after Passing, as long as the Attack is still going.


Players can choose to Pass instead of launching a Counter-Attack. Since players can re-enter an Attack if anyone Counter-Attacks, they can use Passing strategically. Think of Passing in Velomino like drafting behind another racer, which effectively reduces wind resistance and the amount of energy required to pedal.

End Of Attack

Once all players Pass, the round ends. The last player to successfully Attack or Counter-Attack is the new leader.

Discard all cards in the center of the table and the leader launches a new Attack.

Leader Cards

The Tortoise for each suit is the Leader card. When a player plays a set including one or more Leader cards they may take a random card from a single chosen opponent’s hand for each Leader card played. In return, they must give back the same amount of cards. The player has the flexibility to return any cards they want, potentially including the ones randomly picked.

A player can play the Leader of the Pack Jersey card (if they have it) as a bonus card once per race. This card provides a 10 point boost to any individual card or card combination (except the Breakaway Specialist).

End of Round & Scoring

Once a player plays their final card, they score points based on the values indicated in the score sheet table.

For example, let’s suppose a five player game is happening. In the first round, the first player to play their final card will earn four points: there are four players remaining, and it is round number one. Four times one is four. Then, the round continues.

The second player out will score three points, and so on. The round ends when only one player remains. That player gets zero points.

Velonimo scoresheet after 1 round: Izzy 3, Jace 0, Lisa 2, Nick 1

Whoever has the most total points at the end of a round gets the Leader of the Pack Jersey card. They keep this card face-up in front of them. It isn’t part of their hand and cannot be stolen by a Tortoise (Leader) card.

After the end of the fifth round, whoever holds the Leader of the Pack Jersey after scoring wins the game!


Velomino is different from numerous other trick-taking and ladder climbing games I’ve played over the years. The gameplay is straightforward, easy to grasp, and progresses swiftly. Scoring is simple, so players won’t find themselves overwhelmed.

There is plenty of tension to keep players gripping their handle bars tightly. Velonimo marries theme and mechanics elegantly. The artwork by Dominique Mertens is charming, with animals precariously pedaling different bicycles.

In Velonimo, the real uniqueness lies in devising a strategy for each round. How will you leverage your cards to craft a remarkable Counter-Attack? From the rulebook:

“Do not play your best combinations too fast! Make sure to take the lead when your opponents can no longer counter-attack. This will allow you to play your final cards more easily.”

You’ll want to get rid of low cards early and save Breakaway cards for big plays. Knowing when to Pass is helpful, especially since you’re not truly out for the round.

Timing is key – don’t waste great card combinations to stay in. Waiting for a new Attack may be your way to burst ahead.

Does Velonimo rack up for families?

Velonimo supports 2-5 players, perfect for most family game nights. With simple rules and addictive nature, families of all ages can enjoy this game. Most of the math is easy enough for younger audiences and turns won’t be bogged down with too much finger counting.

Velonimo is the type of game that leaves my family wanting more than just one play. I highly recommend Velonimo for families who love short, small box games and classic-card-inspired games. Games where theme is married to mechanics shine for me, and this is no exception. I couldn’t find a thing I disliked about it.

Find Velonimo by taking a bike ride to your friendly local game store, buy direct from 25th Century Games, or find it on Amazon.

Starting hand of cards

The Family Gamers received a copy of Velonimo from 25th Century Games for this review.

This post contains affiliate links, which do not change your price, but help support The Family Gamers.

  • 8/10
    Art - 8/10
  • 8/10
    Mechanics - 8/10
  • 8/10
    Family Fun - 8/10


Age Range: 7+
Playtime: 30-40 minutes
Number of Players: 2-5