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Subject: The first game, and some thoughts. rss

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Doug Adams
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We sat down and played our first six player game during lunch at work. We have been regularly playing Love Letter (lots), Coup (tons), The Resistance (normal, and Avalon, tons), Ultimate Werewolf Inquisition (recently), and so on. This looked like it would fit in nicely.

This was a French edition of the game so I hastily mocked up an English cheat sheet, complete with typos, but it is hardly needed. The game is very easy to explain, and we were quickly into it.



The components are very nice, the cards large and gloriously illustrated, each with a clear icon depicting the power of the character.

We played with the recommended mix of cards:
King (+3 coins)
Queen (+2 coins)
Judge (take coins from the courthouse)
Witch (exchange wealth with another player)
Cheat (wins on 10 coins)
Bishop (take 2 coins off the richest opponent)

Every player receives a character, which are openly displayed, then flipped down. Four turns of exchanging cards takes place, so you quickly lose track of what went where, and then the game beings in earnest.

During a turn you can either peek at your card; take your card and an opponents and exchange them under the table (or not!); or declare your character to invoke it's power. The last action is the core of the game - any other player at the table can declare that character also - all declared players flip up their card, with the correct player getting the action, and the other players paying a fine to the courthouse. Declarations are supposed to be in turn order around the table, but we quickly adopted "Coup rules" and just shouted out whether we were also declaring that character.

Initial impressions are this is more of a "party" game compared to our other gaming staples. It is very easy to lose track of what character is where, however there are elements were logic and deduction will shine through. I suspect it's worth claiming a character out of turn just to get a chance to look at it to confirm what you have. However, if you reveal a juicy character don't expect to hold it for long! The game produced a lot of laughs, especially when no player was revealed to be the declared character. We quickly realised as you close in on 13 coins, you must get your hands on a money gaining character to close it out (or the Cheat) - but you can't simply declare "King" and hope you win it, as you may hand the the win to someone else.

In our game, we all were hovering around the 8-11 coin mark, but the money was flying around the table thanks to the Witch and Bishop. I managed to hold the Bishop for three turns to grab 6 coins, before that was taken off me, along with my wealth to the Witch (ah you have to love "Bruno" games). I was expecting someone to chip in with a sneaky victory with the Cheat, but Sime closed it out by claiming 13 coins.

Enjoyable, and the giggles it produced means it will hit the table again. As with most of this designer's games, you can't really plan anything, just strap in and enjoy the ride. I suspect it would be pure madness with a high player count.

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Robert Manore
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Warlord beats Troll, Troll beats Elf, Elf beats Water Sprite, and basically everything else beats Enchanted Bunny.
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Thanks for your quick thoughts! Greatly appreciated!

I too may buy it from Ludibay.
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Ivan Pawle
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Thanks for the review, I've been looking forward to hearing how people are getting on with it.

I suspect that (like Citadels) it plays quite differently between smaller and larger groups of players.

Can't wait to try it!
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bruno faidutti
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dougadamsau wrote:
Declarations are supposed to be in turn order around the table, but we quickly adopted "Coup rules" and just shouted out whether we were also declaring that character.


The turn order for declarations can be critical - though it happens more often with more players. Let's suppose 6 players, A, B, C, D, E, F. It's A's turn, and A claims to be the King. B doesn't contest. C knows he had the King, but that was before D swapped - or not - his card with him. If declarations are made in order, C must make his declaration before D. If it' "wild order", there's a problem because if D knows he took the King from C, he wants C to declare first, while C wants D to declare first. It's to prevent such situations that declarations are made clockwise.


dougadamsau wrote:
I suspect it would be pure madness with a high player count.

It's wilder, for sure, but not pure madness. Characters like the two peasants introduce something like team playing - with ever changing teams - and it's still possible to concentrate on two or three characters and try to follow them. It might be best, however, to play the first game with 4 to 6 players, in order not to be overwhelmed by the abilities of all characters.
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Doug Adams
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faidutti wrote:
dougadamsau wrote:
Declarations are supposed to be in turn order around the table, but we quickly adopted "Coup rules" and just shouted out whether we were also declaring that character.


The turn order for declarations can be critical - though it happens more often with more players. Let's suppose 6 players, A, B, C, D, E, F. It's A's turn, and A claims to be the King. B doesn't contest. C knows he had the King, but that was before D swapped - or not - his card with him. If declarations are made in order, C must make his declaration before D. If it' "wild order", there's a problem because if D knows he took the King from C, he wants C to declare first, while C wants D to declare first. It's to prevent such situations that declarations are made clockwise.


That is an excellent point, and I'm sure some players had grasped that fact and were holding back to see what others did. I will try to make it go around the table next time, but six months/150 games of free form Coup creates bad habits to break!
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João Menezes
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dougadamsau wrote:
This was a French edition of the game so I hastily mocked up an English cheat sheet, complete with typos, but it is hardly needed. The game is very easy to explain, and we were quickly into it.


I´ve had the same experience. As soon as I got the game I´ve made a portuguese aid to play with my group. I went as far as to print it in expensive paper to look like the originals, but everybody just quickly memorized the 6 characters and the aids are yet to be used.

(I´ve only played Mascarade with groups of 4-6)

And yes, it is a lot of fun!
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Matt Riddle
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nice write up. I am looking to get this one when its hits American shores
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