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Subject: Club Fantasci Reviews Mascarade from Asmodee Games rss

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David Lowry
United States
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In a time of Kings, Queens, Spies, Witches, Inquisitors and even fools, the court has gathered. The plots are laid out, plans are hatched and minions are made scapegoats. Manipulation runs throughout the courts as it gatherers try to out maneuver each other with disguise, guile and misdirection. Do you have the ability to see who is really who or whom is posing as someone else? Can you withstand the Inquisitor or are you the courts fool? Find out in Mascarade!

Publisher: Repos Productions/Asmodee Games

Game Designer: Bruno Faidutti

Artwork: Jeremy Masson

Players: 2 - 13

Ages: 10 to adult

Playing Time: 30+ minutes

Game Mechanics: Variable Player Powers, Memory

Contents: 13 character cards, 1 blank character card, 1 courthouse board, gold coins, 14 character tokens and 5 game aids

Suggested Retail Price: $24.99

Parental Advisory: Safe for kids

Awards: N/A

Mascarade is a fun game of character bluffing and misdirection in an attempt to get 13 coins faster than your opponents! Author Bruno Faidutti is well-known for his game design and bring us another great game in which strategy meets social gaming in an explosive way!

The object of Mascarade is to out bluff your opponents by switching character cards and keeping them guessing while trying to remember who their character card is or could be based on the switching between players. It takes a keen memory and a the ability to read a persons bluff! Each opponent is using the characters cards powers in an attempt to gain 13 coins without going bankrupt. If this happens, then the game ends and the richest player wins.

The Character cards are as follows: (All photos linked to the artist's website for proper credit)

The Judge

Judge - Courtesy of Jeremy Masson
The Judge receives all coins currently on the courthouse board.

The Bishop

Bishop - Courtesy of Jeremy Masson
The Bishop takes two coins from the richest players.

The King

King - Courtesy of Jeremy Masson
The King receives three coins from the bank.

The Queen

Queen - Courtesy of Jeremy Masson
The Queen receives two coins from the bank.

The Fool

Fool - Courtesy of Jeremy Masson
The Fool receives a coin from the bank and then may swap two cards from other players.

The Thief

Thief - Courtesy of Jeremy Masson
The Thief takes one gold coin from the player on their left and right.

The Witch

Witch - Courtesy of Jeremy Masson
The Witch can swap her fortune with any other player.

The Spy

Spy - Courtesy of Jeremy Masson
The Spy looks at another players card or one in the middle before swapping her own.

The Peasant x2

Peasant - Courtesy of Jeremy Masson
The Peasant receives one gold from the bank unless both peasants are revealed in the same turn. Then they both receive two coins.

The Cheat

Cheat - Courtesy of Jeremy Masson
The Cheat wins the game if they have 10 or more coins.

The Inquisitor

Inquisitor - Courtesy of Jeremy Masson
The Inquisitor accuses another character who must guess what their character card is. If they are wrong, they pay the Inquisitor four coins.

The Widow

Widow - Courtesy of Jeremy Masson
The Widow receives coins from the bank to bring her fortune up to 10 gold in total.

The Beggar

Beggar - Courtesy of Jeremy Masson
The Beggar is a blank card.

Mascarade starts with the players showing their character cards and then the first four players swapping or not swapping cards under the table to start the bluffing and misdirection of the other players. Now who has what? Did they swap or not? The player themselves don't know and sometime the person taking the action forgets what they did!

The game consists of three possible actions per round. Each player may either swap or not their cards under the table with another player. They may secretly look at their card or they can "announce" their character. This is the meat of the game. Once a player announces who they are, any other player may call their bluff either because they think they are the character announced or to stop the player from achieving their action. At this point all players involved flip their cards to see who was actually telling the truth or bluffing. If the player who announced was actually the character they said, they get the character benefit. Any player who was wrong, pays one gold coin to the courthouse. This is how the Judge gets his coins.

Mascarade is a very fun game that should have the table laughing and having a great time. It takes maybe on game for everyone to finally "get" how it works and start to really fill out their role in the game. There is a bit more strategy to this game than you might realize and you are likely to forget yourself what you just did as the game has a way of distracting your thoughts while everyone else is bluffing or calling each other out. This is my favorite character driven/variable power card game so far, especially for a party game or light filler.

Courthouse Board - Courtesy of Jeremy Masson

This game scales very well depending on the amount of players. There are even two and three player game variations for experienced players. I find myself comparing this to Dread Curse from Smirk and Dagger Games.They are both good games, but I prefer this one a bit more. It's a bit simpler but still provides the fun and strategy that a great game should. People will probably want to compare this to Citadels another Bruno Faidutti game or Red Planet maybe but other than the variable character powers, they comparison ends there. These two games are much more involved and very good in their own right.

As you can tell from the previous artwork, it's amazing. The artwork fits the theme perfectly both in the renaissance feel and the slight edge to the characters themselves. The components are well done as well. The coins, character tokens and courthouse are thick and should last a long time. The character cards are a bit oversized compared to a standard card size and made of a decent thickness of card stock. I don't see any need to worry about damage in the short-term. The player aides are simple to understand a good reference tool for the players, especially since not all characters are in the game. This is where the character tokens come in, to help the players remember what is in play.

In conclusion, Mascarade is a very good, solid and most importantly fun game that does well as a party or filler game. Fun will be had by all providing great laughs and plenty of socializing. It's perfect fit for serious gamers and players that are more used to games like Apple to Apples or Say Anything type party games. A great bridge between designer games and mass market games.

Club Fantasci Scoring (Based on scale of 10):

Artwork: 10

Rules Book: 8

Re-playability: 8

Component Quality: 8

Club Fantasci Overall Score: 8.5

I am giving Mascarade 8.5 out 10 stars because it does such a great job of meeting a good balance of fun, strategy, theme and social gaming.

This game is Club Fantasci Certified!

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Note: A review copy of this game was provided to me.

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Ian Allen
United States
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I have this one but haven't played it yet.

Great review! Very informative - thanks!

ps. - do you have the 2 promo cards? The Damned and the Usurper?
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David Lowry
United States
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glookose wrote:
I have this one but haven't played it yet.

Great review! Very informative - thanks!

ps. - do you have the 2 promo cards? The Damned and the Usurper?

Thanks Ian! No I don't have the promo cards for this one but I supposed I should try to get them huh? lol. I hope you get it to the table soon!
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