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Here are a few initial impressions after playing the Kickstarter version of Conspiracy!. If you've ever played any of the Mystery Rummy games, then you already know what this one is like. In fact, it seems the main difference between this and any of the official Mystery Rummy games is that Mike Fitzgerald's name doesn't appear anywhere.
The Mystery Rummy games have been a big hit at our house, and this one looks like it's going to continue that tradition. There are a few twists here to the formula. Each of the different sets you play have their own separate powers, either at the time you play them, or for the rest of the hand, or at scoring. This makes for a nice level of interaction and variety. The scoring at the end of each hand is a little fiddly, but nothing too onerous.
The tone is fun and funny, and like other Mystery Rummy games it's amazing how much theme is infused into a rummy game variant. In this one you're a nutjob conspiracy theorist, trying to reveal and prove your theories and discredit others. The draw deck is called the Unknown and the discard pile is called the Tabloids - in part you try to discredit your opponents' theories by getting ridiculous stories about them into the tabloids (i.e. putting the right cards in the discard pile). I was familiar with a number of the conspiracy theories used in the game, but learned something about a few others I hadn't heard of.
The rulebook is much clearer than those of some of the original Mystery Rummy entries (I'm looking at you, Jack the Ripper). The layout of the rules leaves something to be desired, and there's a little repetition, but overall if you've ever played a Mystery Rummy game you'll be up and running in no time. And if this is your first exposure to the genre you should be fine too.
The box cover art is great, presented as a tabloid front page. The art on the cards, apparently done by various artists, is of variable quality.
Fortunately, the one misstep in the game's presentation can easily be ignored. The "Role-playing is devil worship" card art is somewhat offensive and a little disturbing. However, in a separate pack in the box is a set of cards for an additional conspiracy about Bigfoot. The rules card with the Bigfoot expansion says to use that set in place of any one set in the game. So when we've played we use Bigfoot, and the "Role-playing is devil worship" set just stays in the box. Problem solved!
So all in all, a fun addition to the genre that should get a lot of plays. I wonder what the next Mystery Rummy game will be about . . .