Review by Married With Board Games
It’s the late 1910’s and the world is in the midst of the greatest military conflict it has ever seen.
Soldiers on the front lines experience horrors and trials every day, but thankfully they have each other to provide company, support, and encouragement to help make those trials more bearable.
In The Grizzled, you and your friends play a group of soldiers doing just that – trying to survive the trenches during the First World War.
The Grizzled is cooperative card game for 2 – 5 players published by Cool Mini Or Not Games, designed by Fabien Riffaud and Juan Rodriguez with artwork by Tignous.
The rule book outlines the objective as this:
Through a series of successful Missions, the players will attempt to empty the trials pile and make the Peace card visible. The players win the game when the Peace card is visible and they have no cards left in hand.
At the end of each Mission, the Morale drops, and cards are transferred from the Morale Reserve to the Trials pile. The players lose the game as soon as the Monument card becomes visible.
This game is hard! In order to empty cards from the trials pile, players must play the trials down in a No Man’s Land. That’s easier said than done. If there are ever three trials in No Man’s Land, the mission fails and the Morale Drop phase proceeds.
When you have four people playing trials down in No man’s land each turn, you can imagine how quickly three identical trials will show up.
Other game actions include the use of a Good Luck Charm which removes a trial from No Man’s Land; Make A Speech – Name a trial and all players except the speech giver can remove one card with that trial from their hand; Withdraw and play a Support tile – Choose not to participate in the current mission and secretly select a player to offer your support to.
Each action offers its own challenges. A Good Luck Charm can only be played once per game unless a player later receives support. If you Make A Speech, you must name a trial that everyone has in order for it to be beneficial.
Players cannot discuss which trial cards they have in their hands. And if you Withdraw, you must keep the cards you have in your hand and they then count towards the total of trial cards that must be moved to the trials pile, getting one step closer to the Monument Card.
It’s these strategic choices that make for a truly fun experience. The stakes feel high because of the theme - you want your soldiers to survive the war!
6 Grizzled Cards
59 Trial Cards
16 Support Tiles
1 Mission Leader Token
1 Game Aid
1 Peace Card
1 Monument Card
The Grizzled is a well-made game. All of the components, from cards to cardboard, are of good quality material.
One of our biggest gripes about a game is difficulty in punching pieces out. But these pieces punched out great without any tears or ripping.
The artwork by Tignous is beautiful. It’s of such great quality that it was nominated for a Dice Tower Award. Sadly, Tignous was killed in the Charlie Hebdo attack in France in January of 2015. But he left his mark on this game, and it truly is nice to look at.
Bottom line: The Grizzled is a great experience to share with your spouse, and your friends. Winning and losing together as a result of individual decisions creates a great dynamic between players.