Few weeks ago I'd got this game. I like smart card games, so it was obvious to quick start playing.
Game is only for 3 or 4 players. Well, no to so bad, but you need exact number of players to enjoy Sponsio.
The story is about betting on gladiators fights in ancient times. At least pictures are about this...
Deck consists of 3 (or 4) colors from 1 to 9. Each player gets just 8 cards and the rest (3 or 4) are in display. So we are after setup (plus of course some other components).
The goal is to hoard 30 or more units of gold or win 9 bets in row!
Second condition is very hard so in case of two players fulfill aim of the game 9 bets in row wins.
It is four turns in which players can do basic operations.
* changing card from hand with one from display
* buying special markers
Always player must reveal one of his cards.
And this is one of details which I like very much! Usually. in this game, we can know distribution of almost all cards (half of each opponents hand, our cards and display).
After preparation we start standard trick-taking game. So if you can you must play matching color, and only starting color can take trick.
Ho ho... I must write something about bets
You can bet on almost everything.
I bet that I grab all green cards or just 2 tricks or last trick or none of red cards or not all '9' cards take tricks.
Or I can bet that one of your bets will fail. (I like this part mostly).
Of course prize is different (from 2x till 10x if you double your bet).
But you must remember that you have only 4 turns of preparation to decide about betting or other actions.
Special markers can change slightly course of the game. You can buy starting player marker (very important if you are going to take more tricks). Sometimes you'd like to change bet. Or double its worth.
It seems easy but you have only four turns, other players also change cards, bet (it means take yours(!) bets) and so on.
What is more you can know more cards on personal displays (player must reveal one card to perform other action).
So there is no time to lose, you must be fast and also very clever.
But some guys are not betting! Well, we call them trolls
Each time bet of other player is lose troll gets 2$ (if all bets are succesful troll must pay 4$).
Is rather fast part of the game. Only 8 cards to play. But you must think about your bets (succesful) and, if possible, also about other players bets (how to lose them).
In each of rounds you must be flexible in your planning. Sometimes you've got strong cards but other player take bet coupon! In another round your cars are weak, but your bets are on this occasion rather winning.
If you are starting player with long color of cards you can take almost all. But if other player starts you can get nothing.
I like such demanding rules!
So if you like fast, smart card games you should try Sponsio.
First part of the game is very important. You can recognise intensions of opponents. Each turn gives you more information. But other players also know more about your cards.
Change card? Take starting player marker? Bet? This is a question (4 times in each round )
Second part - playing - sometimes is easy. But usually you must be very carefull to not take cards which lose your bet!
Last part is counting money. If you earn most you'll get extra 2$. If all your bets were succesfull you can mark it on your miniboard. And sometimes decide to change your winning level to money - if it give you 30$ or more and winning.
Small game, fast play, full of tension in each moment.
You play to win but you can choose to be troll and disturb other plans.
Good work Mr. Dorsonczky
Now you can read review in Polish at GamesFanatic.pl