$30.00
Henrik Johansson
Sweden
Järfälla
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Psychiatric disorders are among the most scary things existing in our society today. I support those who are suffering and their relatives, but I also support the designers effort to start a discussion about it, and bring the subject to the surface.

There are no cognitive skills needed to play the game other than the game-rules themselves. It does not depend on the players knowing anything regarding the theme "psychiatry". The narrative has a high importance in the game's concept: You are a psychiatrist that is confronted with patient cases, and you have to perform better than your co-workers.

The game-time is divided by patient cases. The total game time could be really short: 2 cases, both resolved in 2 rounds each, one player out of four winning both cases. Playing well involves assessing the cases and use the cards in your hand to optimize your chance to win the case, i.e. to suggest the best matched treatments, and to prepare for the next, yet unknown case. There is no interactivity. Each case is a secret race against the other players, and you can not hurt the others in any direct way.

There is a high amount of luck involved: You can be sitting on a hand full of perfectly matched treatments when a case is revealed. The symptom card mechanism is there as a catch-up mechanism: The more cases you have won already, the higher the probability is for you to be hit by a random negative effect from the symptom cards. There is not much downtime since the rounds are quick, and you may always have a lucky draw and be back into the case hot-seat after some initial bad luck. There is not much busywork, i.e. things that must be done that is not part of the fun parts of the game. You have to shuffle the decks and separate out some of the colours, that is all. There are some calculation when resolving a case. It is a simple matter of addition, subtraction and multiplication.

It plays like a trick-taking card game, but some of the cards have two colours, one positive and one negative value. The trick consists of a case, where small weights are applied to the colours, normally 0,1 or 2. The colours are named Therapy, Pharmaceutical treatment and Social Support. The case weights can be increased to 3 (or -1, or 4+) by players playing "new evidence" resources. To take the trick, you must secretly play cards matching the case weights, where the positive colour outnumbers the negative ones, and if you can not play, you draw new cards and hope for next round.

The game has a high "wife-acceptance" factor or "non-gamer" factor. Non-gamers will be curious about the game. A word of warning: There can be a great deal of spectation: People will gather around you and wonder what the colourful cards are, and why you throwing around words like "Bi-Polar" or "Pharmaceutical treatment". You may be labeled as a case yourself!

The game is a solid good game, that I will be willing to play anytime, I rate it a 7. The game is short, so you will have time for several games, and it will trigger a lot of discussion in a social context.
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