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Robert .
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Turn the Tide

The Components (Bits):

This is a quality production overall. The cards are fairly thick with a nice finish, the box is quite wonderful, giving the impression of a much more expensive game. Included inside is a really nice score sheet and pencil, as well as life preserver tokens that are very well done. The illustration and print quality is excellent!

The Setup and Rules:
The rules are well translated without any obvious errors or ambiguities, and the only downside is they are printed on normal paper with black and white ink. Otherwise there are no complaints with them whatsoever, and the game takes seconds to setup. Each player is dealt a hand of twelve “Weather” cards, then takes the corresponding life preservers on each card and places them face up in front of him. Then two tide cards are turned over, and the game begins. Note: The life preservers shown for each player vary depending on the hand you are dealt, which may seem unbalancing, but it isn’t. More life preservers simply means you have a weaker hand, and need more lives to survive.

The Theme:
The theme is quite loose and pasted on and is one of the weakest points about the game. With that being said, I should point out that the pasted on theme doesn’t detract from the overall quality or feel of the game. I just don’t get a “I must save the sheep” feeling when I play it, but I rather appreciate the extremely high quality artwork on the cards.

The Gameplay:
Turn the Tide is a hybrid bidding and trick taking game. Players bid with their “Weather” cards on Tide Level Cards placed face up two at a time in the middle of the table. Each player selects a weather card to use for “Bidding”, and them places it face down in front of themselves. Simultaneously all players reveal their cards, and the bid is resolved. The highest bid takes the lowest card (good), and the second highest weather card takes the remaining tide card. The players examine all displayed tide cards to determine who has the highest tide showing, and that person loses a life preserver – for a tie – both players lose one. This process continues until all twelve cards of each player has been exhausted, or until there are only two players remaining at the table. The life preservers are now scored, and players get ready for the next round. Now the fun part, for the next round each player passes his hand and preservers to the person to their left, and they have to play the next round with the previous persons hand! As you can imagine, this results in some pretty impressive tactics and showmanship, and it all works wonderfully. Enough rounds are played to equal the amount of players at the table, and all scores are tallied and the winner is declared.

The Depth and Tactics:
Turn the Tide isn’t much different than other Stefan Dorra games in that they sound more simple than they are in practice, and usually offer some pretty deep and exciting gameplay. The bidding dynamic is quite similar to Dorra’s other big game “For Sale”, but is an improvement on the system. Losing a bid doesn’t mean you lost a life preserver, because if someone already has a higher one on display from the previous bidding round, and they fail to get any card lower, THAT person loses another life preserver for that. So for example if there are three players, and they have a 5, 11 and 2 tide level cards showing. Up for bid is 2 and 9, if the person holding the 5 gets the 9, then they don’t lose a preserver, the person holding the 11 from the previous bidding round loses a preserver – HOWEVER – if the person holding the 11 on that same round, wins the 2, then the person getting the 9 suddenly loses a life preserver! As you can imagine, this opens up some pretty unique tactics and sneaky gameplay with a healthy dose of “Take that” going on and tremendous interaction. Turn the Tide requires very deliberate and thoroughly considered gameplay to come out on top, and a victory is very rewarding – especially with the hand of a previous player who lost on the round before! The one-upsmanship aspect of this hand exchange system is absolutely brilliant.

Summary:
Turn the Tide is a truly fantastic game, one of the best card games I’ve ever had the pleasure of playing. It accommodates 3-5 players, and is quite easy to learn, yet fairly difficult to master the strategies to consistently win. It offers fairly brisk game durations, ranging from 30-50 minutes in duration depending on the players, yet has enough depth and inventive tactics to not outlive the table time. This is one of Stefan Dorra’s very best games – if not the best – and I consider it a cut above his famous “For Sale” (a game I really enjoy).. The interactive, competitive gameplay, and hand exchange system has to be seen to be appreciated. Turn the Tide comes with my highest recommendation possible, this is simply a must purchase!



Kobra
www.boardgamespiel.com
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Matt Crawford
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Quote:
The highest bid takes the lowest card (good), and the second highest weather card takes the second highest tide card.


That's second-lowest tide card! You fell victim to the same confusion that we had to overcome at Mind Games(tm) last year. You bid high to take a low card, because low is more valuable. (Or you bid low to avoid taking any card when you're happy with what you have.)

The game isn't tough once you get going, but you have to help new players over that high/low mixup.
 
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Hector Irizarry
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This is another game that Gameright has transformed to make it appealing to children audiences with an educational and attactive look in mind. Loot is another one that underwent that process. Anyway I like'm both.
 
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Robert .
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Poor wording on my part, but given there are only 2 tide cards out, it essentially meant the same anyway.

I reworded it to say "Remaining" card to make it crystal clear.
 
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Jay Little
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This is a game I've had my eye on for quite some time, as my family and in-laws absolutely love cards games, and are always willing to try out a new card game I want to introduce.

I'm wondering if you think there is a "magic number" for number of players -- that perhaps the novelty of the mechanic works great with a certain number of people, but doesn't really hold up to a different number, etc.
 
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Robert .
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ynnen wrote:
This is a game I've had my eye on for quite some time, as my family and in-laws absolutely love cards games, and are always willing to try out a new card game I want to introduce.

I'm wondering if you think there is a "magic number" for number of players -- that perhaps the novelty of the mechanic works great with a certain number of people, but doesn't really hold up to a different number, etc.


We've done 3, 4 and 5 player games with it. I will say the dynamics of the 3 player game are somewhat different than 4-5 player, and it requires some strategic changes. For example in a 4 player game, you have an addition person to "Cushion" the bids and somewhat reduce your chances of taking a bad card. But at the same time, gameplay is more cutthroat and deliberate.

Overall though, i've found it works with all numbers equally well, and I enjoy it with 3, 4 or 5 players about the same.
 
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mrbass
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I don't think 3 players works all that great. Seems like everyone is getting screwed. 4 and 5 definitely better.
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