Overall Rating: 9/10
GLAM Age Range: 13-adult
Number of Players: 2-6
Playing Time: 15 min
Publisher: Indie Boards & Cards
Available At: Amazon.com
Quick Take: I love the game Love Letter and this is basically that game but up two levels of complexity. You're trying to be the last person standing as you eliminate opponents' cards through strategic use of the cards that you have and perhaps pretending to have cards that are not in fact in your hand. Apparently they play this tournament style at game conventions, so let your nerd flag fly high if you want to join their company. My favorite thing is short strategy games but this requires a lot of concentration as you keep track of who is claiming to have what cards so it's not an ideal pick for a casual game night. It takes a few read-throughs of the rules to get the intricacies of the game play down.
How to Play: Your goal is to win the "coup" over the government and use the powers of your cards to be the last person left in the game. Every player is dealt two cards, which they get to look at and then place face down in front of them. You all start with two coins. Each turn you can take one action which varies from card to card. A duke can tax and take 3 coins from the center. An assassin can assassinate and pay three coins to make another player lose a card. An ambassador can exchange his cards for new cards and a captain can steal coins from other players. However, the trick is that no one can see your cards so they don't know if you're performing an action that you don't have the card for. Maybe you take 3 coins but you don't have the duke. Or you try to steal coins from another player and you don't have a captain card. If someone thinks you are lying, they can challenge your action and if they are correct and are caught in a lie, you lose a card. If you were not in fact lying, they lose a card instead. I highly recommend watching a short video tutorial on how to play before your first game, it's not that complicated of a game once you see how it works and play through once or twice, there's just a bit of a learning curve the first time through. And they have a great reference card for each player (pictured above) so you don't have to memorize which actions correspond with which cards. Eventually either people are eliminated by having their actions challenged and losing cards or by having players pay to assassinate or perform a coup on their cards. Last person with any cards left is the victor!
Variations: We first played this as a two player game and it did not work nearly as well as it does with more players. I would say 4-6 players is the sweet spot where this game works best. However, they provide official variants in the rules to make the two player game more competitive by having each player start with just one coin instead of two and allowing the players to have more choice with which cards they begin the game.