Daniel Solis has a really strong track record in my opinion. I’ve enjoyed every game I’ve played of his over the years, and Trickster is no exception. For those unfamiliar, Trickster is a trick playing series of card games that share core rules, but have different themes and special card powers. I’ve played the two current decks, Fantasy and Tianxia. Fantasy is kind of the introductory deck, with simple card powers and colorful fantasy characters. Tianxia contains powers that require a bit more thought with their use, but add an awesome new flavor to play. The cool part? You can mix and match between decks.
Core gameplay is simple. Each round has a leader and a trickster that dictate how the other players need to play their cards. All card powers are resolved when that card is played. Each player follows by playing a card that follows the rules set by the leader and trickster. If a player can’t then they have to take the pot of cards into their house. If each player can play a card, then the trickster takes the pot. Whoever ends up with the pot becomes the leader for the next round.
Game play continues until a player has no more cards in their hand (this condition may change depending on the number of players.) Then cards in the house are counted up, and the winner is the player with the least amount in their house. There’s two things to remember here. A player with cards still in their hand must place them in their house before scoring. Also, the player with the most cards of a suit doesn’t have to score those cards.
It seems very simple, but it’s the card powers that make the game really shine.
I’ve played both Fantasy and Tianxia with my kids (5, 8, and 10) and they all really enjoyed them. My 5 year old took a bit more time to learn the powers, but now knows each in the Fantasy deck by the icons on the cards. The Tianxia deck is still a bit much for him, though he hasn’t given up on it yet!
Daniel has 2 more decks on the way, Starship and Symbiosis. I’ve had a look at the print-and-play playtest decks, and they’re looking really good. I haven’t had a chance to try them out just yet, but I’m eagerly awaiting a chance to do so.
Both decks are an excellent deal. Fantasy is normally $15, but is currently $6.74. Tianxia is normally $12, but is also currently $6.74. My recommendation would be to head over to DriveThruCards right now and snag both.
A copy of Trickster: Tianxia was provided free for review by Smart Play Games. A copy of Trickster: Fantasy was purchased on my own for review.