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Mascarade Board Game
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- A game of bluffs and characters
- For 2 to 13 players
- Playable in 30 minutes
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Mascarade is a 2-13 player game in which players are dealt a face up role with different abilities. Almost all roles involve gaining some number of coins using different methods. The object of the game is to be the first player to collect 13 coins.
After all players have a chance to view the roles on the table, each player turns their role card face down onto the table. To begin the process of introducing uncertainty, the first 4 players must take their turns by collecting their own card and the card of another player, then either switch (or pretend to switch) the cards under the table before returning the cards to the table.
After the first four turns, players have the option to either swap their card (just like in the first 4 turns,) claim to be a specific role, or admit they have no idea what's going on and look at their card. When claiming to be a role, if nobody challenges you, you get to perform the abilities of the role no questions asked. However, each player at the table has the option to challenge you by ALSO claiming to the that role. All players claiming to be that role reveal their cards - those who were wrong pay a fine, and the player who was right gets to perform the action - even if it wasn't their turn.
Imagine you're in a situation where you're thinking:
I know I was the King 3 turns ago. But since that time Rob (who was the Fool,) might have swapped my card with Kori. The last I knew, Kori was the Queen. But since then, she was switched with Shelley who was either the Thief, or something else I can't remember. So I could be the King, or I could be the Queen, the Thief, or something else entirely. Maybe if I just pretend to be the Bishop everyone else will be just as confused and nobody will call me on my crap?
So you go ahead with the ploy to pretend to be the Bishop. You get challenged by another player who has been paying attention and is certain they are the Bishop. Upon revealing cards you are shown to be... the Bishop. !!?!
Based on the above, it should be easy enough to decide if you are still interested.
This is a small game with high-quality components.
-The stars of the presentation are the oversize cards with fanciful renaissance-inspired illustrations.
-There are a handful of cardboard markers that serve as reminders for what characters are present in any given game, along with a few dozen cardboard coins, and a cardboard courthouse marker. All cardboard is high quality and bears the same great style found on the cards.
-A helpful addition are 5 reference sheets which summarize the actions of the player roles.
-Finally, the rule book is a scant 16 pages, with most of that being examples of play, role descriptions, and game play variants. The core rules of the game are explained in about 3 pages (including examples.)
Mascarade is a great investment if you:
-Play with 6+ people
-Enjoy hidden roles
-Are into bluffing
-Find humor in being confused / confusing others
Mascarade is not a great game if you:
-Have a small group (Not enough options to keep the game mysterious.)
-Hate being uncertain (Forget about the fact that you won't know what roles other people have, much of the time you wont know who you are.)
-Prefer games that let you stick to specific tactics (Other players can badly mess with your ability to reuse your tactics.)
-Like a game with straightforward transactions (Your moves always have a chance to be challenged, and there is enough uncertainty that bluffing is usually a requirement.)
-Are sensitive about a bad memory, or play in a group with people who are (Unless you're Rainman, you're going to forget just who you are. You're going to forget who you MIGHT be. The best move isn't to spend your turn checking your own card, but sometimes you have no choice.)
There will be players who read the above in delight, and those who read with horror. The great thing about the hobby of gaming is how it reveals the unique aspects of our personalities by getting us to think and act in ways that we either like or dislike. Mascarade is a game that successfully presents memory, uncertainty, guessing, bluffing, and outright (semi-educated) luck as toys to be shared with your friends. The end result is a solid 5 star product - for my tastes.
Some of the art is a little dark and some is too revealing for what We like, but I was able to color in parts of the Queen’s card with a permanent marker and then we just threw away the witch card which doesn’t affect game play because you don’t use all the cards anyway.
Pro : It can accomodate up to 13 players which is very rare so great for massive groups
It has alternate rules for smaller groups so as to prevent thr game from become too easy
It is still decent family level entertainment
The artwork for the cards are amazing
Con : without going into the rules too much it reaches a point where one person calls the judge character and is guaranteed to win...and so far this has been dumb luck more often than not (though I appreciate this is probably to prevent the game from running too long)
The cards are not a standard size and its not that easy to get protective covers...the mechanic of the game will be completely ruined if the backs of the cards get dirtied in anyway...as the cards are in constant view and scrutiny this is more of an issue for this game than others
Overall I didnt find the group responded as well to this game as avalon...everyone liked but it didnt seem as captivating
The answer - Yes, you can. As your one and only action for that turn.
Then after they looked I'd "switch" my card with there's. Ha! That didn't go over so well.
This is a bluffing, memorization, chance game that's very simple. Basically along the same lines as Love Letter with maybe a little Sheriff of Nottingham and/or Avalon (Resistance, Wereolf) thrown in.
4+ players have one card in front of them face up (2-3 players have a variant where each player will have more than one card) and a couple in the middle of the table. You look around, see what each person has (and what's in the middle of the table) then turn all the cards face down...
...and the making of enemies begins. Ha!
After an initial 4 rounds of swapping (or not!) cards with another player (or the center of the table) you will have one of three actions to choose from; swap (or not!) cards, look at your card or declare yourself one of the characters found on the cards. You may actually have that character or not (you probably don't even know what you have most of the time!!!!). People can either call your bluff and say THEY have the card or thy can let you collect the reward for that character. First person to 13 coins wins.
I live simple, thematic games like this that have that bluffing element which always seems to get people riled up.
It's a great filler game and can accommodate up to 13 (!!) players which is unique. It's essential for gamers with a modest collection of games who need to fill a certain niche with a game like this (# players, play time, simplicity, etc.)