Aether Tower reached out to me a few months ago asking if I’d like to try a prototype of their game, Tricksters. After a quick peek at some of the materials they sent over I agreed to give it a go in time for their Kickstarter campaign. The game is quick, fast-paced, and filled with adorable creatures called Annukuh.
Since this is a preview and not a full review, I will be skipping the 4P (Prelude, Play, Pieces, and Perspective) format I’ve been using for reviews.
During our first play of Tricksters, the rules were a bit tricky to understand.After playing a few rounds, and watching Aether Tower’s instructional video, my kids and I had pretty much gotten the hang of things. In the game, players take turn drawing cards and placing them into a center pool of cards. After 4 cards are placed into the pool a scoring phase is triggered. You can see the full rules for the game, including scoring examples, here.
Scoring can be a bit hard to grasp at first, but like I said earlier, it just takes some time playing to get things under control and then it becomes no big deal. Players first choose a card from their hand to be their Avatar for the current scoring round. Then cards in the pool are sorted into piles based on their race of Annukuh. Depending on the number of cards in each pile they can be Perceivers, Keepers, or Tricksters. Different points are scored for each using a Light vs Dark, push-pull method of scoring. There’s also special powers on the cards that need to be taken into account. More on these powers can be seen here. Once scoring is complete certain cards will then go back to the players’ hands, into the pool, or be discarded.
The goal of the game is to get either seven light points or seven dark points. Careful manipulation of the pool is needed to make sure you rack up the points you need without tipping the scales in the opposite direction you want to go. If you’re sitting pretty with six light points the last thing you want is to score off a pile of dark points that will bring those light points down. For example: If you had six light points but ended up scoring 7 dark from a pile, you’d now have 1 dark point. Light and dark always subtract from one another.
So how did my kids and I enjoy the game overall? It was pretty fun once we got into the groove of things. My 6-year-old had a bit of a harder time understanding the concepts of the game but was able to enjoy himself even though he didn’t do very well. The others were able to fully comprehend what was going on and really dug it.
Tricksters is already fully funded, so all you need to do is pledge $19 to make sure you get a copy of the game when it’s ready to go. From what I’m seeing, the final version of the game will be much better looking than the prototype I received. The art and layout of the final cards is beautiful and clean.
A prototype of Tricksters was sent for free by Aether Tower for preview purposes
Media personality Rob Kalajian has been a staple in the board game world for many years. As a former writer for Purple Pawn and the owner of A Pawn’s Perspective, Rob focuses on board game reviews, events, and news. A self-proclaimed geek, Rob loves all things toys and games and even helps raise his four kids in his spare time.