Heroes & Tricks had very successful Kickstarter campaign last year and recently started hitting the hands of backers. The game immediately caught peoples’ attention with its unique box that is used as a part of the game to cards, only revealing a bit of information about the last cards played into it. The combination of the box and the cute and colorful art made it an instant favorite among Kickstarter backers.
Heroes & Tricks is a light trick taking game where players are trying to win the most Heroes. Each trick is a round where players place cards in the deck box. A full game is a set of tricks played using a single hand of cards.
Setup is simple. The 3 decks of cards, Play Cards, Hero Cards, and Gear Cards, are shuffled individually. All the Hero cards go into the game box behind the back divider. Each player then gets 3 Gear Cards and a number of Play Cards depending on the number of players. All the unused Play and Gear Cards are placed in the middle of game box. Now each player passes 2 Play Cards and 1 Gear Card to their left. This only happens once per hand.
At the start of each trick each player may play a Gear card into the front of the game box as long as it’s labeled “Play Before the Trick.” Once that’s done, the first player draws a Hero Card from the back of the box, looks at it, and places it in the front of the box with, optionally, a Gear Card and a Play Card in front of it. Only the number, color, and suit of the Play Card should be visible in the box’s notch. The box is then closed and passed to the next player.
Play continues until all players have played cards. The last player to play a card then lays out all the cards, in order, to resolve who won the trick. The winner is determined using the following rules, moving down the list if no one meets the criteria:
- Player who played the highest card matching the color and the suit of the Hero
- Player who played the highest card matching the color of the Hero
- Player who played the highest card matching the suit of the Hero
- Player who played the highest card
Once the winner is determined they take the Hero and the next trick starts with the player who revealed the last trick. The game continues this way until all but 2 cards are played from the players’ hands. Points from Heroes and Gear are added up to determine the winner.
There are some variations to the rules, tie breakers, etc… that can be found in the full rulebook.
Visually, Heroes & Tricks is a treat. Colorful, cartoony artwork adorns every card and adds to the overall fantasy theme of the game. The box is also awesome with its dividers to store cards during play and the notched top used to keep all but a bit of information about the last card played. The entire game is sturdy, portable, and strikingly well made.
Heroes & Tricks has a lot going for it with its beautiful art, quirky box mechanic, and simple ruleset. Unfortunately, it falls a bit flat once you put everything into practice due to the blind nature of the card play. There’s a bit of deduction here, but in the end, you’re playing cards inside the box with little more than a hope unless you’ve got some interesting Gear Cards.
It’s a game where you’re excited to play, and even may really enjoy the first few rounds, but in the end, you feel like there wasn’t much to be done other than “roll the dice” and hope for the best. The game is by no means bad, but it’s not very memorable beyond the gimmick of its box. Surely there’s some people out there who will get immense pleasure out of this one, it just wasn’t for me and mine.
A copy of Heroes & Tricks was provided free for review by Pencil First Games.