Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde
List Price: $13.00
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The story of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, well known worldwide and screened multiple times, is the struggle between the good and evil selves of one person. Played in teams of two, the goal is to take Dr. Jekyll or Mr. Hyde to victory over the other self. But control over one's own cards is limited. The Dr. Jekyll players will also have to play Mr. Hyde cards and vice versa. Subtle communication with one's partner and sensitive tactics are needed here.
Characters, places and events from the novel are illustrated on 28 different beautifully illustrated playing cards. A supplementary booklet presents the background to the story and corrects some false impressions of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
Wow, what a game! I've actually had this game for quite a while, but was unable to play it because we rarely had exactly 4 people who wanted to play a game.
Besides the restriction on the number of players, I'll get the other downside out of the way: the art. Blech! The artwork looks like (and no disrespect is meant to high schoolers here) doodles made on a notebook by an 8th grader.
But that's about all the complaining I can do about this very clever game. The cards are well-balanced between ability to take a trick and value at the end of a round. The gameplay goes quickly, but requires some thought and deduction. And unlike a standard 52 card deck, it's much easier to count cards with only 28 to keep track of.
If, in your future gaming, you will be playing with 4 players, I highly recommend Twilight. Not only is it an engaging game, it's one of the best game values you'll come across.
With only 28 cards in the deck, this tiny little game has one of the more odd themes I've seen. Each partnership (a 4 player game) represents a rival cult (sun or moon) trying to capture souls and save them in temples.
The serious twist is that each team has their own set of cards. But all of the cards are shuffled and dealt to all of the players. These cards are marked on the back with the appropriate sun or moon symbol.
But each team may only play the cards of their 'suit'. The twisted choice that a player has to make is whether to play the card from their own hand, or nominate another player to play a card on their behalf. The nominated player chooses which card.
After a LOT of play, the game seems to get deeper. The initial deck structure and unusual play take about 3-4 games to get the hang of. Then the game drifts into a deduction game. You have to watch the play of each player and try and figure out where the important cards are.
There is still a fairly strong luck of the deal effect going here, so the game requires at least 7 or 8 hands to balance that out, leading to a 60 minute game. (90 if you play to the recommended value of 1000. We play to a slightly smaller and rather appropriate total familiar to fans of the film 'The Omen.')
This is a game that will strain your brain. Promise.
What can be said about a card game with only 28 cards? In the case of 'Twilight,' quite a lot, actually. It is a trick-taking game for four players (highly recommended) or, optionally, for three (not recommended). It boasts the very unusual game mechanic that you can only play cards for your own cult, represented by one of the two 'suits' of cards in the slim deck. If you have none of your own, or choose not to play one, you can ask another player to play a card on your behalf. This becomes absolutely necessary as the game progresses, as your opponents will usually have a number of your cards, just as you will have some of theirs.
Strategy rears its ugly head in deciding which card to play in a given situation - not always an easy choice. Since both suits have an identical mix of cards, neither side has an advantage, other than in strategic card play.
Scoring is arcane, befitting a game with this subject (rival cults trying to capture the most souls), and with each round lasting a scant few minutes, a game of 1000 points is easy to achieve in under an hour. Highly recommended.
Two partners assume the role of Dr. Jekyll or Mr. Hyde, each represented by 14 cards. Deal everyone seven. Each turn, discard a card representing your role, or ask another (friend or foe) to discard one on your behalf. Highest card wins the trick--for the player for whom it was played.
Characters (value 1) win tricks according to rank (A to E). Scenes (values 3 to 7) beat Deeds (values 1 to 3). Where only Scenes (or Deeds) appear, the first card played (irrespective of value) wins. When all tricks are won, your team scores only if captured cards include deeds from your character's deck. Multiply the total of your Deeds by the total value of captured characters--either Jekyll or Hyde. Highest score wins when a team reaches 1,000 points.
In the three-player variant, players take turns as Hyde, partnered with a faceup dummy hand. You'd be mad to pass up this wacky game!
In the realms of 'odd games I have played' Twilight must be one of the oddest. It is a card game for four people, playing in pairs (with a three player option). The small box is unprepossessing, and the artwork uninspiring. Normally I would have walked straight past it, had Sniffer Siggins not tipped me off. In reality I had to ask for it in the shop, as I could not find it.
My initial concerns regarding Twilight's appearance were further heightened when the rules translation came through. My reaction on first reading was "what?", so I read them again. My reaction on second reading was modified to "WHAT??!"
Playing was a lot easier than I expected.
The Twilight deck consists of a mere twenty-eight cards; fourteen for the Sun Cult and fourteen for the Moon cult. The idea of the game is that the four players pair up, with each pair representing one of the cults. It is a trick-taking game, with the pairs attempting to win the tricks to gain points. First to a pre-selected number of points wins. So far so good.
All twenty-four cards are shuffled and dealt evenly, and all are then played out in seven tricks of four cards each. So what was causing the confusion? Well, the players play cards in turn, but each may only play a card of his or her cult. You may either lay one from your own hand, or may ask ANY OTHER PLAYER to play for you. You know whether they have a card of the required cult, as the backs are marked differently. Of course what you don't know is what the card actually is.
So what could they be? Each cult has the same mix of cards, but in their own 'suit' of sun or moon. These are clerics, souls, sanctuaries and one purgatory card. The clerics are the strongest trick-taking cards. The five are ranked from one to five, with one being the strongest. Normally the player who plays (or has played on their behalf) the number one cleric into the trick will win it. Next in trick taking rank are the souls. Although soul cards depict from one to five souls each is valued the same for trick taking. The numbers of souls affect the score at the end of the hand.
The basic principle is that the top value cleric will win the trick for that cleric's cult. If no cleric has been played the first soul card to be played will win, regardless of its point value. If neither has been played (unusual) the first sanctuary played will take it. The purgatory card freezes the trick, which is put to one side and taken by the winner of the next trick.
When all seven tricks have been played the hand is scored. At this point the cult depicted on the cards is irrelevant. Scoring is: one for each soul (so each soul card is worth from one to five points), plus one for each cleric (ignore rank). This total is then multiplied by the total values of sanctuaries won. There are three sanctuary cards per cult, valued from one to three. Conceivably one pair's score could be multiplied by twelve. Conversely if you win no sanctuaries your score will be zero, due to the zero multiplier. This leads to some pretty wild scoring swings.
Twilight proved relatively easy to play mechanically, once we understood the basic principles. The choice of whether to play yourself, ask your partner to play, or your opponent is interesting. I am not a good card player, but even I was able to work out some good plays forcing opponents to win tricks for my cult.
Hopefully I have clarified this rather odd game, but I suspect not. I cannot decide whether Twilight is a good long-term game. What I can say though is that my group enjoyed it, and for around six quid it is different enough to be worth trying.