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Tactical offense and defense in this elegant fencing card game.
Average Rating: 4.2 in 6 reviews
I look for games with really original ideas, but usually just find a familiar plot with a change of illustrations. This game is great because it is totally unlike anything I've seen before. It's one of very few games that made me say, 'Wow, that's clever.' Don't be put off by the fact that play is rather short. Think of it as an aperitif rather than a main dish.
Fencing with cards. Hmmm, what will they think of next?
En Garde is a clever game that does mimic fencing quite well. The gameplay is simple and fast. Three levels of play are offered; none are difficult.
I got two copies and held a little tournament with a group of gaming buddies. The overall winner took home the extra copy. We played, laughed, groused, and were all done in about 45 minutes (three matches played).
It won't be something you play for days/weeks on end. But it is enjoyable and a good game to start the day off, or end it for that matter.
Nice little game.
You've all been in multiplayer games where someone takes an eternity to finish their turn (even though you are trying to nudge the player along with very diplomatic phrases like, 'Hurry it up, Bozo!'). But, the big dilemma is, what do you do in the interim? Play En Garde, of course! This little charmer goes a long way on style, and miraculously transports you into the elegance of fencing in a simple card play format. Even though there is not a lot of strategic depth, with the advanced rules (which is the only way to play it) the unique play and quick rounds make it a winner.
This is an excellent translation of an intriguing mathematical problem into a cute theme. The theme here does not seem arbitrarily grafted onto the game, and indeed the fencers move backwards and forward along a track, trying to get into position to stab one another, or failing that, trying to push one another back. Even without the mathematical problem, this would be cute and fun.
The players move backwards and forwards according to the number of spaces (1 through 5) written on the cards that they lay down. Thus, the trick in knowing when to 'lunge' (and also, when you can defend yourself) lies in making reasonable calculation of the likelihood of your opponent holding certain cards. In my case, this means keeping a constant count of every card played, and continually updating my estimate of my opponents' holdings. I even worked out a little table for myself in idle moments, a set of rules that basically say: (If I hold one of such card and two have been played, then the chances that my opponent having two of that card are equal to such and such.)
It is my belief that the probabilities in this game are simple enough that one can compute a good strategy with some effort, but my girlfriend is of the view that luck is a bigger factor in this game than I believe. She believes that holding the most '1' cards is critical, and that the person who does wins the vast majority of the time. We have not settled this dispute with empirical data, other than to note that we have played games in which the outcome did not conform to this rule.
The game is small and easily transportable. I have also taught it to people across a language barrier, which is a nice quality while traveling, and a consequence of the simple rules. Well recommended.
Multiple levels of play make it very easy to learn, even for little children. With some imagination you get the feel of a real fencing bout. The instructions in French are not well translated from German but the English ones are fine.
Fast paced, with 3 easy variations, a fun game that kids can easily win. Using numbered cards you move on a fencing mat marked into squares. The cards tell you how many squares you can move. When you reach your opponent, you 'touch' and score a point. Not earth shattering. But a nice diversion on a train, at a hotel, waiting at the doctor's office. Fun and fast.