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Triumvirate is a fast paced game for two that requires subtle hand management and card play to win. It is an indirect game where the players represent the leaders of Roman noble houses. These noble leaders will be maneuvering the mostly political and sometimes military struggles that will determine which of the triumvir (Caesar, Pompey and Crassus) will be crowned as Emperor while also building influence with the individual Triumvirate members. The game ends when an Emperor is crowned, the winner is the player with the most influence over the Emperor at the end of the game. You can try to win outright, but usually you'll have to manipulate your way to victory.
The innovative twists on trick taking make for a very satisfying, imperfect information game that really works for two players! The game is meaty enough to be a good "filler" for gamers, but subtle enough to be enjoyed by significant others.
2 Players, A round plays in 15 Minutes, game length options from 15 to 45 minutes.
Average Rating: 4.5 in 1 review
The first game in the fantastic Postcard Box series is Triumvirate. Being Travis Worthington's own design, to some extent it is the flag-ship for the Indie Board & Cards line. It was originally a self-published game that appeared in a much more humble form, only to be recast with lavish components when the Postcard Box Games series came to be. So why does it deserve our attention? As it is, most of us are always on the lookout for good two-player games that play reasonably quickly and feature satisfying game-play. If you're a fan of traditional type trick-taking games, you'll be well aware that there aren't many trick taking games that meet these criteria and work well with only two players. So when one comes along that does, it's worth taking note - and Triumvirate is one such game.
But while Triumvirate has some trick taking elements that make it appeal to people familiar with more traditional card games, it features an indirect style of trick-taking play that sets it apart. The unconventional aspect of game-play is that you win by supporting the colour you think will win the most tricks, not by winning the tricks themselves. Oh yes, did I mention that it has a theme too? It's pasted on, admittedly, but it does work - at least on the level of making the game become more than just pure numbers. The aim of the game is to secretly pledge support (by setting aside point cards) for one of the three Roman leaders - Caesar, Pompey, and Crassus. These are represented by three coloured suits ( red, yellow, and black), and players must try to make that suit win the most tricks. The interesting part is that what matters is not which player wins those tricks, but which colour. Genius! This indirect trick taking mechanism makes for very interesting and subtle gameplay, and there's good elements of bluffing, as well as potential for clever tactical and strategic choices. Admittedly Triumvirate's strength is also its weakness, because the indirect trick taking mechanic is not for everyone - it will primarily appeal to people who enjoy trick taking games and who are prepared to stick it out after their first game.
Altogether it's an innovative and thematic trick taking game for two players that actually works, and really does live up to its billing! So if you enjoy the nuances of trick taking games, and are looking for something to play with two players and are prepared to try something unconventional, definitely go check out Triumvirate! I enjoy it immensely.