#018 Game of Suspicion (2016)
Designer: Blue Magpie Games
Artist: SY Li
Publisher: Sharp Point Publishing
Player Count: 3-4
Time: 10 minutes
Apprentice, Warrior, Barbarian, Gladiator, Predator, Valkyrie, Closer, Himiko, Doctor, Aqua, Arrogance. Eleven powerful girls trapped in a deadly game. Who are your enemies? Where are your enemies? Find them before they find you. Can you survive this deadly Game of Suspicion?
Game of Suspicion is a ten minute 3 to 4 player deduction card game from Taiwanese publisher Sharp Point Publishing. Experience the tension, laughter, and bravado in Game of Suspicion!
What’s in the box?
Shuffle all 18 cards. (Number 10 is only used for Advanced Play)
Deal each player 4 cards face down.
Place 2 cards face down in the center of the table within reach of all players.
If you’re playing with 3 players, place the remaining 4 cards face up in the center of the table. These cards won’t be used during gameplay, but they do need to be visible for all players.
Randomly choose the starting player.
On your turn, you must take only one of three possible actions: (1) play a card, (2) exchange a card, or (3) guess an opponent’s entire hand. If the current player doesn’t win the game on their turn, play continues clockwise around the table.
Play continues until all but one player have been eliminated from the game; the remaining active player wins the Game of Suspicion! Twenty-four tokens are also included for longer play. In this case, the first player to collect 15 or more points wins the Epic Game of Suspicion!
Play a card: Take a card from your hand and place it face up on the table in front of you. Activate that card’s unique special power. This card will remain in front of you for the rest of the game. It is no longer considered part of your hand. You CANNOT take this action if you only have 1 or 2 cards remaining in your hand.
Exchange a card: Take one of the two face down cards in the center of the table and place it in your hand. Then take one card from your hand and place it face down in the center of the table next to the other face down card. Players may return the card they just drew.
Guess an opponent’s entire hand: Choose one of your opponents. You, the active player, guess all the numbers in your opponent’s hand. The numbers do NOT need to be in sequential order. The order does NOT matter.
If you guess every card in their hand correctly, the opponent is eliminated from the game. Your opponent places their entire hand face up on the table for all players to see. You, the active player, immediately take another turn. If you’re playing more than one game, gain one point (in tokens) per card in your eliminated opponent’s hand. If they had 4 cards in their hand, gain 4 points in tokens.
If you do not guess every card in their hand correctly, nothing happens. Your opponent does NOT reveal any further information other than your guess was not 100% accurate. A simple response of “wrong” will suffice. Play continues clockwise around the table.
Sugar! Spice! Everything Nice!
Apprentice: Choose two other players. They each exchange one card from their hands.
Warrior: Name a card higher than 1. The player with that card must give the card to you. You give them any other card remaining in your hand.
Barbarian: Any player with a hand total of more than 10, must show you their entire hand. (Calculate the card numbers.)
Gladiator: Choose one opponent. Guess their hand three times.
Predator: All opponents must show you all cards in their hands higher than 4.
Valkyrie: All opponents must show you all even cards in their hands. ZERO is not an even number.
Closer: All opponents discard one card. The discarded card must be the lowest card or tied for lowest.
Himiko: All players with two ZERO cards are immediately eliminated from the game. Scoring tokens are NOT gained by this action.
Doctor: Take the cards you have played this game and the two face down cards from the center of the table and put all of them into your hand. Then place one card face down in the center of the table. The Doctor can always be played regardless of your hand size.
Aqua: At the beginning of your turn, if this is the only card in your hand, you immediately win the game!
Game of Suspicion is another one of those 18-card mini games; however, don’t let that low card count fool you. There’s some meat in each of those eighteen cards. On the surface, Game of suspicion is a well designed deduction game; underneath there is a powerful risk versus reward mechanic that drives the decisions in this tight ten minute game.
I really appreciate the questions this game asks of its players. Those card abilities are quite powerful and some seem almost game-breaking powerful. However using them severely weakens you by decreasing your hand size. Guessing four cards may be quite difficult, but how well do you think your opponents can guess a three-card hand? a two-card hand? or a one-card hand? The built in risk versus reward mechanic here takes this a mediocre deduction card game and elevates it to a fantastic gaming experience. Each super power used not only reveals more information to the players and speeds the game along to its climatic conclusion, but incrementally and exponentially adds much needed tension. You’re quite confident at four cards, a little nervous at three cards, and the sweat begins to pour at two cards.
Game of Suspicion is a card counters paradise. If you do not like counting cards, then this game might not be for you. Now, some gamers might not like that severely mechanics in this game hinge on players being 100% honest, but if you have to worry about your opponents cheating, then your gaming group has bigger issues than this game. Some of the iconography was a bit weird. Why does the Valkyrie card iconography use an ellipses, instead of an 8? There are only four even cards in the entire game. The optional bonus Arrogance card was a bit confusing as well. It behaved and reacted to other cards as a “1 comma 0” and not a “10”. Quite a few gamers felt confused by this. I don’t recommend using it for new players. Playing up to 15 points seemed a bit much to everyone at the table. Playing up to 10 points felt like a tighter experience.
Game of Suspicion reminded me a lot of Herbalism from EmperorS4. I love that publisher, but I do not like that game. In Herbalism, you trade cards, trade cards, trade cards, and then you guess. There wasn’t any tension in the game and the experience felt quite bland for me. Game of Suspicion and its power cards incrementally add an incredible amount of tension paced through out the game. The tension increases and increases until the game ends in a brilliant edge of your seat stand off between two players. Game of Suspicion is a deduction card game done right. It’s a shame, that it only plays up to four.
If you’re looking for a great filler or you love deduction & card counting, I strongly recommend you check out Game of Suspicion.
Gamer: Cardboard East strongly recommends Game of Suspicion for card counters and deduction game fans. Game of Suspicion is a tiny filler game, but I really appreciated the tough questions it asks of its players.
Family: Cardboard East recommends Game of Suspicion for non-gamers. It’s easy to learn and lightning fast. Card counting isn’t for everyone, and some may be significantly better than others. There is player elimination, but a single game should only last 10 minutes. A single play of Game of Suspicion does not outstay its welcome in the slightest.
Party: Cardboard East recommends Game of Suspicion for the party environment if your party consists of 4 people. It is simple enough to enjoy with a glass of your favorite booze; however, booze may affect your ability and desire to count cards.