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Svarog's Den - Board Games

Place Things in Rings, Take Advice from Mice, and Guess What a Pixie Ingests

by W. Eric Martin

• One look at the box cover of Things in Rings, and you know what publisher Allplay is aiming for:

Seuss vibes

This deduction game for 2-6 players from Peter C. Hayward that’s due out in Q2 2024 puts one player in the role of the “Knower”, while everyone else is a “Finder”.

The knower places one to three rings on the table, with the rings overlapping Venn-diagram style to create combinations of spaces, e.g., inside the blue and yellow ring, but outside the red. For each ring, the Knower draws and keeps secret a rule card of the matching color — attribute for blue (e.g., “has wings”), word for yellow (“more vowels than consonants”, and context for red (“could find it at a wedding”) — then places three Thing cards face up in the “proper” spaces based on how they fit the rules.

Each Finder has a hand of five Thing cards. On a turn, you place a Thing card in what you hope to be the proper space. If the Knower approves of the placement, take another turn; if not, draw a Thing card, and pass the turn to the next player. Whichever Finder plays all of their cards first wins.

• Things in Rings reminds me of Encyclopaedist, a 2006 design from Ichiro Sengoku that was reprinted in 2018 by 数寄ゲームズ (Suki Games).

In that three-player-only game, you lay out three rings (red, blue, yellow), and each player creates a secret category for one of the rings: four legs, foods, games by Reiner Knizia, things you can cut, school subjects…anything you like as long as you can divide answers into “yes, it belongs to this category” and “no, it does not”!

To finish set-up, each player then writes something that belongs in their category, then the other two players move those answers to the proper region. (If you’re yellow, for example, you must give an answer that belongs in the yellow category, but that answer might also belong in the red or blue category as well.)

Image: James Nathan

Following this set-up, on a turn one player places a token in one of the seven regions, e.g., inside the red and blue categories but outside the yellow one. Each player now gives an answer that matches the status of their own category, then the other players say whether or not your answer is placed in their categories or not. If your answer fits within the proper region, then you score a point and leave the colored portion of your answer sheet visible; if it’s not in the proper region, then you hide the colored portion (to show that you don’t score), but leave the answer visible to give information to other players.

The first player to score 1 point in all seven regions or to score 8 points total wins.

• Guessing is also at the heart of Elizabeth Hargrave‘s Picky Pixie, which Button Shy released in November 2023.

In each round, a different player takes the role of the pixie, setting the rules for what they will or will not eat, whether based on number of flowers, even or odd numbering, color, or type. They start by drawing two flower cards, each of which has two groups of flowers on each side, then places one group on a card by the YES side of the pixie card and a group on the other card by the NO side.

On a turn, a player draws the top flower card, chooses a group on it, then the pixie places it visibly by the YES or NO side of its card. Any player may call for a guess after this turn. If they do, the pixie draws a flower card from the deck and places it next to them to track the number of guesses, then each player writes down and reveals their guess. If anyone is correct, the round ends, with the correct guesser scoring 1 point for every two cards remaining in the deck and the pixie scoring 2 points per guess. If no one is correct, the next player takes their turn, with players taking turns until someone guesses correctly or the deck has fewer than two cards remaining.

After everyone has been pixie once, whoever has scored the most points wins.

• We’ll close this deduction game round-up by taking a peek at Logic & Lore, a two-player game from Weird Giraffe Games and designers Jason Hager and Darren Reckner, the team responsible for Unmatched Adventures: Tales to Amaze.

This game hits BackerKit at the end of February 2024, but for now it bears only this short description:

Rivals race to be the first to align their hidden stars, numbered 1-9, with their mice manipulating the available insights. Work quickly and pay attention as your rival knows how close you are to completion and may risk it all to claim victory.

Maybe this image will be more helpful in giving you a taste for what gameplay is like…


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