The goal of the game is for players to gain the most gold pieces that they will amass either by telling the truth, or alternatively, bluffing. Players each receive a Character card, that they will switch, or not, with their opponents throughout the game play. At each turn, players have the option to either announce who they are, and therefore are able to activate the power of that Character, as long as none of the other players challenge them; to secretly look at their card; or to swap/pretent to swap their card with another player.
Players in Mascarade start with six coins and a randomly dealt a character card. Characters stay face up just long enough for players to more or less memorize them, then are turned face down. Cards not dealt out to players are left face down in the centre of the table. Your goal is to be the first player to hold 13 coins, and while you start nearly halfway to that goal, you can go down just as surely as you can go up!
The fun starts when players start swapping cards, or pretending to swap them at least. You can swap cards with another player or with the central remainder cards. The reason you might want to swap is to be able to claim to legitimately be the king for example, so you can get 3 coins from the bank to get towards your target of 13. Early in the game, if you have the cheat card, you won’t earn any money from it as it allows you to win with only 10 coins, but you need to amass the 10 coins before it is any use. Similarly the judge is not a good earner if there is no money for you to take from the courthouse. Of course, you can claim to be anyone at any time, but if you don’t have the card to back you up… you risk being challenged and paying a fine!
No. of Players 2 – 13, age 10 and up. Duration: 30 minutes.
Our tip: You really need to sit around a table for this one as there is a bit of subterfuge that needs to go on regarding whether someone did or didn’t swap cards. Around a coffee table with everyone’s laps visible, and without having a table to hide your hands under (bearing in mind that you can’t look at the card faces when swapping) it’s harder to be secret about what you are doing.
See the Shut Up and Sit Down review here: