Mascarade - Board Game Box Shot

Mascarade

109 14 6

When “unmasked”- who will you be?
Attend a Masquerade of the renaissance and try to discover the identity of your opponents. Who is telling the truth? Who is bluffing? Reveal the truth all while hiding your own true identity!

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 there 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 their card with another player.

Mascarade game components
images © Asmodee

Features

  • A game of bluff and characters
  • Options for 2 player and 3 player games.
  • Scalability in game play.

User Reviews (5)

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10
Miniature Painter
Expert Advisor
Inventor
Advanced Reviewer
8
107 of 114 gamers found this helpful | Medals x 1
“Medium Weight Filler Game Featuring Deception and Deduction”

Overview: Mascarade is a hidden-role card game in which two to thirteen players use memory, deduction and bluffing to achieve victory.

Gameplay: All players start with six coins and a random face up role card that all may see. Each role card depicts a character from the Renaissance and has its own unique special ability. King, Queen, Peasant, Bishop, Judge and Thief are among the choices. All roles are turned facedown and the first four players, in turn, perform a Swap action with the player of their choice. During a Swap, a player takes his role and any other role card, keeping both facedown, and hides them under the table. He then places either in front of himself and the other in front of the player whose card he had. They may be the same or not, only the swapping player knows for sure.

Each player, on their turn, may perform one of three actions. They may swap their role with another player, they may peek at their own role card, or they can declare to be any role currently in the game.

When a player claims to be a role, every other player also has the opportunity to make the same claim. If no else claims the role, the original player takes the claimed role’s special ability, and does not have to reveal his role card. Special abilities allow a player to gain coins or manipulate opponent’s coins or role cards. If, however, any one else also claims they are the chosen role, all said players, including the original player, must reveal their role card. Whoever actually has that role may use its special ability. All false claimants must surrender a coin to the courthouse marker as a penalty.

Once any player has thirteen coins, they are declared the winner.

Pros:
– Large offering of roles enable immense variety for future games.
– Winning strategies involve going a few levels deep and a few moves ahead.
– Illustrations are highly detailed and richly colored.

Cons:
– Requires a group of strategically minded players to avoid runaway wins.
– Some players could become irritated by game’s chaotic nature.
– Card backs have black border and will show wear quickly unless sleeved.

Historical Figure/ Fictional Character I’d Most Like to Play Against: Padme Naberrie

Mascarade is a fast-paced filler game best suited for a group of gamers who can strategize a few levels deep. A mixed skill set of memory, deductive reasoning and stone cold buffing will be required for success.

 
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7
Stone of the Sun
Champion
El Dorado
8
121 of 130 gamers found this helpful
“Social Chaos”

Mascarade thrives in its socially perpetuated chaos. Part social deduction, part memory, part what-the-heck-is-going-on – designer Bruno Faidutti captures the sense of being at an actual Masquerade Ball… if at this particular ball you sometimes lose track of who you are.

Game play is simple and easy to teach. Players are given the option of taking one of three actions on their turn:
1. Swap their face down card with another player’s by taking both cards under the table and returning the cards in secret, leaving all to wonder if they were swapped or not
2. Look at your face down card – a desperate, but sometimes necessary play in the chaos
3. Declare, without revealing, that they are a character

The meat of the game comes from the third action – claiming a power. Powers vary from collecting money from the bank, to viewing and swapping cards, to swapping purses with another player. When a player claims they are a character, all other players have the option to challenge by claiming that they too are that character. All claiming this character then reveal – those wrong pay a penalty to the courthouse while the player who is correct claims the power of the character.

The components are fantastic. Mascarade has some of the best art in my game collection. Small & compact, this game travels well.

What makes Mascarade special is that everyone gets lost – this is by design and creates some of the best game play moments. “Wait, you switch with her, but she switched with him, and I think he had the King… or was it the Judge… Yeah, okay, what the heck, I’ll say I’m the Bishop.”

Players looking for focused social deduction games may have a hard time with Mascarade. This game does not lend itself to the logical deduction you might find in The Resistance or Werewolf. Everyone is swapping, and thinking, and swapping, and finally giving up on trying to track what’s going on.

I’ve played with various group sized ranged from 2 to 12. All had different feels. The sweet spot seems to be 6-8 players.

If you’re willing to give in to the chaotic game play, Mascarade offers a great game.

 
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4
Germany
8
120 of 130 gamers found this helpful
“"Wait! I am not the king?!"”

Mascarade is a denunciation game. In this case you won’t guess others identities but your own. Winner is who is first to collect 13 coins.

Therefor each player gets a character card that he is allowed to look at at the beginning once. Now there is three possible actions available:

a) Swap your own with another player’s identity card… or not! You are shuffling under the table (or behind your back or whatever) and keep it secure from others eyes.
b) Have a look at your own card.
c) Guess who you are, tell the others and benefit from the character’s ability (e.g. gaining coins). Now there is a chance for any other player to interrupt and to denunciate you. In exchange both of you have to reveal the identities. Liars are going to pay one coin.

Of course each player does only have one action each turn. And of course you may benefit from an ability of an identity you do not have – if the others trust you. As a result this game evolves into a random guessing-party for sure. But… It’s fun! After three or four swaps in the first turns (the first turns don’t allow any other actions) you may call yourself a lucky devil if you are able to remember even your own identity.

I would never (never!) play this game with less than six people but with a large group this one comes out as a decent 20-minutes-activity. You will remember those moments for sure, you are convinced of being the king (and therfor willing to get three coins) and then one of the other unknowing players (what a fool!) interrupts you. Confidently you are going to face up your card and… “Wait! I am not the king?!”

 
Player Avatar
8
Professional Reviewer
Canada
I play black
Silver Supporter
7
83 of 90 gamers found this helpful
“Deduction, Confusion and Renaissance Masks”

Social games often make players try to guess others’ hidden role while hiding or misrepresenting their own agenda. Mascarade, a card game featuring phenomenal art and great potential for laughter-inducing confusion, throws a wrench into this by making it so that you are not even sure what your role is. Bluffing, memory, deduction, luck and renaissance intrigue blend for fun that grows more hectic as the player count increases.

How it works:
The intentionally misspelled Mascarade is a card game for a wide variety of groups, accommodating anywhere from two to whopping 13 players. Players take part in a masked party, each assuming a role of a renaissance figure – kings, queens, witches, thieves and so on. The goal of the game is to collect a certain amount of gold. Each character has their own way of collecting gold or affecting other players in one way or another. A king would collect gold from the “bank”, while a Bishop takes money from the player who currently has the most coins. The range of abilities is broad and interesting, with each character’s ability fitting its’ role well (the Thief steals money from nearby players; the Fool wreaks havoc by forcing people to exchange hands etc.).

The trick is that you cannot look at your card, so the absolute certainty in the kind of card you have is a rare and valuable resource. Further complicating things, players can exchange cards with each other or pretend to do so in an attempt to throw off the calculations of others. You may also spend a turn to look at your card to get some solid information. In order to use a character’s ability you claim to be that character – even if it is a blatant lie. You are only caught if another player contests your move by also claiming to be the character you called out. In that case, all contesting players open up their cards (offering a sanity-saving glimpse into what the roles currently are) – those who lied have to pay a gold penalty. The game proceeds until one player is able to collect a certain amount of gold, giving him victory.

How it plays:
Mascarade is a joy to look at – the illustrations on the cards are phenomenal and it is truly a shame that these masterpieces are face down for most of the game. The cardboard components are solid and durable. It is imperative to keep the cards from being damaged or marked in any way – being able to differentiate between them ruins the game. If you sleeve one game in your collection – this is it.

The games go quick, keeping to the advertised playtime of half an hour with small and medium groups. The pace is fast and there are plenty of laughs all around as players try and fail to remember the locations of the cards. A good memory will serve players well in this one, as those who are able to follow the roles are the ones who do best. The social aspect of this game is somewhat reduced – while you may bluff talking about your plans and actions, memory, deduction and probability management play a larger role.

Because of the reduced social element – it is not necessarily a party game and reliance on memory and logic does not mix all that well with adult refreshments. It works great for larger group of people who are not averse to stretching their brains a bit.

How it feels:
The design of Mascarade achieves a great mix of confusion and ability to plan. The ability to switch cards (or only pretend to do so) hands players some control over information in the game and it is managing this information that becomes crucial.

The abilities of different characters mix together in very interesting ways and the games are quite different based on which characters are used. The different combinations to try make the game very replayable and will allow groups to find mixes that work best for their tastes. The abilities are not very easy to internalize though and a first play through is usually a wash, only allowing players to memorize the abilities. It is not hard either though and once everyone is on board the game flows very nicely.

The lack of information and clarity ends up being intriguing rather than frustrating and building your plans on maybes and what-ifs is great fun, especially once the cards are revealed and no one is who they thought they were.

The ability to plan and control information slips away as the player count grows and for groups of ten and up the game becomes a chaotic free-for-all of bold lies. Not a bad experience, just a different one. The game is much more balanced and measured with five to seven players.

Conclusion:
There are a few caveats to properly enjoying Mascarade – you need a group that is large enough yet not too large, is willing to plan and strategize and at the same time does not get hung up on their plans being blown to pieces. There is a small steep learning curve too, but once you memorize the abilities – the amount of fun this game will give you is great. Those who like this game’s unique blend of uncertainty and strategy will absolutely love it, so if that sounds like your cup of tea – give it a shot.

If you enjoyed this review please visit Altema Games website for more reviews and board game materials.

 
Player Avatar
4
Rated 50 Games
8
119 of 131 gamers found this helpful
“Mascarade - Big Fun in a Small Box!”

In a time of Kings, Queens, Spies, Witches, Inquisitors and even fools, the court has gathered. The plots are laid out, plans are hatched and minions are made scapegoats. Manipulation runs throughout the courts as it gatherers try to out maneuver each other with disguise, guile and misdirection. Do you have the ability to see who is really who or whom is posing as someone else? Can you withstand the Inquisitor or are you the courts fool? Find out in Mascarade!

Publisher: Repos Productions/Asmodee Games

Game Designer: Bruno Faidutti

Artwork: Jeremy Masson

Players: 2 – 13

Ages: 10 to adult

Playing Time: 30+ minutes

Game Mechanics: Variable Player Powers, Memory

Contents: 13 character cards, 1 blank character card, 1 courthouse board, gold coins, 14 character tokens and 5 game aids

Suggested Retail Price: $24.99

Parental Advisory: Safe for kids

Awards: N/A

Mascarade is a fun game of character bluffing and misdirection in an attempt to get 13 coins faster than your opponents! Author Bruno Faidutti is well-known for his game design and bring us another great game in which strategy meets social gaming in an explosive way!

The object of Mascarade is to out bluff your opponents by switching character cards and keeping them guessing while trying to remember who their character card is or could be based on the switching between players. It takes a keen memory and a the ability to read a persons bluff! Each opponent is using the characters cards powers in an attempt to gain 13 coins without going bankrupt. If this happens, then the game ends and the richest player wins.

The Character cards are as follows:

The Judge
The Judge receives all coins currently on the courthouse board.

The Bishop
The Bishop takes two coins from the richest players.

The King
The King receives three coins from the bank.

The Queen
The Queen receives two coins from the bank.

The Fool
The Fool receives a coin from the bank and then may swap two cards from other players.

The Thief
The Thief takes one gold coin from the player on their left and right.

The Witch
The Witch can swap her fortune with any other player.

The Spy
The Spy looks at another players card or one in the middle before swapping her own.

The Peasant x2
The Peasant receives one gold from the bank unless both peasants are revealed in the same turn. Then they both receive two coins.

The Cheat
The Cheat wins the game if they have 10 or more coins.

The Inquisitor
The Inquisitor accuses another character who must guess what their character card is. If they are wrong, they pay the Inquisitor four coins.

The Widow
The Widow receives coins from the bank to bring her fortune up to 10 gold in total.

The Beggar
The Beggar is a blank card.

Mascarade starts with the players showing their character cards and then the first four players swapping or not swapping cards under the table to start the bluffing and misdirection of the other players. Now who has what? Did they swap or not? The player themselves don’t know and sometime the person taking the action forgets what they did!

The game consists of three possible actions per round. Each player may either swap or not their cards under the table with another player. They may secretly look at their card or they can “announce” their character. This is the meat of the game. Once a player announces who they are, any other player may call their bluff either because they think they are the character announced or to stop the player from achieving their action. At this point all players involved flip their cards to see who was actually telling the truth or bluffing. If the player who announced was actually the character they said, they get the character benefit. Any player who was wrong, pays one gold coin to the courthouse. This is how the Judge gets his coins.

Mascarade is a very fun game that should have the table laughing and having a great time. It takes maybe on game for everyone to finally “get” how it works and start to really fill out their role in the game. There is a bit more strategy to this game than you might realize and you are likely to forget yourself what you just did as the game has a way of distracting your thoughts while everyone else is bluffing or calling each other out. This is my favorite character driven/variable power card game so far, especially for a party game or light filler.

Courthouse board – Mascarade
Courthouse Board – Courtesy of Jeremy Masson
This game scales very well depending on the amount of players. There are even two and three player game variations for experienced players. I find myself comparing this to Dread Curse from Smirk and Dagger Games.They are both good games, but I prefer this one a bit more. It’s a bit simpler but still provides the fun and strategy that a great game should. People will probably want to compare this to Citadels another Bruno Faidutti game or Red Planet maybe but other than the variable character powers, they comparison ends there. These two games are much more involved and very good in their own right.

As you can tell from the previous artwork, it’s amazing. The artwork fits the theme perfectly both in the renaissance feel and the slight edge to the characters themselves. The components are well done as well. The coins, character tokens and courthouse are thick and should last a long time. The character cards are a bit oversized compared to a standard card size and made of a decent thickness of card stock. I don’t see any need to worry about damage in the short-term. The player aides are simple to understand a good reference tool for the players, especially since not all characters are in the game. This is where the character tokens come in, to help the players remember what is in play.

In conclusion, Mascarade is a very good, solid and most importantly fun game that does well as a party or filler game. Fun will be had by all providing great laughs and plenty of socializing. It’s perfect fit for serious gamers and players that are more used to games like Apple to Apples or Say Anything type party games. A great bridge between designer games and mass market games.

Club Fantasci Scoring (Based on scale of 10):

Artwork: 10

Rules Book: 8

Re-playability: 8

Component Quality: 8

Club Fantasci Overall Score: 8.5

I am giving Mascarade 8.5 out 10 stars because it does such a great job of meeting a good balance of fun, strategy, theme and social gaming.

This game is Club Fantasci Certified!

Company Website: http://us.asmodee.com/

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Note: A review copy of this game was provided to me.

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