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Ruse - Board Game Box Shot


| Published: 2014
18 9 0

A murder has been committed in the Victorian steampunk city of St. Sebastian. You have made the short list of police suspects and the only way to retain your freedom is to prove that one of the others on the list is in fact the murderous culprit.

In Ruse, players take turns making Accusations against the other players by placing Method, Motive, or Opportunity cards in front of them or providing Alibis against the Accusations made against them by other players. You must remember what has been played and craft your Accusations well to pin the murder on another player.

Ruse is more than just a card game; it is a living story of foul play. Ruse was designed with storytelling at its heart, not just for fun but also as a functional game mechanic. The game shifts with every card played. Are you throwing accusations because you’re truly innocent and have the alibis to back it up, or are you trying to make everyone look the other way because you in fact carried out the wretched deed? No one knows until the last card has been played; ‘til then it’s all about defending your possible innocence. The more involved and animated the players the better the game becomes, raising the fun quotient and also getting inside your head. We find people begin to make decisions out of revenge rather than strategy once a table of players really gets going. Not only that, but those who have been pinned immediately want to play again to redeem themselves…or get back at those who sent them to the clink.

User Reviews (2)

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Gamer - Level 2
26 of 28 gamers found this helpful
“midly interesting storytelling element not enough to save Ruse”

In this game players use a re-purposed standard deck of cards to accuse the other players of committing a crime.

As in a standard deck there are 13 sets of four suits, here two of the suits are accusation suits consisting of motive, method and opportunity cards and the remaining two suits consist of alibi cards that can be used to remove accusation cards played against you before it is too late.

Each turn a player will draw card, play an accusation card in front of another player, remove an accusation card in front of them by playing a matching alibi card, or take a special action (see below).

Once a complete set of three accusations cards (motive, method and opportunity,)in the same suit, is played against a player, that player must reveal themselves as the murderer and the game ends.

Special actions: There are 2 jokers in the deck which can be used to move an accusation to another player, and each player has a character board which can be flipped over once a game to “cover up evidence” (i.e. remove an accusation in front of you even though you don’t have a matching alibi card).

Final Thoughts
At its core Ruse is a simple card play game where you are trying to match the cards played in front of you with cards from your hand to remove them from your play area before three accumulate, while trying to assure three such cards accumulate in front of another player.

One positive is the game is heavy on the theme. For the most part, care was taken to make sure that the accusations and alibis of each suite type match up and can be used to weave a consistent story for instance the Duchess did not commit the murder even though the victim cheated on her (accusation card) because she was “in love with another” (alibi card). The best part of the game is the storytelling element that is encouraged by the rules during the card play. Creative players may have some fun casting doubt on other players and clearing their own name through the murderous steam-punk story lines facilitated by the game.

Unfortunately, even with the storytelling, the game is just too simplistic and luck driven for serious gamers. There is little opportunity for any actual strategy and any attempt to employ a strategy simply disrupts the storytelling flow of the game. Also, there are no winners only one loser – which can certainly make for anti-climatic endings.

Who This Game May Be For
Very casual gamers, who like games such as “go fish” and “old maid” may enjoy this game.

Imaginative young children, if they can get past the murder theme, as they will be able to easily grasp the rules and may enjoy the opportunity to express their creative thoughts via storytelling.

Player Avatar
3 Beta 1.0 Tester
16 of 19 gamers found this helpful
“Calling this a "game" is a bit of a stretch”

I regret backing this game not only because of the long production delays, but because it’s not really a game. All you’re doing is matching alibis to motives and methods that are very randomly assigned. There’s some great artwork and the components are high quality, but the game mechanics just aren’t there – very luck based, no interesting decisions, no meaningful interaction with other players, no story arc.

A good game to buy if you’re just looking for some interesting playing cards. Otherwise, you’re better off just playing war.


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