“Roll up, roll up! Ladies and Gentlemen step inside and marvel at the death defying stunts before you! Watch in wonder at the amazing tricks and feats that our Magicians will perform right before your very eyes! Prepare to be dazzled, delighted, but most importantly, entertained!”
Publisher: Mind Clash Games
Game Designer: Viktor Péter & Richárd Ámann
Artwork: Villő Farkas
Players: 2-4 Players
Ages: 14 and up
Playing Time: 120′-150′
Game Mechanics: Action Point Allowance System, Worker Placement, Simultaneous Placement
1 x Main Game Board
4 x Player Game Board
12 x Specialist Board Extension
32 x Wooden Character Disks (8 in each player’s colors)
4 x Coloured Wooden Cylinders
6 x Downtown Dice
40 x Trick cards (4+3+3 in each category)
40 x Permanent Assignment Cards (10 per player player)
60 x Special Assignment Cards (15 for each Location)
90 x Power cards (30 in each color)
28 x Performance Cards
4 x Magician Cards (Double-sided)
4 x Magician Posters
64 x Trick Markers
16 x Symbol Markers
96 x Components (40 Basic, 32 Advanced, 24 Superior)
28 x 1 Coin Tokens
16 x 5 Coin Tokens
20 x Prophecy Tokens
50 x Trickerion Shards
1 x Trickerion Crystal
4 x Player Aid Booklet
1 x Rulebook
Suggested Retail Price: TBC
Mind Clash games are about to burst onto the scene with their very first game ‘Trickerion: Legends of Illusion“. It was previewed back in Essen and appeared to get a lot of attention. The game also broke into the most exclusive of exclusive clubs – ‘the most anticipated games of 2015’ as voted by Board Game Geekers! That is no mean feat for when you consider some of the mammoth publishing houses and franchises it was up against.
It’s opening night in the Riverside Theatre, the inaugural performance of your new act; are you nervous? Should you be? You have dedicated your life to this moment and now, not only are both fame and fortune within your grasp, but the legendary Trickerion Stone is up for grabs too. As long as you have prepared properly then nothing can stand in your way… apart from the other three magicians who are each coveting the very things you seek for yourself.
Trickerion is set in the fictional city of ‘Magoria’ home of the legendary ‘Dahlgaard the Magnificent’, a magician of great skill and power. Sixty years have passed since his final performance and now he has returned and offered you the chance to win a great prize, the chance to be proclaimed the new ‘Legend of Illusion’. You have seven weeks to win the favour of the audience as they will decide who is the greatest magician amongst you. These precious weeks will be spent hiring specialists and apprentices to help you, learning new tricks, preparing them and finally performing them.
The game is split across three phases. Worker placement, Performance and finally the clean up (paying workers, adjusting turn order and resetting any necessary parts of the board).
The very first thing that each player needs to decide is where to send there workers. These decisions are carried out in secret and simultaneously. Each player has a deck of location cards which they play on their workers to show where they will be sending them. All players reveal their decisions together and then one at a time, starting with the first player (the player with the least fame [victory points]) will move one of his workers to the location he assigned them. Play moves round the table until all workers have been placed or until all players have passed and wish not to make any further placement actions.
Each worker / specialist / magician has a base action point cost and actions they take will cost between 1 and 3 points. Magician’s have 3 actions points, Specialist Workers have 2 (Engineer, Manager and Pretty Assistant) and finally Apprentices only have 1 action point. Remember too, each worker that you send out (Magicians are not considered workers) have to be paid for at the end of the round. If you cannot afford to pay for their services, or you choose not to, then you will be penalised in the form of fame points [your victory points].
The available locations on the main board are Downtown, Market Row, The Theatre and the Dark Alley (not used in the base game). Each location has four action spaces available to it, this is where you place your workers. The advantage of being the first to place is that earlier spaces grant additional action points to the worker placed there. These spaces will provide 2 / 1 / 0 bonus action points (or you can spend Trickerion shards for a 1 AP boost, except in the Theatre).
Downtown has a Bank [to get money from], Dahlgaard’s residence [to learn new spells] and an Inn [to hire extra workers]. Each turn six dice are rolled, two per area of the Downtown location. The dice for Dahlgaard’s residence determine what trick types can be learnt (there are four trick types and four magicians, each specialising in one circle of magic). The bank dice show how much money can be taken from the bank and the Inn shows which workers types area available to hire. When one of available dice actions are taken the corresponding die is turned to show an ‘X’ this signals that the action is no longer available. A neat touch is the possibility of spending action points to change the face of a die to anything you want, this can be a nice blocking tactic, turning it to show an ‘X’ and thereby preventing its use by other players.
In Market Row you can buy the components you need for your tricks, order in future components for the more complicated tricks and/or bargain with the shopkeeper for a better deal. There are twelve types of component in the game depicting the usual paraphernalia you would expect in a magician’s tool box. Rope, Glass, Saws, Doves, Locks, Mirrors, etc. Oddly, no rabbits! These components are grouped as basic, advanced and expert, costing 1, 2 and 3 gold respectively.
A function here that I really like is the mechanism for ordering parts. Each turn only four component types are available for purchase. When new parts are ordered they become available on the following turn, replacing items that were previously available to purchase. Again, this can be used to block opponents by removing items you know other magicians will need to prepare their tricks. There is also a way to get components quicker, but this is very costly (in terms of action points and really is a last resort).
Did I mention this is a BIG game? Oh, and there is something I missed, another location. On top of the main board each player also has their own player board. This contains set up information for your Magician and is used to store tricks, purchased components and any money that has been acquired. The player board also contains the action spaces for your Magician and Apprentices. This board can be extended further by hiring the specialist characters. The picture below show the player board extended with one of each specialist type. Finally, the player board also depicts the Workshop location. Workers are sent here to prepare tricks for upcoming performances.
A quick word about tricks before I move on. I am aware that I am only giving a cursory explanation for certain game elements, but there is so much going on that it would be too hard to go into more detail. Tricks in your possession, which you can have three of, are held on your player board. Placing workers in the Workshop allows you to prepare tricks that you meet the component requirement of. The picture below shows the ‘Rabbit from the Top Hat’ trick (this is on the Engineer board because he allows the player to learn an additional trick). It requires a dove, cloth and wood to prepare. Once prepared a trick marker is placed on the trick (the token with a diamond in this case). Similar matching tokens are used to complete performance cards in the Theatre so you can identify which trick is being performed and score fame points, gain gold and Trickerion shards accordingly.
Finally, the Theatre; this is where you send your underlings to help set up your routines [back stage] or your Magician is sent to perform [Main Stage Area].The Theatre contains four slots, so on any given turn each Magician has the opportunity to perform (and gain fame, gold, shards). The earliest slot gives negative fame and gold, but confers extra action points. This slot is useful for backstage actions (loading performance cards with trick counters). Additionally, specialists placed here can provide a benefit to the player in terms of fame/gold/shards should their Magician perform. The middle two spaces confer no benefit at all, the last spot, the finale if you will, provides less action points, but greater fame and gold rewards.
The front area is the main stage. This is where the magic happens! (Pun intended). Only Magicians can be placed here. If a Magician in on the main stage during the Performance phase then they can choose a completed Performance card (see picture below) that contains at least one of their tricks. The completed tricks are removed and for that performance card to be used again it would need to be loaded with tricks again in a later round. Once performed, all tricks pay out their rewards to the respective players, remembering to calculate any bonuses or penalties that should be applied.
These The other areas of the board which are not used in the base game are the Dark Alley and Prophecy section [Right side of the above picture]. (The base game also removes unique magician powers.)
Once the Performance phase is completed the board is reset for the next turn. The dice are re-rolled, initiative order is determined (least fame goes first) and the Theatre Performance cards move around the board. If there comes a time when a Performance card is move from the board any trick counters that are still on it (from incomplete performances) are also removed and returned to the player’s unused pool of trick markers. There are six turns in the base game and seven turns in the full game. At the end of the final round the winner with the most fame is the winner. I must say, it is not often that I coo over a victory point track, but I did in this instance. The VP track shown above is depicted as the audience in the Theatre.
As you will have noticed from the top of the review there are quite literally a tonne of components (okay, maybe not quite), but the box is packed to the brim. In a previous review I bemoaned the recent spate of huge boxes, minimal content and paying for air space. This criticism can never be levelled at Trickerion.
I was provided with a prototype of the game to review, but that is almost an irrelevance. The contents were still really good, everything from the player boards to the counters would not look out of place in the finished article (and Mind Clash states that they seek to improve them further, a big ask as the bar is already set quite high). I think the only pieces that needed to be tweaked were perhaps the wooden dice, they were very light and had stickers on the front rather than being engraved. These stickers were also present on the players’ worker counters. There was not a problem with the stickers per se, rather I was concerned that over time they might fall off. Honestly, if you went to a shop and placed the copy sent to me on a shelf next to other games you would be hard pushed to identify it as a prototype, on the contrary it would likely over shadow most of the available games.
All the boards, the main game board and all the specialist worker boards and component counters are high quality, 2mm thick cardboard and nicely detailed. The player cards too (placement cards, theatre cards, etc.) are well produced with a nice gloss finish. The rest of the components comprised of wooden tokens, plastic shards and a glass turn marker. There really is not much to say aside they are all top notch!
Oh yes, there is one other slight issue which didn’t bother me too much, but definitely caused a little confusion when I was less familiar with the game and that was the colour of the trick components. The advance and expert components were a little too close in colour, as I said, a minor issue really.
The artwork on the main board depicts the city of Magoria and the sketch style and muted colours really do draw out the theme and setting. The artwork on the cards for the Magicians and tricks is a different style but equally beautiful and again, feels like it is straight from a real poster of the time period the game is set in (I want to say Victorian, but that is simply because I am English). Some of the art was temporary in the prototype version, but based on the rest of the game I am confident that the high standard would be maintained throughout.
The Game is complex, but not complicated. At first sight, in part due to the sheer scale of the board(s) and number of components in view, it will most likely overwhelm you. Take heart though as it is logical and flows very well. The first turn will most likely be an exercise in head scratching and will take a little time for each player to figure out how to go about actually getting a trick completed and ready to perform , but it quickly becomes clear how straightforward the game play actually is. A turn or two later and you will all be on your way. That being said, expect your first game to be littered with moments of “oh dear, I did the wrong way round,” and “uh-oh, I haven’t planned that very well.” Not because you are playing incorrectly, simply because the nuances of the game wont be readily apparent at first.
Having played two and four player games I can certainly attest that it scales well, though there are some things that could be improved in a two player game, particularly the Theatre as the element of competition is lost in that area of the board. All other areas have spaces locked out for each player that is not participating. With more players performance cards fill up quicker and therefore it is easier to get things performed and scoring becomes a little quicker. I did not mention earlier, but tricks and performance cards have minimum fame requirements, so expect a two player game to have lower victory points and it is very difficult to get requirements for the tougher cards.
Another slight issue with the game is its sheer size. The board itself is not that big, but when each player starts hiring Specialist workers the various player boards quickly becomes the size of a fully fledged game board. Five (including the main board) of those on a table and you realise you need an awful lot of space! Still, it looks quite dazzling.
Time too, you need time to play this game. Think 30-45 minutes per player. Fortunately though there is not a huge amount of down time because the worker assignment phase is done simultaneously and this is the lion’s share of any game turn. However, you do need to be mindful of people who can suffer a little AP, they can drastically hold the game up and draw it out.
In all my sessions I only played the base game. This means that the game plays only six turns, there are no Magician Powers, Prophecies and the Dark Alley area does not come in to play. Higher fame point cards (requiring at least 36 points are also removed from the game). I cannot comment on time that playing an extra turn would add, or too much about the additional areas, but I am sure the new mechanisms would only add additional strategy and depth.
The rulebook was quite well laid out, though very long. It certainly needed some tweaks here and there and I think should split the base and advanced game elements out completely. It would then allow players to ease themselves into the full game without needing to read about elements that they aren’t yet playing with.
Club Fantasci Scoring (Based on scale of 10):
Rules Book: 7
Component Quality: 9
Club Fantasci Overall Score: 8
This game is Club Fantasci Certified!
I am giving Trickerion: Legends of Illusion 8 out of 10 because this is a solid game, with some interesting innovations. I like the worker placement element and the balance between areas giving additional actions versus the number of actions that each worker type themselves has. I really like the decisions you make in the Theatre of performing or letting another Magician perform tricks for you.
The artwork is beautiful and brings the game to life. I would score the art higher but it was not complete in the prototype, but the completed elements gave a very good idea of what to expect. The component quality is top notch and by all accounts the dice have been improved, which was one of my sticking points.
Personally, the replayability is high, but I do accept that this is not a game for people who want quicker or lighter games, so you do need to know what you are buying. This is a big game, with a lot to think about and consider while playing. There will definitely be gamers who are quickly overwhelmed by the game and for them it will be a less enjoyable experience. However, this is mitigated somewhat by the inclusion of rules for a simpler game, but still expect it to last up to two hours.
The only other negative, if you can call it that, is the sheer size of the game. You need room to play this. Don’t anticipate playing it on your coffee table on a lazy Sunday afternoon.
Company Website: http://trickerionboardgame.com/
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