Ring Side Report- Board Game Review of Tricked-Out Hero

Board Game– Tricked-Out Hero

Producer– Prolific Games

Price-$45 here http://www.amazon.com/Board-Card-Games-Prolific-IMPPLF300/dp/0615975836/ref=sr_1_9?ie=UTF8&qid=1405909346&sr=8-9&keywords=tricked-out+hero

Set-Up/Play/Clean-Up-45-30 Minutes (2-6 players)

TL; DR-Classic Hearts meets DnD-84%

 

Basics– Get ready for “Juke-Box Hero” to be stuck in your head.  You take the role of a fantasy hero fighting to defeat monsters across the countryside.  At the start of the game, each player selects a character ranging from dwarf to pirate and takes the character’s player board.  Each player board gives all the base stats for that character and their powers.  With your character, you then attempt to kill more points of monsters than your opponents.  Tricked-Out Hero is a game played across two different phases each round.  At the start of each round, you receive a monster to fight and a stack of playing cards.  You don’t reveal this monster, but can look at it.  The playing cards are the standard 52 card deck with some changes to the suits.  There is a suit for health, melee attack, magic attack, and bonus to monster difficulty.  From a four card deck, a card is revealed to show what suit is “trump” this round.  At this point the game is played pretty much like any other trick-taking card game with trump (e.g. Euchre, Hearts).  For players who are unfamiliar with this kind of game, the instructions for the process are included.  After all the hands have been played, players get their rewards based on the cards they won each had with.  For each suit that players have for each winning hand, they gain tokens of that suit gaining melee attack, magic attack, health, or tokens to help the monster they’re fighting.  Next, players reveal their monsters.  Each monster has a melee attack value, a magic attack value, damage, and reward points.  Players get to spend magic or melee tokens and roll an eight sided die.  If their die roll and the spent tokens equal or beat the monster’s value, that player wins and gets the monster (and its points) as a bounty.  If not, the player takes damage (loses health tokens), and the monster is discarded.  After combat is resolved, then the next player gets to deal the cards and new monsters are handed out.  Each player gets a chance to deal the cards.  After each player deals, then players move on to fighting the next level of monsters.  After each player deals again, then players move to the most difficult monsters.  After each player get to deal a total of three times, the player with the highest number of points from defeated monsters wins.

 

Mechanics-This game is a combination of two different games: classic Hearts and Dungeons and Dragons.  The two different phases of the game work well together.  I get a phase where I try to read my opponents, and then I get a phase where I have to bet how lucky I am.  The powers also add a new dimension to a these two different game parts.  Deciding when to play a power really does make this much more than a simple roll to win game.  This game is more than just the sum of two different gaming parts!  The two games might not be directly intertwined, but they do work well together and are a lot of quick, easy fun. 5/5

 

Theme-Here is where I have some major problems.  The player boards are amazing.  The characters all look great and have nice quotes to help you learn a bit more about your character, and the powers fit who that person is.  But, I mentioned in the mechanics section that the game is two different parts.  I really want some sort of story glue to weld those two parts together.  I have a trick-taking game merged with some hack and slash.  That’s great, but why am I playing the card game?  I completely understand the monster killing, but why do I need to compete with the players to get the different tokens?  Are resources limited in town in defending?  Are people selling information to the monsters?  Is this a Tarot card reading to foresee how my fight will go? A little more set/world building would give me the immersion I need to really get into this game. 3/5

 

Instructions– The instructions to this game are good, but there are some problems.  I’d like the rules to be two pages longer and have more pictures.  There are pictures, but not enough to really break up the text and make this easier to read and understand.  The rules do a good job explaining the game, but more detail would really help to make this clearer, like directly explaining what each suit is with pictures.  Moreover, some of the wording in the rules and powers is a bit off.  The wording is not so far off you can’t play the game, but you will find a few sections you must read a few times to really understand.  A few more editorial passes and a page or two more of space would have moved these rules from good to great. 4/5

 

Execution– I like this.  First, the problems.  My copy of the 52 card deck is good, but a few of the cards have spots where the printing wasn’t great (some color spots/white spots among the nice backgrounds).  It’s nothing major (it’s only on two cards), but I have a semi-marked deck.  Also, I would have liked the tokens for melee, health, etc to have been double sided.  Again, that’s not a big thing, but a little touch that would have made this a little better.  Otherwise, I was happy with what I got.  The cards are on good quality cardstock.  The box is hardy.  The tokens are good quality and plentiful.  The art is great.  I like what I see and feel with this game.  4.75/5

 

Summary-I like this game and my wife LOVES this game.  She and her family play trick-taking games whenever they get together.  She also loves DnD.  Her parents don’t play anything beyond computer solitaire and Euchre (which is mandatory since we live in Michigan).  This could be a nice bridge to get them into the hobby.  This is a great stepping stone game to get people into deeper gaming waters if they are familiar with trick-taking games.  I do have a few problems with this game, but those are because I play way too many board games and role-playing games like DnD so I NEED some story as to why I’m doing anything in a game.  If you don’t need that, then pick this one up.  If you NEED five hours of Eurogame level complexity and thinking to have a good evening, then this one isn’t for you.  If you want a low to mid complex game with card playing and some monster slaying, then this is a great game for you. If you want to get one more game in for the night, but don’t want to spend forever setting it up or cleaning up afterwards, then this is the game you should buy.  I know I’ll be brining this to my family gatherings to convert some people from the simple trick-taking games to something a bit more complex.  84%

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