Ring Side Report-Board Game Review of Diamonds

Ring Side Report-Board Game Review of Diamonds

Product– Diamonds

Producer-Stronghold games

Price– $ 25 here http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00NFSBU9Y/ref=sr_ph_1?m=A7YAR2WDYOPTK&ie=UTF8&qid=1440129851&sr=sr-1&keywords=diamonds

Set-up/Play/Clean-up– 30-45 minutes (2-6players)

Type-Euro

Depth-Light

TL; DR-Best parts of several trick tacking games. 92.5%

basics

Basics-Time to throw Eucker, Hearts, and Spades into a blender!  Diamonds is a trick taking game that combines the best of all of the above.  Players are dealt 10 cards, and the dealer will decide to trade one to three cards.  All players then choose that many cards from their hand and pass them to their neighbor.  Next, the player to the left of the dealer will place one card down.  These cards have values between one to 15 and have the four suits found on any normal deck of cards: hearts, spades, diamonds, and clubs.  Each player then has to place a card of the leaders suit, if they have any, or play any other card, if they don’t have the same suit as this trick’s lead card.  Here is where the game becomes more than just a trick taking game.  Each suit has a power associated with it.  Diamond cards place a diamond behind a small screen called your vault.  Hearts place a diamond in front of the vault in your vault.  Spades take a diamond from the front and place it behind your vault.  Clubs steal a diamond from in front of another player’s vault and places it in front of yours.  Whoever played the highest card with the lead’s suit gets to take all the played cards and set them next to his or her screen and then take that suits action.  If you couldn’t play a card with the lead’s suit, you just take the action associated with your suit.  Playing off won’t get you cards for the round’s end, but it does get you whatever power the card you played has.  Whoever won that trick then becomes the next lead player for the next trick.  After 10 tricks each round, all players separate their cards into four piles based on the suits.  Whoever has the most number of each suit gets to take that suits power again.  If you didn’t get any tricks, and thus have no cards, you get two free diamonds placed right into your vault instead.  Play then continues with a new dealer.  After each player deals one or two times, depending on the player count, each player counts their diamonds with diamonds in your vault worth two points and those in front being worth one.  The player with the most points wins!

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Mechanics–  I’m from Michigan, so I knew this game from another game called Eucker.  Eucker is fun, but it lacks depth.  This game is amazingly deep for a trick taking card game.  Sometimes you do better by playing off than ever winning a single trick.  Sometimes, you need to win every trick.  That evolving strategy is amazing.  Also, the game isn’t hard to play.  I do love me some 8-hour, math fueled, Euros where I build cars, but you will learn this game in under 3 minutes, master it in 10, and have a chance of winning in 15.  Honestly, this is a well done game.  5/5

Theme-Theme is a hard concept in your average trick taking game.  What’s here is ok.  There really isn’t a story here.  But then again, I’m not really looking for one.  I’d like more, as I’ve seen some reskinned trick taking card games with more theme, but I didn’t expect too much going in.  The components are nice and do build a bit of a world, but don’t play this game if you need something like Dark Moon’s story.  3.5/5

Instructions-That paragraph above is all you need to play this game.  The rulebook is as short as it needs to be.  The game is an extremely simple to play game, so the rules don’t have to be too difficult or cover too much territory.  The extremely helpful thing included in this game is a cheat card for every player giving some quick iconography on how the different suit powers work.  Honestly, this is a slick, simple rulebook that will get you playing in about 5 minutes even if you’ve never played a trick taking game before. 5/5

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Execution-This game is a small game, but not a poorly put together one.  You can see all the components here: http://youtu.be/dugtHKid-Ko . The game is about a quarter the size and weight of most of my other games, but that doesn’t hurt its delivery.  The game comes with cardboard standee vaults, a deck of cards, and plastic diamonds.  What is here is well done and beautiful.  The art is distinctive, but not distracting.  The diamonds are nice plastic pieces that you want to collect.  It’s a power-packed box.  5/5

Summary-Diamonds is the game I bring with me when I hang out with my family in Michigan.  It’s got the simplicity of Hearts, but the depth I need in a great board game.  It has great components and instructions.  My only real complaint is the theme, and the only reason I ding this game on theme is I play too many RPGs, and I want theme in everything I play.  If a games story isn’t the most important thing to you, then this is an amazing, easy to play trick taking game that’s a great game to add to any collection.  92.5%

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