Iris

Game Overview: A cooperative micro card game coming to Kickstarter on January 14th, where players work together as they help maximize human survival rates on four newly discovered planets.  As you attempt to accomplish this, players must prevent or minimize clone attacks that will reduce the number of human survivors based on cards that are played to the planets.  Each clone card played will have a letter (A, MM, O, or B) that is initially unknown to the players.  If the word Mob, Ammo, or Bomb is spelled out at the end of the game for any planet, then some or all citizens will be lost affecting the survival goal.

Box Contents: A prototype was provided to us for review and potentially may change in the future.  The game consists of 22 cards.  Four of them represent the planets that were discovered and the remaining are clone cards.  The art is well done, especially the four planet cards.  Twelve cardboard tokens are also included that represent citizens on one side and soldiers on the other.  All game contents easily fit into a small sized plastic bag.

Clarity of Rules: The rules are just two pages and are on the front and back of a single glossy page.  They do an excellent job in explaining the rules and provide multiple examples of game play, despite the limited number of pages being used.

Game Play:  When setting up the game, you play the four planet cards onto the table.  These cards show a maximum population level that you can play tokens onto and the letter that planet represents.

Next, you remove two of the clone cards from the game and deal out four of the clone cards to the table so that there is one card above each of the planets.  The remaining clone cards are dealt to the players so that they all have the same number of cards. 

An important aspect to the game is that you must not show any of the clone data to anyone and all cards need to be face down on the table.

The side of the cards that players will be looking at shows the number of each letter that will be found within the set of those specific clone cards that.  In addition, an alternate turn ability can be found on the cards, which is the same for each color type.

On a players turn, they turn over one of the cards that have been assigned to a planet and show all players which letter is there before returning it face down so the letter is no longer visible.  Next they assign one of their remaining cards that were dealt to them, without looking at the letter, to a planet.  A maximum number of four cards will be played on each planet.

Finally, a player assigns a single cardboard token to a planet without exceeding its population level.  They can choose either the solider side or the citizen side.  The importance of this decision comes into play when scoring is determined.

At any point when it is your turn, you can take the alternate action that is on any of your remaining cards.

·         F Model Clone (Blue)

o   Swap the card with one already in play.

o   Place the original card in a different location

·         R Model Clone (Green)

o   Place the card on a planet location.

o   Reveal the clone data of one card in your hand.

·         X Model Clone (Gray)

o   Place the card on a location.

o   Move a population token from one location to another location.

Once all cards have been played, you reveal the cards for each planet.  If they spell one of the three words, it will impact the citizens assigned to that planet.

·         Mob- Half of the population tokens are lost.

·         Ammo- One population is lost for each M on that location.

·         Bomb- All populations are lost.

In addition, if citizens equal or outnumber soldiers on an attacked location (word was spelled), the location loses one more population token.  If no attack was made (no word was spelled) on a planet and more soldiers exist than citizens, you have to increase the human survival rate by one.

To win the game level, you must meet the population goal for the level that you are playing.

Replay Ability: Being able to play this game solo or up to four players helps its replay ability.  In addition, you will have a different set of cards that will likely come into play each time since you always remove two cards from the game.

Appropriate Audience: The game suggests 14+ to play the game.  Some reading is needed, but someone much younger should be able to easily understand the game and how to play it.  No matter what the age of the player is, a good memory is essential for this game.

What We Liked/Didn't Like: As with any micro game, we like the lack of shelf space this game takes up.  For the game play, we like how it keeps everyone involved with the game from turn to turn.  Trying to remember what cards the group has seen and where to add new cards based on the potential letters that may be there seems to always create lively discussion between all players.

A hidden Easter egg that was fun to find was capturing the QCR code on four of the clone cards to get a little more background story to the game.

As we have played the game from solo up to four players, it seems that the more players the easier the game becomes.  The reason for this is that the most important skill to win the game is a good memory.  With four players each person can be assigned a single row of four cards that they need to memorize, if they are revealed.  Where as, a solo game it is much more difficult to remember all of the cards that come into play.

We appreciate the fact that puzzle within the game is indeed challenging.  However, it is not too difficult as we have more wins than losses.

Because it is a card game, it is sometimes hard to remember that you shouldn’t be picking up the cards and must leave them lying on the table.  If someone takes their cards into their hand as you normally would do, you may have to start the game over if the hidden clone data was seen.

         
  * A prototype review copy was provided to us.  The contents of the game or rules may change with future releases.  Our review is based upon the game that we received and also take into consideration changes that the game designer noted to us that were not present in the review copy.