Blade and Brush: A Story Driven Party Game

 Game: Blade and Brush  Players: 3- 8
 Publisher: Arcana Games  Time: 30 minutes
 Age: 8+  Replayability: 8.5/10

blade and brush

Blade and Brush

Party games have grown this reoccurring gameplay theme that involves two different decks of cards separated by color, some bold font text, and a card czar (Judge) defining who is or is not using the cards correctly based on their opinion. We see this in the all-new father of party games Cards Against Humanity along with it’s less derogatory father Apple to Apples. These two games have spiked a huge development of party games that follow the same tropes of the predecessors while adding their own twist to separate them from the bunch. But what they all do is pretty similar, who could be the most hilariously inappropriate to win. Is there a party game that could possibly take a more serious route while still maintaining an opportunity to be hilariously inappropriate? This is obviously rhetorical because I already know the answer :]

Blade and Brush is a party game unlike any other, seriously. It takes the idea of your typical party game and provides us with a whole new route as to the game’s presentation. Through Haiku, you will be describing events to everyone else at an inn that you and all the players are staying. Choose a character among many and gather around to begin investing and connecting you to your character. This inn will begin the journey; draw the first card (which is always the same) and reveal it, “At the Wayside Inn, A group of travelers sit, who are you, strangers.” from there you will describe your character, you can be absolutely detailed or absolutely hilarious, your choice. Once everyone has described their character, flip over the next card and unveil more from your characters travels, these cards can be treated seriously or jokingly. To keep true to the spirit of a party game, the best haiku will be judged by the current “guide”. “A small letter sealed, Invitation to the ball, whispers of poison.” What’s your story? The rules are clear, the game is unique, and it is definitely fun and functional. The number of dilemma cards are decided by player count.

blade and brush

My Experience

I played with three players (9 dilemmas long of a journey) and found this game brings out a lot of variety among players. We flipped over the first card (there are no guides on the first and the last turn) and began building our characters persona. I was the masked stick guy, who I built into this Tarzan-esque who was raised by frogs. My friend took a more serious approach by making the female character an orphan who got themselves lost in the world of thievery, dodging prison and following a Robin Hood type of ordeal.  Player three was a noble who had way too much money and spent most of it on fighting lessons, turns out this character was a fraud and was mostly all bark no bite when it came to dealing with situations. “Great Rumble Above, Falling Rocks Tumbling Down, Thunder Born of Earth.” The female character was the beginning guide, so it was between me and the fraud to reflect on our journey, learn from our experience, understand our filled and unfulfilled goals, and give closure to each dilemma. So of course, I made like most frogs and jumped up onto each rock making my way to the sky and dodging the rocks, described as “As a frog I jump, I shoot for the sky and more, I am safe from rocks” The fraud was interesting, having a convenience pave his way to glory. “The people are dangered, My eyes closed from fear of rocks, They miss us I’m cheered” The guide enjoyed the story of the fraud more than me (even though it could have been me who pushed the rocks off course -_-).

In the end, I did not win at all, but it was the experience I loved the most. It was a unique journey of both haiku and party gaming. It put us in a setting of poetry and sprinkled a suggestion of roleplaying elements to experience. It’s simple.

Final Thoughts

Blade and Brush is a story driven party game for more than three+ players and while I had fun with three, I could see this being more exciting with more players. It’s not directly interactive between players but It’s a lot of fun to listen to others journeys and makes for a relaxing experience for in between play or for a light game night. This is definitely replayable because of the large assortment of players to choose from and from the style of haiku elaborating our experience. Haiku may not capture the elements you were hoping for which can create variety. It captures the elements of a typical party game while designing an experience never done before.

You will like this game if you have a large group of friends who are actively creative and can write haiku.

You will not like this game if you’re not too creative or are hoping for pre-written experiences to play (such as Cards Against Humanity).

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Joseph Nicholas

Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Indietabletop. Communication major. Favorite mechanics include: Bluffing and Deduction, modular boards, and action point allowance. Favorite video game genres are Rpgs, Puzzles games, and Sim/Tycoons.

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