Lunatic

Game: Lunatic by Dionysos GamesAge: 8+
Time: 5- 10 minutesReplay Value: higher
Players: 3- 4 (best at 4)Difficulty: easy

Don’t let yourself be fooled by its simplicity: This is a tough game. You have to lie to your fellow players right in the face. You have have to catch them lying. You need to remember what cards left the game even tough cards leave the game face down! You need a strategy and you need to organise your hand so the others won’t get a read on you. There’s a million tricks to learn.

Dionysos Games ( https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/dionysosgames/lunatic-0/description )

Lunatic is a very tactical and mystical version of the classic card game 13’s. After passing out all the cards, players will take turns trying to decrease their hand to zero. Players will call out and put down a set of cards whether it be 1, 2, or 3 cards of the same value and place them face down. The next player will decide if the cards are truthfully what they were but be careful because calling them out and being wrong means you collect all the cards played. First player to get rid of all their cards win!

ProsCons
-Simple game to learn, a lot to master
-fantastic artwork
-good use of bluffing
-some special cards are impossible to activate

Expectations

I really enjoy the game of 13’s and before even playing Lunatic I got a huge 13’s vibe. The expansion on those core mechanics make this a fun tactical game for anyone looking for a quick but constructive card game. Players are always wary on calling each other out because of the fear of collecting the already used cards from the center. We all know in a game where getting rid of your hand is good–collecting cards= bad. When players decide to throw down three 10’s to top off their rebuttal against 3 4’s or 3 6’s it’s a question of does anyone else possibly have these cards? Why it’s not so easy is because no one else is allowed to say anything, so even if they did have one of the 3 10’s available in game there is nothing they can do or say. The use of special cards (which we introduced after familiarity with Lunatic) I felt were a hit or a miss. I truly enjoyed using the wild card or the satyr. Both cards add a structurally large amount of strategy because of the chances to throw in 4 of a kind (with the shapeshifter) or force a truth out of the player dropping cards (the satyr). I did find trouble with the astronomer in a 3 player game because of how obvious the outcome can be (call out a bluff even if the player who’s turn it is didn’t). However, I do not see it on the kickstarter so I am under the impression it is no longer in game.

What I like

I loved the artwork and feel like the graphics alone can interpret the story of the game without much knowledge of the lore. This is an abstract type of card game so the most you’ll get are bits and pieces about what is actually happening within the “world of lunatic”. I do enjoy the way the game utilizes bluffing as a mechanic. I think the game is stronger with 4 players as opposed to 3 but that’s not to say 3 is invaluable. 4 players gives the game a lot more questionable choices because of how the deck is split up between everyone. Regardless of play size, the game is super simple to follow but takes a bit of strategic knowledge to really master. Similar to 13’s–you want to play the rights cards at the right time or you will end up with cards in your hand until the end, ya Loony!

What I Don’t Like

I’ve mentioned this above but I’ll touch up on the experience a little more. With 3 players the astronomer was OP. Each round with the astronomer in play was as follows:

Player A: three 3’s!

Player B: okay, three 5….

Player C: Wait, they’re bluffing, I have the third three right here.

My game play experience

4 players it is a little more bearable. But again, may no be in the game anymore so instead here is a cool description of a card I am seeing on the kickstarter that looks fun to play with.

One by one, every player has to choose:

  •  Discard one more card than the previous player, or
  •  Finish the ritual

The ritual starts with the player next to the initiator in playing direction, able to discard one card. Continue in playing direction until a player chooses to finish the ritual. 

Final Thoughts

Well thought out quick-to-play card game with a strategy hurdle. Great graphics to compliment the mysterious style of game play (AKA the mysteries of bluffing) with some additional special cards to twist the game up. If you are familiar with 13’s then you understand the strategy it will take to be good at Lunatic. Good at 3 but really shines at 4 players.

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