Mini Review of Trickerion: Legends of Illusion
In which I know this doesn’t do justice to the game, because there’s nothing mini in the game (except the crystal shards compared to the stone). But nevertheless I was so excited about the game that I thought it would be nice to make a short review about the game.
This game was released in 2015 via Kickstarter (in 2014) and had garnered some buzz among the geek. I backed the legend box with exclusive contents (dark alley expansion along with magician powers). The game is heavy, there are a lot of components stuffed inside, hundreds of cards, tokens and trickerion shards, huge player boards (yes not the game board itself, let me make myself clear that when Rahdo claimed this game as “devourer of tables” I was wrong to think the game has huge game board, in fact the main board is kinda small considering my expectation to that title).
I love its visual presentation (basically one of many reasons why I backed the game) with a bit classic and fantasy touch bring the glorious past time full of magic and wonders. But the character illustrations are another thing, not really fond of them.
The game is looking fairly complex from a glance, many components and bits scattered around that in the same time it gives you amazement and confusion. So how is the meat really taste?
I’ve played it twice in full mode with the expansion (one of them also with Magician powers), we hit it right off the bat with full mode just because we’re arrogant bastards, yes we are. How on earth we cannot handle this game, if we already beaten Kanban or The Gallerist? Well, we’re kinda mistaken. In the game each player will take a role as magician, who will compete in such prestigious arena where the legend himself (Dahlgaard) being the host. In order to perform, you magicians need to learn tricks and prepare them before the shows begin. But to prepare tricks, player need to have the required components, in which if they don’t have them, they need to get them in the market row. Once prepared they also need to set the trick into the stage located in the theater, where players will book stages to perform the best they can. Once they perform they will get fame and coins based on their tricks and other bonuses.
In the game players will assign their characters (Magician, apprentices and specialists) to run errands across the town’s 4 locations (5 if you are playing with Dark Alley expansion). Placing the characters are purely worker placement but with innovative twist (with assignment cards). These cards are assigned face down in each characters and players will reveal them simultaneously, this will create tension and mind reading play as players will guess what other players will do in a round. Also each character also has a base action point that they can add with the slot modifier based on where that character is placed. This combined mechanism give players interesting decision making during the game. A headache to begin with. Also the assignment cards are limited for each location, so players cannot as they wish, send all their characters into a single locations to abuse the usage of that location in a single round, in other words, your management is crucial.
Another interesting part is the trick cards. There are 4 trick categories (Escape artist, illusionist, spiritual and mechanical) that are available and each magician has one of these categories as their personal preference. By learning tricks, players build their engine on their board so that their tricks can gain profit (of coins, fame points and shards). But preparing the tricks is another headache, you need to mix and match the components required among the tricks you have so that you can get the components from market row as efficient as you can be. I found this to be the most challenging part of the game (though it’s not the only one).
When you want to perform, you need to go to theater, where in a round (one week) magicians will fight for stages and performance schedules so they can gain the most out of the performances. First of all, if magicians want to perform they need to book the stage (their magicians do nothing with the 3 action points) and also set up the trick (although two actions can be done separately in different weeks). When booking a stage players can choose to book the day they will perform (turn order) from Thursday to Sunday, where Sunday will gain extra profit while Thursday will gain less (very thematic, I like that the theme are tailored quite well into the game). Setting up tricks let players placing their trick markers into the performance cards (it’s like a mini puzzle where players will match the trick into slots and creating links). These cards will then be performed by magicians on the stage. All tricks placed on the chosen performance cards will be scored (regardless who activates them). So order of activation is very important, not mention that performing also get bonuses from the links, specialists supporting the performance and also the card itself. The game is complex, though it’s look simple by the game phase breakdown. Players need to build their tricks arsenal and put them in the right spots and in the right time to steal the highlight from anyone else.
Honestly the game takes a very long time, we played both games in 4 hours plus (exclude the game explanation) and there were lots of errors because of the complicated and fiddly rules. But in overall, I love this game very much. It scratches that itchy feel to build something and tinker with it. The interactions are high where players will battle positions on each locations and when performing. I love the theme, and how it integrates very well into the game. This game is surely one of the best games in my experience.