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Gorus Maximus: Kickstarter Preview

Gorus Maximus: Kickstarter Preview


Mechanics: Trick-Taking
Player Age: 13+
Player Count: 2 to 8 players
Time to Play: 30 - 45 Minutes
Publisher: Inside Up Games
Game Designer: Connor McGoey, Dominique McGoey
Game Artist: Kwanchai Moriya

Disclaimer: This is a prototype copy of a print and play that I cut out and laminated so everything could be different when the game is on KickStarter and could change again once the game is finalized.

About the Game:

The objective of the game is get 3 'Support Tokens', where one support token is awarded to the winner of each round, and the winner of a round is determined by the overall value of their collected cards. These card values are referred to as 'Crowd Favours' and are depicted by a positive/negative/ fractional number in a yellow circle on left hand side of the card (see below image).
Gorus Maximus @ Expand Your Game
There are up to 5 different 'Schools' in the game, where the number of schools in play is dependant on the amount of players. Think of these as suits in other trick taking games.
Each one is differentiated by a colour and a symbol:
1 - Blue Fists
2 - Pink Axes
3 - Green Arrows
4 - Brown Swords
5 - Yellow Shields

How to play (Set Up and a Round):

Let's begin by setting up the game. The deck is crafted based on the amount of players there are, as seen in the table below. For a trick taking game this has a huge player range of 2 - 8 players.

Player Count
Number of Schools
Number of cards per Schools
Deck Size
2 or 3
10 (0, 4-12)
10 (0, 4-12)
10 (0, 4-12)
12 (0, 3-13)
14 (0, 2-14)
16 (0-15)

Each round is played in a trick-taking manner and each trick performed by a player is known as a 'Bout'.
The first player, who is decided by sitting left of the dealer, will play a card of their choice whereby deciding the starting card school (known as the 'Initiating School'). If this is the first card of the round it will also determine the trump school (Known as the 'Preferred School') which is tracked by the picture below.
Gorus Maximus @ Expand Your Game
Each player in clockwise order can do 1 of 3 options in a bout:
1. Play a card of the initiating school. This is mandatory if you have any cards of that school in your troupe
2. Play any card from your troupe. You may want to play the preferred school if you want to win the bout (only if you can't do option 1)
3. You can challenge by playing the same rank (number) as the last card played. By doing this you change the preferred school to the colour played. You keep track of the preferred school on the card pictured below. (can do this option even if you can play option 1)
Just to simplify, options 1 and 3 have can be performed without any requirements, but option 2 can only be done if you can't do option 1. 

Now, once everyone has played their card, the winner is determined by the highest number in the preferred school. If no one can meet this requirement, the win goes to the player with the highest number in the initiating school. The next bout now begins with the winner of the previous bout playing any card, establishing the initiating school (but not the preferred school). The preferred school does not reset between bouts, only between rounds and the only way to change this school is by challenging on your turn. 

One small rule that needs to be mentioned is in a 2 player game there will be a spare pile of 10 cards, in a round after dealing out the cards to each player. This pile will have players drawing from it at the end of their turn refilling their troupe to 10 cards, until the draw pile runs out making 15 bouts per round instead of 10.

Final Thoughts/ Who is This For?

As my first venture into trick taking games, it took me a couple of bouts to adjust my brain around the rules, but that's more of a reflection on the genre of trick taking and not Gorus Maximus itself.
This game is a great blend of tactile thoughts and outmanoeuvring your opponents. Since not all of the cards have crowd favour on them, you really have to out-think your opponents and be critical in selecting how to start a bout. I found this to be enhanced in a two player game as after the first five bouts of each round, you have the perfect information on what cards your opponent has.

So you must think comprehensively to determine if you can have the 0 in the preferred school at the end of the round so you can score five crowd favour, or whether you can avoid the dreaded 8 of each school so you don't lose your crowd favour.
Gorus Maximus condenses a rich game play filled with decisions into a small light weight game and wrapped in vibrant, joyfully violent art to be enjoyed by all.

Gorus Maximus @ Expand Your Game              Gorus Maximus @ Expand Your Game        Gorus Maximus @ Expand Your Game

Key Terms:

School: The different card classes or groups, differentiated by colours and a corresponding icon. 
Preferred school: The trump school that will always win 
Initiating school:  The school that has to be followed, if possible 
Troupe: Your hand for the round 
Bout: A trick.

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