Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Tricks, Tips, and Tools of the Game (The Fox in the Forest)

Everyone remember their favourite fairy tales.  Snow White, Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland, The Turnip Princess.  Oh, that one's not a classic?  It was discovered recently?  You'd never know.  I mean, with how many people tell their kids bedtime stories, stuff like Goodnight Moon might as well be a fairy tale now.  So, I present to you one of my new favourite fairy tales: The Fox in the Forest.  Once Upon a Time...

GAME DESCRIPTION:  The Fox in the Forest is a card game published by Foxtrot Games for 2 players.  Players attempt to take a number of "Tricks" over the course of the game.

SET-UP:  Each player is dealt a hand of 13 cards from the 33 card deck, with the 7 remaining being the Draw pile.  Take the top card of the pile and place it face up as the Decree card.  The player who didn't deal is the Leader, and begins by playing a card from their hand.

TRICKS:  Tricks are when both players have played a card.  The Leader starts by playing any card in their hand, and the following player must play a card that matches the Leader's suit, appropriately called the Lead Suit.  If there is no matching suit, they may play any other card.  The tricks are given first to the player with the highest card that matches the Decree card's suit, then the player with highest number in the Lead Suit if the first rule doesn't apply.

ABILITIES:  All odd numbered cards will have special abilities.  Some, like 3 and 5, are activated immediately after played.  Others, like 1, are activated after the end of the Trick.  And even others, like 7, apply later.  Luckily, the Appendix has rulings in common situations.

SCORING:  Once a Trick has been played, it is placed face-down so that both players may know how many tricks have been played, but not the number played in each Trick.  Players continue playing Tricks until all 13 cards have been played in their hands.  Then, players score according to the number of 7's and the number of Tricks taken.  If a player managed to get 10 or more Tricks, they get 0 points for being too greedy!  If they got 0-3 or 7-9 Tricks, they get the maximum 6 for being humble or victorious!  Any other number of Tricks are scored appropriately, and the player is "defeated".  Once either player score 21 or more points, they win!

CONCLUSION:  The Fox in the Forest is a fun, quirky, Hearts-light game that can help pass by the time if you can find only one other player who likes games like Hearts and Pinochle.  The problem is that usually, whenever I can find 1 player, I can generally find 2 more who would enjoy, or at least be willing, trick taking games.  Still, the fairy-tale theme is nice, the scoring system is great for punishing players who would generally play "Shoot the Moon" style tactics, and the abilities are an interesting way to change the game.  This is a somewhat niche game, as I'm sure a fair amount are people aren't going to enjoy this game that enjoy games like Spades.  Still, if there's a chance you do, the Fox in the Forest may be a nice, different game for you to enjoy.

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