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Cursed Court Review

Quick Look:

Designer: Andrew Hanson
Artists: Lee Moyer
Publisher: Atlas Games
Year Published: 2017
No. of Players: 2-6
Ages: 13+
Playing Time: 30-60 minutes

Find more info on BoardGameGeek.com


Rules and Setup:
The game is played over 3 rounds which they reference as years with 4 seasons in each year.  At the beginning of the year cards are dealt out to each space between the players.  Each player will look at 2 cards, one to their left and one to their right.  The same cards will be looked at by the opponents they are sitting next to as well.  (The card on your right will only be looked at by the player on your right, the card of your left will only been looked at by the player on your left).  At the beginning of each season, a public card will be dealt out for all to see.  Each player will take turns placing their crowns on a betting space to indicate a wager for the year.  Coins can be used to help protect their space as other players can overpower players by placing double the amount of coins with their crown to replace the existing crown.  Each player has 20 coins to use throughout the year.  Each player will place a crown each season, and if bumped off, will place their crown on the board again before the next season starts.  After the Winter season, each player will have 4 crowns on the board, there will be 4 public cards, and you will flip all the hidden cards between each player.  Points are then scored depending on the space you bet on.  After 3 years, the player with the highest score wins.

Andrew did a great job making the rules and setup simple to understand.  With playing only 3 rounds, if you had a player count other than 3, some players would start the year with an empty board with others never having that chance.  I feel like that there wasn't a better position during play as you could double your bet to take another player's spot.  But it did seem like each player should have the opportunity to either start the year or end the year with their turn.

Theme and Mechanics:
Each player plays as a minor noble who will need to try and decide which of the top nine nobles will sway the court each year.  Each minor noble will need to show their limited influence accordingly.

Cursed Court is a bluffing deduction wagering game.  You will be placing your crown on a spot that you might think will be true at the end of the year.  Some players might bluff and place theirs on a spot that might not pay out at the end but will influence your choice to either take their spot, or taker a spot that shares information that you think they know.  Deduction is the last mechanic, as you need to decide if you think a player might know some information or might be guessing and just placing it without knowing if their wager will pay out.

The theme and mechanics match well.

Artwork and Components:
The artwork in the game has a professional look to it.  Each noble has a distinct look to them with some detail that matches their name and title.

The components consist of 4 crowns per player (24 in total), 20 coins per player (120 in total), 1 score marker per player (6 in total), 36 noble cards (4 of each noble), the board, and a first player marker. The crown and coins are made out of heavy plastic.  You might need to be careful with the crowns as they feel sharp.

The components are nice and the coins don't quit have the feel as a poker chip, but the size is close.  I would have liked to have the chips feel more like a poker chip, or a chip from splendor. Also since everything was made out of that plastic, I would have liked to see the first played marker as a large chip or something more than the cardboard marker.  Saying that, this game is more on the lighter side and it is great to have components like they have included in the game. They simply could have made cardboard tokens to use as the chips.  I also think their player colors seem odd, and wish that some were changed to either a different shade of that color or a different color itself.  To me it looks like perhaps the colors just didn't turn out how they were suppose to.

The Good:
Some people associate betting and poker to be a bad habit as many become addicted to gambling.  This game takes the fun and joy of betting and puts it into a board game that can be played without being associated with gambling.  There are so many spots on the board to place your crown on at the beginning of each round, and you feel like you have limited information.  With only flipping over 3 more cards, there is a feel that many of those spots will pay out even though this not might be true.  There are many variants which can make the game seem different and put a twist on game play.  The game plays up to 6 players which can be great for when you have a larger group.

The Bad:
When placing crowns, you can almost guess where someone else might go due to the information available.  The most points you can get for one crown is 8 points, but that is only if 4 of the same noble is revealed by the end of the year which doesn't happen too much.  You usually will battle out with coins for the spot that will score the most points.  At the end if you are looking where to place a crown, you can usually see what might get you points and the decision is pretty much made up for you.

Final Thoughts:
I really like this game because it's a new twist on betting and wagering.  When you play this enough with others, you can see how they play and try to get information from them that you didn't have, but watch out because they could be bluffing or taking a guess themselves.  I feel like there needs to be equal rounds for the number of players, so for a 4 player game there should be 4 rounds instead of 3.  This would help the game feel more complete and fair.  The game allows different strategies to form as you can grab spots and guard them with high amount of coins, or you can save most of your coins till the end where you can bump others off after you get a bigger picture of which nobles are out, and which spots will pay out more.

Players Who Like:
Players who enjoy betting or wagering games, deduction games, party games, or bluffing games would enjoy this game.  This game would be perfect for introducing new players to board games, and is perfect to play during parties, or family gatherings.

I am giving Cursed Court a 7.5 out of 10 super meeples.

Check out Cursed Court on:


About the Author:
Brody Sheard played board games with his large family growing up.  He continues his love of games by teaching his family, local gaming guild, and friends about new and exciting games.  Brody believes that board gaming keeps your mind healthy while also having fun interacting with others.
Cursed Court Review Cursed Court Review Reviewed by Brody on November 29, 2017 Rating: 5

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