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Sideshow Swap Kickstarter Preview

Quick Look:

Designer: Phillip James (II), Adam Stevenson
Artists: Phillip James (II)
Publisher: (Self-Published)
Year Published: 2019
No. of Players: 2-8
Ages: 7+

Playing Time: 10-45 Minutes

Find more info on BoardGameGeek.com

"So far as the colleges go, the sideshows are swallowing up the circus." --Woodrow Wilson

From the publisher:
Sideshow Swap is an original, deduction-style party game based on cunning and chance. Players take turns swapping performer cards and playing tickets in an effort to sabotage others, all while trying to discover and hold the top performer before the game ends. Squirrel away money to play the best tickets and tilt the game in your favor. But beware! Other players are trying to ruin your plan as well, so it helps to keep track of where the best performers are as the chaos ensues. Cards are quickly and frequently changing between players, so you have to time your moves just right. The game ends when someone lays their last ticket, and players reveal their performers. The highest one wins!
As a kid, I was never a big fan of the circus. My family took me a couple of times but I was never really into it. When I got older though I found something, well, different. The Jim Rose circus sideshow was a big deal in the early 90s and I loved it. All the oddities were the main event and it was glorious. I was even lucky enough to catch the act at lolapalooza. if you have never seen it I recommend checking some of it out on youtube for something different. and now, "LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, BOYS AND GIRLS, CHILDREN OF ALL AGES... SIDESHOW SWAP."


Rules and Setup:
You start by shuffling all the performers and dealing one to each player. You then place five of the remaining performers in a row in the center area. Set the remaining cards aside without looking at them.

Next, you deal three tickets to each player. If they receive a red Now Playing ticket, shuffle it back in and draw another card. Place the remaining ticket cards within reach of all players; this will serve as the ticket draw deck. (NOTE--There are varied amounts of performers and tickets depending on the number of players, but it is explained very clearly in the rules.)

Finally, put five bux for each player into a pile in the center of the table (example: 3 players = 15 bux). After this each player receives two bux from the bank.

Take That

Game Play:
You start with one performer in your hand. The goal is by the end of the game to have the highest-numbered performer. You may only have one performer in your possession at any time. At the start of your turn, you receive one bux from the bank (if the bank has any) and you have the option to draw a ticket, but you do not have to. After that, you MUST either play a ticket or swap your performer with one in the center area. The game ends immediately when one person is out of tickets.

Artwork and Components:
The copy I have is not the final version. That being said, they are very good quality so I would expect no less from the Kickstarter. Also, I love that the tickets are slightly smaller than the performer cards. It would have been justified for the theme to go with a fairly small ticket card, I am so glad they did not do that. What I really need to talk about here though is the art. the performers are just amazing! They have a posterized style to them like you would expect to see in an old-time advertisement for a sideshow. It's spot on.

The Good:
The game is fun. This might sound basic to say, but no matter the number of people I played this with, everyone enjoyed it and we played it again right away.

The Bad:
This is super minor, but in the two-player mode swap seemed to come up in the ticket cards more than I would have liked. I know it is the main component of the game, but I would like to see a couple more varied cards.

Final Thoughts:
In a  Kickstarter world of pasted-on themes and minis, this game stands out and hits all the mark. The theme works with the mechanics and you can tell the designers really care about the experience you have playing this game. They ever wrote bios for all the characters, which you can see here. This is a great game, and when it hits Kickstarter you should indeed STEP RIGHT UP!

Players Who Like:
Love Letter, Deduction Games, Bluffing.

Check out Sideshow Swap on:

https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/256443/sideshow-swap   https://www.facebook.com/SideshowSwap   https://twitter.com/SideshowSwap   https://www.instagram.com/SideshowSwap/   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bwJNiOkheBQ&feature=youtu.be   

Coming to KICKSTARTER soon....

James Freeman - Reviewer

James is a child of the 80's he grew playing D&D and Stratego. He currently owns more games than his understanding wife of 20+ years thinks he should. James lives in Buffalo, New York with his previously mentioned wife, 2 teenage kids and one Havanese dog. Also, if someone outside of Buffalo says they serve buffalo wings, they are lying.

See James's reviews HERE.
Sideshow Swap Kickstarter Preview Sideshow Swap Kickstarter Preview Reviewed by James Freeman on January 16, 2019 Rating: 5

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