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Smoking Aces Review

Quick Look: Smoking Aces

Designer: Nicholas Markgraf
Publisher: PawnJoker Games
Year Published: 2017
No. of Players: 2-8
Ages: 8+
Playing Time: 20-60 Minutes

Find more info on BoardGameGeek.com

"These two dudes are just lying in the elevator all shot up. What ever it was, it got way past words."
-Smokin Aces

From the publisher:
A Poker Hybrid Strategy game that will leave your Aces Smoking!

Following a simple turn sequence, players will need to balance playing cards that advance scoring and cards that help or hinder in an ever-changing game. Destroy, reclaim, draw, search and even mimic other cards to build the best hand of five while preventing others from doing the same. A "Dead Man's Hand" will have you eliminated if you don't pay close attention. The player that assembles the best five-card Poker hand by the time all the cards have been played wins!
Deuce’s wild! Let the game begin!

Growing up I played a ton of three-card monte with my father. He was rehabbing he knee and he loved a ton of variations of poker, but three-card monte was his game. Well in truth it wasn't. It was just a variant of five card draw with three cards. My family actually made up all the poker variations come to think of it. My Uncle Bert had one for every state. I wonder if he just named a state to be funny and then told my Dad and other uncles the rules after announcing the state. I was too young to pay attention but when it plays back in my mind it looks like this:

Bert: "Ok boys, time to play Kansas poker."
* 8-second pause *
Bert: "Here are the rules.."


Rules and Setup:
You can use any variation of poker you like, but in honor of my childhood, we will pick 5 cards draw. Each player draws five cards. Determine a starting player.

Card Games often use cards as its sole or central component. There are stand-alone card games, in which all the cards necessary for gameplay are purchased at once.

The game has a primary and secondary mechanic. The primary goal of a set collection mechanic is to encourage a player to collect a set of items. For example, players collect and harvest different types of beans in Bohnanza, and they collect Monuments in Ra. In poker, you try to collect sets of suits or of the same number. If players choose to, they could bet as a secondary mechanic. Betting/Wagering games are games that encourage or require players to bet money (real or in-game) on certain outcomes within the game. The betting itself becomes part of the game. This mechanic is most commonly associated with Poker.

Game Play:
Play begins with each player being dealt five cards, one at a time, all face down. The remaining deck is placed aside. After the first round, the "draw" phase begins. Each player specifies how many of their cards they wish to replace and discards them. The deck is retrieved, and each player is dealt in turn from the deck the same number of cards they discarded so that each player again has five cards. Then the starting player will one at a time play one card and resolve any effect on the cards they have played. There are three types of cards. Continuous which gives you an effect that lasts the duration of the game. Played is a card that is put in front of you in your area (which is known as a pocket), and finally, discard which is a card you discard to trigger that effect.

Artwork and Components:
The cards are good quality, but I wish the art was better where the text is for the ability. I like the fade of the actual poker card.

The Good:
I like the three abilities on the cards. It gives a nice variety of things to do.

The Bad:
If you like poker I don't see a way you will like this.

Final Thoughts:
Are you a fan of Calvin & Hobbs? I am and I have loved it for a long time. In that comic strip, there is a game called Calvinball where the rules just get changed on the fly constantly, this game is the Calvinball of poker. You might actually have a good hand, but by the time you get done, you probably won't. You have to focus way more on the abilities of the cards rather than the value of the cards. The poker matters in the end, but not until then.

Players Who Like:
Card games, card swaps, card manipulation.

Check out Smoking Aces on:

https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/176908/smoking-aces   https://www.pawnjokergames.com/games   https://www.facebook.com/pawnjokergames   https://twitter.com/pawnjokergames   https://www.instagram.com/pawnjokergames/      

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.
Smoking Aces Review Smoking Aces Review Reviewed by James Freeman on July 09, 2019 Rating: 5

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