by Amanda Nettgen
Board game manufacturer:
Number of players:
8+ (I think younger could play)
Tricky Town is the game that sends players on a candy-managing quest, while combining elements of Backgammon and War. It’s a cute joy that can be played at any time of the year, not just Halloween.
The game and gameplay
Lay out the multi-colored game board and choose from an equally multi-colored set of families (Tricky Town is unique in that the whole idea is to have each person move four pawns, not just one).
Set your mom, dad, son, and daughter on their corresponding home sweet home starting spot. Have the non-sweet tooth of the group distribute a total of 20 cardboard treats to each contender.
Shuffle the playing cards and pass them out in equal piles to each player. Make sure everyone understands the ranking system of the movement cards before playing. Smaller icons of possible centered monsters will run in order from highest to lowest rank on both sides of the playing card.
A ghost is higher than a skeleton, for example, so the haunted player would take his turn first. If the characters match, the higher movement number (also listed on the card) reigns supreme. A War-style showdown occurs before every new set of turns, as the game uses monster monarchy in lieu of dice.The main aspect of the game plays off the real-life reality that kids should not go trick-or-treating sans parents. Throughout the game, your son and daughter may never be more than five spaces (houses?) away from either their mom or dad. You can’t even go through with your proposed turn if such a fate would happen.
A player may not separate a child from a parent, either his own or an opponent’s. Only a Trick or Treat card may separate a child from the parents.
Moving your pieces is the fun part in the game. With every flip of a playing card, new decisions must be made. You usually have several options when it comes to advancing your tokens and so you must weigh your choices and decide what the best move for your turn will be. Will you take two treats from the bank, or swipe one from an opponent? Should you take your chances on the Trick or Treat space, or play it safe at the Pumpkin Patch?
Sometimes you’re forced to land on a bad spot, as if any move exists where your family can still be a functional unit, you must take it. For every even playing card you draw, you may split the digit in half and have TWO DNA-matchers move if you want. Having Dad blaze ahead because his eyes are bigger than his stomach is okay, too, so long as Mom’s there to guard BOTH offspring.
Crosswalks exist as kind of shortcuts from one area of the board to another. At least one parent and one or more kids must both land on the crosswalk to utilize it (and there’s no running across the street if the parent is on the other side). It’s a good way to rack up treats, as crossing family members will score three goodies each.
Most spaces on the board will either cost you or have you collect treats. If you manage to drop your bag of candy and lose all treats during the game, Halloween is over for you, and you’re out of the game.
Players score five treats for each kin member that successfully makes his way back home. As soon as somebody has all related residents back in their house, the game ends.
Have all players count up their sugar, and the person most likely to get cavities (the one with the most sweets) wins. In event of a tie, the person with the most family members home or closest to home wins.
Pros and cons
I was very excited to play Tricky Town because while I had never heard of it before, it looked like a fun, colorful game (indeed, it is). I had only heard of a make-your-own Trick or Treat game previously via a family magazine; I feel Tricky Town evolved and improved the concept.
Tricky Town is a great family game. It involves a decent amount of strategy, so it won’t be a bore for adults to play. It teaches kids planning skills, but has plenty of surprise thrown in, too. It’s rightfully a great addition to a Halloween party, but don’t let the seasonal theme stop you from using it at a slumber party or the like, too.
Tricky Town is obviously a game geared more for a younger crowd rather than purely adults, although my husband and I enjoy it. Some of the card instructions are vague, thus making your group decide what the connotations are.
It’s a strategy game that should prove moderately fun play after play.
If you’re looking for a fun, semi-educational game you will be happy to play with your kids, you’ve found your match with Tricky Town. It’s unique and innovative and a good game all-around.