Open Seat Gaming: ~500 Word Review - The Fox in the Forest
Description: The Fox in the Forest is a fairly straightforward trick taking game for just 2 players. Wait a minute, you might be thinking, a 2 player trick taking game? Trick taking games normally work best at, or are exclusively meant for, 4 players. But Joshua Buergel managed to come up with an exquisite design for a 2 player trick taking game & pull it off.
The game is set in a fairytale world.There are three suits: keys, moons, & bells. You are dealt a hand of 13 cards - so you are competing for 13 tricks overall. Even numbered cards are only identified by their number & suit. The Swan (1), the Fox (3), the Woodcutter (5), Treasure (7), the Witch (9), and the Queen (11) are the odd numbered cards, and each has their own unique special ability. Like any other trick taking game, you win the trick by playing the trump suit &/ or the highest number card, except when the special ability cards are played.
Review: This game has excellent artwork. Every odd, special ability card has the fairy tale feeling emanating from it. The Fox on the cover & on the Fox card (3) for the Bells suit looks like an artfully done version of the Foxtrot Games logo. The odd numbered cards give you interesting abilities which you want to use to your strategic advantage - whether it's playing your lowest card and still leading the next trick (Swan) or getting a bonus point just for winning a specific trick (Treasure).
The gameplay is fantastic, because you either want to not take many tricks (0 to 3) or just over half of the tricks (7 to 9) each round to score the most points. If you take too many tricks (10 to 13), you are being greedy and will earn no points. The player aid helps you to know how many tricks score how many points & what the special cards abilities are on the opposite side of the card.
Marti & I typically play to 16 points, which the rules call the short variant. We prefer this to the standard 21 points because we think it's too easy to tie at 21, given that most of the ways in which you can earn points happen in multiples of three. Overall this game is very enjoyable & easy to get to the table because of its playing time.
Buy, Try, Deny: If you're looking for a fun 2 player only card game, The Fox in the Forest is definitely a buy! If you aren't sure about trick taking games, you definitely want to give this a try first. You might not think that an unassuming small card game would have a some slightly challenging strategy, but the Fox in the Forest delivers in spades!
Sarah - The Confuzzld Meeple