WBG Score: 6.5/10
Player Count: 1-5
Published by: Sunrise Tornado Game Studio
Designed by: Ta-Te Wu
If you like trick-taking games and Macaron's, you're in for a treat! Macaron from Sunrise Tornado Game Studio is a deliciously delectable card game which pits one to five players against each other in a battle to become the number one pâtissier in France!
Your aim in the game is to prepare the mot amount of boxes of Macaron's each round. Boxes are made by winning tricks. Tricks are won in the traditional trick-taking way. Each player will lay a card. the highest card from the leading suit will win. In Macaron, the suits are based on the different flavours of Macaron's. Almond, Strawberry, Blueberry and many other waist busting varieties.
As with all trick-taking games, there is a way to select a 'trump' suit. In this case, the Royal flavour. In a solo game, the royal suit is chosen by the most popular suit in the automa's hand. In a two or three player game, the royal flavour is chosen by the player to the left of the starting player. In a four and five player game, voting tokens are used so each player can have a say in this important choice.
As well as the royal suit, in Macaron there is also one suit which is set as the 'Allergen.' The 'Allergen' is a suit which can still be played and win a hand in the usual way, but when any 'Allergen' card has been included, the trick wont win anyone any points. This is a clever addition I have not seen in a trick-taking game before and brings some interesting choices to the game.
Another interesting twist, similar to contract whist, is where players need to make a "bet" to guess the correct amount of boxes they will win each round. If they guess correctly, they will gain a bonus point. If they get their bet wrong, they will loose a point. The bet does not have to be exact, players just need to guess the level on the score track that they will finish that round. So there is a margin of error here. But it adds an interesting dynamic where on occasions you will be looking to lose hands in order to get your bet right, and gain your bonus point.
The bet idea works brilliantly with the Allergen rule. The Allergens are a great way to spoil another players attempts to make their bet or to aid your own goal. If you win with an Allergen card, you get to lead the next hand, despite not getting any points. It adds a lot of control to the game.
There are some great trick-taking games on the market. Some have brought in co-operative trick-taking. Some with some clever story-driven games. But the core mechanic has stayed true to the age-old rule of play a card, highest card wins. Ultimately, if you want a trick-taking game, it seems the only decisions you need to make it theme, art, and player count.
Sunrise Tornado Game Studio seem to make great games in this way. They pick a core mechanic and make a game that stays true to that mechanic. Here with trick-taking, and seen also with Boba Mahjong, a card game coming to kickstarter based on sets and runs. I like games like this. No frills. Just solid, well built game play. However with trick-taking I do feel there are a number of games that do this well already. Perhaps there is no more that can be done with the mechanic. It may be that this is all people want with trick-taking card games. However I do feel there is room for some development here. And the betting and Allergen rule here is a nice addition.
However, whilst theme and art remain the key driver within this mechanic, Macaron gets my vote! It looks good enough to eat! The bright, vibrant art stands out and suits the theme here beautifully. Set-up on a table, on a mid-Sunday afternoon with a selection of real Macaron's to nibble as you play, I am unsure of a better way to while away the hours.