Submitted by Denise Janssen on .
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In many board game categories these days, it’s not particularly easy to bring in new and innovative effects so that your game can prove itself against the competition. The engraving type is definitely one of them, as its large age and large branches mean that newcomers have little chance of gaining a foothold. ORACLE, which we already had as a prototype prior to its release, is now trying its luck and throwing mythical creatures into the ring. What does the game bring in its final form, and will that be enough to finish the game on the table?
SKELLIG GAMES has made ORACLE available to us for our review.
This did not affect our rating!
This is what the game is about!
In ORACLE, the task of the players is to win tricks using proper strategy at the right time and thus achieve their oracle. ORACLE basically follows the well-known rules of engraving type. The hand cards contain numbers 1-12. Each row of numbers 1 through 12 has its own color, which indicates which color row the card belongs to. Starting at the end of the game, each end of the game places one card in the middle, where the color played first must be used. If this is not possible, any other color can be played.
So far, very well known. However, what makes ORACLE special is that no joker card wins the trick instantly, the highest number (i.e. 12) can always be beaten with 1, and the trick can also be won by a card with the highest number, but it does not belong to the color number series to be played and points are distributed using special oracle cards and victory point tokens.
Perhaps the most important parts of this list are the victory point symbols. Players who win one of the rounds not only receive points for winning the trick, but instead receive points depending on the type of card they won. There are a total of 3 different victory point symbols for this, which can be found in the artwork on the playing cards. If the trick is won with 1-5, the end of the game receives the Hydra token, where Hydra is on cards 1-5. The numbers 6-9 (Pegasus) and 10-12 (Phoenix) are of course identical. The lower the card class value, the more points the victory point tokens award to the player. While the hydra token gives 5 victory points, the Phoenix 2 token only gives 2, as it is easier to win a trick with a Phoenix card.
However, the playgroup must be very careful in dealing with tricks, as the number of tokens for victory points is limited. If the end of the game wins a trick that has no more victory point symbols, they receive what are called losing symbols, which cancel out all victory points for the same symbol. If someone receives a Hydra Loser Token while there are two additional Hydra Tokens in their region, they will not be worth any Victory Points at the end of the game as long as the Hydra Loser Token is in their region. Lost tokens are returned once another player wins the card-type trick.
But this is not enough. While the victory point symbols form the backbone of the game, the previously mentioned oracle cards form the nervous system. At the beginning of the game, players receive 8-10 oracle cards, depending on the size of the deck, from which they have to choose 2 cards. Oracle cards act as downward facing tasks that must be completed during the game. Since the playing group receives oracle cards after the cards are dealt, they must adjust these downward-facing tasks according to their character cards and an estimate of the tasks that can be accomplished.
Tasks range from “getting X tokens of one type” to “getting at least / max X tokens” or “getting exactly two losing tokens (and no more)”. At the final score, players receive points for completed tasks as well as victory point tokens they won before they start a new round and the process is repeated several times depending on the size of the playing group until the winner is finally determined. This is to ensure that each game introduces new possibilities and strategic options depending on the configuration of the hand.
What’s in the box?
Die Spielschachtel von ORACLE bietet insgesamt 60 Spielkarten in 5 verschiedenen Farben, 40 unterschiedliche Orakel-Karten, 16 Siegpunkt-Token aus Holz (mit jeweiligen Stickern beklebt) und 10 Übersichtskarten, 2 gle ite ite Bmitelendück Could you).
There is nothing wrong with the game in terms of quality. Victory Point tokens are well made, stickers can be attached quickly and easily and playing cards are sharply colored and printed. The game’s artwork extends through the entire material and offers a well-designed aquatic look where Hydra, Pegasi and Phoenix present themselves. Oracle card texts are short, precise and with little visual aids so it’s easy to see what the endgame has to do.
The grammar is well organized and provides visual representations of the majority of grammar texts, so that learning the grammar is quick and easy.
Tags: trick, deception, strategy
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