Designer: Wolfgang Warsch
Artist: Oliver Freudenreich, Sandra Freudenreich
Illusion is a small card game from the same designer of The Mind and The Quacks of Quedlinburg. Warsch has made a name for himself by producing a bunch of high profile games in short order. All of them are pretty well-received, save perhaps, Illusion. Perhaps, its misfortune was that it was published in the same year as The Mind. Nothing could potentially hold a candle near The Mind without getting burnt. It was just out of the ballpark in terms of novelty. So, having greatly lowered the expectations for Illusion, how does it play?
I think Illusion also plays somewhat differently than other card games. It’s not exactly a very competitive game and feels more like an activity. Even though the scoring is pretty well laid out and clear cut, the scoring opportunities aren’t exactly spread out equally and so, it feels like the competition is an afterthought. Be that as it may, Illusion does have a few interesting concepts worth exploring
Chief among others, Illusion tests your powers…. of proportionality? I honestly can’t think of a word to describe it. The deck of cards in Illusion consists of drawings and shapes of different types in a combination of 4 different colors. The art itself doesn’t really matter but what matters is the ratio of colors among the objects on the card. Basically, Illusion plays like the Time Line where players draw cards and determine where exactly the new card slots into the horizontal row. At the start of each round a single card is flipped over to denote which color is in play. After that, players either draw a card and insert in the row, in ascending order of what they believe are increasing proportions of the color being represented in the card itself. If players think the current setup is wrong, they can challenge the lineup instead of drawing and placing a new card. Cards in the lineup are then flipped over to show the percentage of the colors represented by the artwork. If the lineup is accurate, then the challenge card goes to the previously player who managed to assemble the right line up. If the lineup is wrong, then the current active player calling the challenge wins the round.
Play goes until all challenge cards are won or at least until everyone gets tired of playing. The challenge cards are tallied and winner is announced.
There is really not much to the game at all and it’s simple, as you can see. You pick a card, put it in order of what you think is correct or call a challenge. That’s it. My initial experience was rather flat. Playing with 3 in the family didn’t get a whole lot of traction. There wasn’t much enthusiasm or excitement. Everyone just went about putting down cards in a row and nothing more. There wasn’t any ups or downs or yelps of excitement or joy. I was a little disappointed, thinking that this would be an involved family game. The contrast was quite stark because after Illusion, we played Cockroach Poker Royal. That one, had all the hoots and laughs while this one had none.
Perhaps coming off The Mind, I was just expecting an out-of-the-world experience – which we didn’t get. Of course, that is unfair, but I also can’t deny that we just didn’t have as much fun.
6 years and 10 months: This is just ok. My child was clearly not enthused to play after a few rounds. She soldiered on bravely but I feel this is too boring or dry for her. She had a reasonable chance for success in this game, but not sure she wanted to play again. So, this may sit on the shelf for a while