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BROOM SERVICE the board game was a game that many of my regular gamer didn't truly enjoy. I thought it was okay and indeed it won the 2015 Kennerspiel des Jahres award so I got that one right, which makes a change (as a rule I would never bet on anything I fancied/liked). I reviewed the boardgame a while back and my words can be found here:

Although I quite like the boardgame, I find the card game to be more fun and more enjoyable and more likely to be played in our gaming sessions that the boardgame. The card game lasts about half as long as the boardgame and that only takes about 30 minutes, so neither game will take up hours of your gaming time and yet both will make the time you do spend with them worthwhile. The Board game will cost you around £25.00 and the card game about £10.00. Both games are produced by the same games company, designed by the same creators and illustrated by the same artist (see below please)

Being a card game the components are all cards, no tiles, no counters and no dice, just 144 'Witch' cards, 11 'Task' cards, '6' Overview cards and 19 cards for the Board game - there are three separate cards on how to use the cards in the boardgame, one in English, one in French and the last one in German, the same languages as can be found on the other 16 board game cards. If you have the boardgame or you know someone who has it then simply add these cards to it, they have nothing to do with the card game.

 

Like the boardgame, this is all about Witches delivering colourful potions and the players deciding whether they are 'brave' or 'cowardly'. 

The mechanics are simple and yet quite different from any other card games. There are a number of Task cards face-up for all to see, each with three rows of various coloured Potion bottles. To collect these cards and the 5 victory points they are worth the players have to win rounds of card playing. There are only four Rounds in a game and each player only plays 3 cards per Round and is unlikely to keep every card they play. 

 

At the beginning of the game the cards are shuffled and, depending on how many players there are, a hand of cards is dealt to each player. At the beginning of the 2nd, 3rd and 4th Rounds the players draw 3 more cards from the draw pile and add them to their hands. Each Round the players choose 3 cards from their hand which they will play this Round. The cards show One Potion Bottle at one end and Three Potion Bottles at the other, this is where being a 'Brave' or 'Cowardly' Witch comes into play.

Card are played one at a time in turn order and are aimed towards the centre of the table so that either One or Three Potion Bottles headed towards the middle area. There is an element of the Whist game genre in BROOM SERVICE as if possible you have to follow the suit of the first card laid each Round. Playing a card One Potion forward is being cowardly but always safe; playing it Three Potions forward is brave. If you cannot follow suit you simply play any card face down, it is out of the Round but you get it back at the end of the Round. If you can, must, follow suit it is up to you how you play the card, going last in a Round can have a distinct advantage but it also means you go first in the next Round.

Playing the card Three Potions forwards is brave because you are hoping that no one else will have a Three of the same colour. If they don't then you take your card and place it face up in front of you, if someone else does play a Three the same colour as yours then you have to flip over your card and it is out for the Round, but not lost. All other cards (single Potions) that did follow suit are kept face up in front of their owners. The idea is to collect enough cards to be able to complete one or more of the Task cards on display - you can complete more than one Task in a Round but obviously cannot use the same cards more than once in the same Round.

After four Rounds the Draw Pile will be exhausted and the game drawn to a close. Any ties for completing Tasks are settled by giving one of the tied players the Task card and the others any spare Task card (each Task card is of 5pts value), Task cards are not replaced when completed so it matters not which of the other Task cards are used as 5pt markers.

At the end of the Round the Potions are added up and the highest total wins. You only count the Potion bottles to begin with, counting each colour separately and scoring points according to the Overview card (1 Potion = 0 points, 2 Potions = 1 point etc.) and then add 1 point for every 'Brave' symbol visible in your collection (note that these may have been played as Cowardly cards) and finally 5 points for each Task card collected. Cards in hand are of no value.

 

As I said, this game has simple mechanics and plays quickly. It is, as has been said many times before, fast and fun. It's a family game that bears the logo of one of the top family board game companies, RAVENSBURGER, and that means trusted value and quality.

 

© Chris Baylis 2011-2015