Tabletop Review: ‘Tricky Druids’

Reading Time: 5 minutes
‘Tricky Druids’ from Pegasus Spiele. Photo by Elizabeth MacAndrew.

I’m always on the look out for fun new tabletop games for kids especially since ours are in prime board age (five and eight). A number of game companies, like Pegasus Spiele, debuted new releases at Gen Con 2019 including offerings for kids. Knowing that Pegasus Spiele comes with well earned reputation for quality games, I was excited by the chance to get a free copy of their Gen Con release Tricky Druids in exchange for a review.

What is Tricky Druids?

Tricky Druids is a dice and resource sharing based tabletop game for 2-4 players ages 8+ and takes between 20-40 minutes to play. The game has a MSRP of $29.99.

Tricky Druids Components

The components for ‘Tricky Druids.’ Photo by Elizabeth MacAndrew.

Tricky Druids contains the following:

  • 16 Magic Potion Cards
  • 4 Two-Sided Trash Bin Cards
  • 4 Druid Huts
  • 1 Number Die (not used in base game)
  • 4 Ingredient Dice
  • 48 Ingredient Tokens

There is some nice quality to the components. I especially like the Wooden Dice and the thickness of the cardboard used for the Tokens (the tokens are not easily bendable). I’ve seen thicker cards from some games aimed at kids, but I’ve also seen thinner ones. The Huts are solid enough to do their job, but some kids under the recommended game age might be a little to rough on them and the cards. The artwork is fun and whimsical, and I think very appealing to kids. Overall, I’m generally please with the game components.

How to Play Tricky Druids

The Goal

The goal of Tricky Druids is to be the first Druid to complete the required amount of Magic Potions (4 for 2 players, 3 for 3 players, 2 for 4 players) by gathering necessary ingredients and either disposing of or passing off the unneeded ones to to other players.

Setup

One of the most important things I look for in a game aimed at kids is whether or not they can easily set it up and put it away without a lot of help from me. While I do enjoy playing games with them, I find that the easier it is for them to handle set up and play a game on their own, the more frequently they are to play with it. For the first game, players will need to punch out the Ingredient Tokens, which is quick and easy. After that, setting up a game involves the following actions:

  1. Shuffle the Magic Potion Cards and put them in a face-down pile.
  2. Place the Ingredient Tokens face-up in the middle of the players.
  3. Choose a Druid Hut and place it as a screen.
  4. Each player grabs a Magic Potion Card and a Trash Bin Card and hides them behind the Druid Hut Screen. The Trash Bin Card should have the side with three spaces facing up.
  5. Put the 4 Ingredient Dice where the players can reach them.
  6. Select the first player by deciding who is the nicest.
The Ingredient Tokens and Magic Potion Card Deck. Photo by Elizabeth MacAndrew.
Player view with the Druid Hut in place. Photo by Elizabeth MacAndrew.

Overall, the setting the game up is pretty fast and simple. The Magic Potion Cards don’t need extensive shuffling either like some games where the first play around can get super frustrating if the cards are not shuffled super well. Kids don’t always have the greatest shuffling dexterity, but luckily they don’t need it here. The game components aren’t so complicated that you have to worry about them getting so scrambled in the box between games that it feels like it takes extra time to prep the game either. Another win for something aimed at kids who are happier the faster they can get to playing.

Gameplay

Once you’ve sorted out who goes first, everyone else takes turns in clockwork order. Each player takes turns doing the following:

Roll and Offer

The Ingredient Tokens for the rolled dice. Photo by Elizabeth MacAndrew.

On their turn, a player rolls the four dice which tells them which ingredients they get. They must keep at least one ingredient but they must offer what they don’t keep to another player. The player may either take them all or reject them all. If rejected, the original player must take them.

In 3 or 4 Player Games you can use the Number Die for a Variant Game. Roll the Number Die to see how many Ingredients you must offer to other players.

Place the Ingredients

When a player has ingredients either rolled for or gifted, they must place them. Each Magic Potion requires 3 different ingredients that fill up six slots. Each required ingredient must be used at least once in the Magic Potion. Ingredients that cannot be used go to the Trash Bin.

Trash Bin Overflow

Did your Trash Bin overflow by running out of slots? If so, your Magic Potion is ruined. You must take the Magic Potion card and put it face down at the bottom of the Magic Potion Card Pile, put all Ingredient Tokens you had from the Trash Bin and the Magic Potion and return them to the pile, and select a new Magic Potion Card. The first time this happens, flip the Trash Bin Card over and now you get a four slot Trash Bin for the remainder of the game.

Completed Magic Potion

A completed Magic Potion is revealed. Photo by Elizabeth MacAndrew.

Did you complete a Magic Potion? Awesome! Lift up your Druid Hut and let the other players see, Then put your Magic Potion Card face down in front of you, return all Ingredient Tokens from your Magic Potion and Trash Bin to the pile, and select a New Magic Potion Card.

Game End

A 2 player game’s winning group of Magic Potions. Photo by Elizabeth MacAndrew.

The game ends when one player successfully makes all of the required magic potions.

Why You Should Play Tricky Druids

Overall, Tricky Druids is a well made game with good component that is quick to set up, and quick to learn. The recommended age of 8+ might have a little bit of wiggle room too. We haven’t tested it with our five-year-old, but I feel like A would have caught on to how to play at some point during his First Grade year. Honestly, the trickiest thing is for a player to decide how full they want to risk the Trash Bin getting. The fact the game uses mostly symbols and not heavy reading does help make it easier for younger players to join in as well.

I like the friendly nature of the game where players must offer Ingredients to opposing players that may end up being helpful. There is a little strategy here in deciding what to offer to who and if you should take something even if you have to Trash Bin some components. Otherwise, the game relies on luck of the dice rolls which can balance things out for younger players who might not strategize as well as older players. I found it to be a more relaxing sort of game to play with A, our eight year old. As a grown-up, I would happily play with him again especially at the end of the day when we need to wind things down. The potion making aspect seemed to appeal to my Harry Potter loving kid, and I think I got a feel for that too. We have not tried the variation yet, but I do think that will add another challenge level when older players enter the game, and I might even be tempted to run a game with my friends that way.

The game  has a MSRP of $29.99 which is probably pretty fair. There’s some solid quality to a fair amount of components, the game has lovely artwork, the rules are well done, and the added variant aspect certainly helps add to how often I expect the kids to pull out the game to play. It seems like those who came across the game at Gen Con also agreed as the pre-delivery sold out. It should start making its way to stores in the next few weeks, so if you want a copy check in with your favorite local gaming store or check in with Amazon. If I notice it pop up online, I will update with a link.

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