This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion
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Number of Players: 2-4
Time: 15-30 Minutes
Game Type: Card Management
Gamer Type: Casual
Complexity: 2 (card game)
I got my start with games playing rummy with my grandmother and my great grandmother. I know that many hardcore board gamers turn up their noses at card games, but in reality, they are the place where many of us got our start. As a result, when I see a classic-style card game come across the table, I get a little nostalgic. This is what happened when I played Truffle Shuffle by AEG games. This is a great modernization of the classic card game that can fit in anyone’s game pantry.
The classic card games of Rummy, Phase 10, and Baja did not have stories that drew their players into the game. Let’s face it, making a story for a card game is hard. This did not stop AEG from building one into Truffle Shuffle. In this game, you are a confectioner who is trying to fill orders with your delicious creations. Orders get you money (points) and points win you the game. This is a simple story, but let’s face it – at least AEG put a story into a card game. 7 of 10.
One of the dangers you face when you are putting good artwork into a classic card game is that the artwork distracts you from the game. This makes it a balancing act. The artwork for Truffle Shuffle is simple but well done. The candies on the cards and the different “suits” are a game mechanic, so there was no need to get too fancy. The box and the storage are well done (you may want to add some baggies). Overall, the simple approach does well, and with a small-medium box it fits with the rest of your small-medium games. 5.5 of 10.
If you like Phase 10 or Rummy, then you will like this game. If you like a game that will not consume your entire afternoon, then you will really like this game. AEG removed some of the more tedious elements that made Phase 10 and Rummy long and drawn out, while still keeping the moxie that makes them fun. In this game, you make books (sets) of cards. The sets are based on numbers and colors, so there are different ways to make points. The more complex the book, the more points it is worth. Further, you can also get points for speed with bonus coins based on the number of players. The alternating “shown” and “hidden” cards also add to the randomization of the system. 8.5 of 10.
In this game, offense and rush are pretty much the same strategies. If your goal is to make as many cheap sets as possible, you can try to run the table on your competitors. Defense is a hard strategy since you are managing the massive amount of cards; however, it can be done – you can go after the cards your opponent seems to be after (and use their special abilities to thwart them, too). As with most games, I love the engine-building strategy, which is slightly curtailed here, but still very playable using abilities and draws to make masterful plays. 6 of 10.
There are dozens of card games on the market today. Most of them are pale copies of classic games with no new twists. AEG adds some interesting twists to the classic collection strategy to clearly define this game as their own. This is not just a Rummy clone or a Phase 10 Clone, this is its own game. I would love to see expansions where you could play more players, which would increase the strategy exponentially. 7 of 10.
Throwing a card game into the market is not easy. AEG does it quite well. Truffle Shuffle is a masterful extension of the classic card game which anyone can play. Like most card games, it is quick to learn and difficult to master. The quick nature of this game makes it a great game for playing with friends during short periods of time, which is something many other big box games are lacking. This year seems to be the year of the short game. With an overall score of 34, this is a great game for your collection.
As I have noted several times, I am often asked if the game can be played by yourself. This is one of the better ones you can play on your own. In solo play, you set a number of turns for you to get a specific number of points (you can also go for an exact number of points if you want to make it that much harder). The game plays well and you will need to see where you want to set your goals. Depending on your playing style, it can be easy or it can be hard solitaire.