At the heart of Greek Mythology is thrilling tales of action, drama, Jealousy, and weakness.
Pandora’s Box Card Game exemplifies all these qualities. Color us impressed from the first play.
The game will be on Kickstarter in April 2020, and we received a prototype for an honest review.
Pandora’s Box is their inaugural game from the three siblings that put rivalries aside to join and build their company. Herculean applause to that because family can be problematic. The Nerdz Garage is a family business, and we are fortunate that we can work and play in harmony.
Playing with Gods
The deck consists of eye-catching Greek Gods that are reminiscent of ancient Greek mosaics transformed into modern versions of the ancient allegories. They are delightful. As mortals, our goal is to appease the Gods by matching the same God card, completing all four columns, avoiding curses, and getting locked and getting the lowest score. Each player has drafted two rows of four cards face down. There remainder of the cards -Mount Olympus is the draw pile; the player’s discard pile is the Underworld, and The River Styx is the discard pile at Mount Olympus that is permanently discarded. There is no returning from The River Styx. The players, in turn, reveal two cards that are not in the same column. A typical turn is to draw from Mount Olympus or from other players Underworld. At this point, you can replace it with one or your unrevealed cards or replace it with a revealed card, that is not in a locked row. A locked row consists of the upper and lower card in the row revealed. If you replace the drawn card with one of your cards, that card is discarded to your Underworld. This continues till one player has locked all four of their rows. The remaining players get one more turn. Cards are scored, and God or Goddess is declared.
That is the simple deck and how we played our amusing first round. The crafty mechanisms that make this game addicting are the Lock/Key Cards and The Curse cards. Lock/Key card is “the black sheep” of the family with the Centaur and his wild twin, the Reverse Centaur. When these cards are drawn or revealed, you can place on an unrevealed card on one of your opponent’s columns and LOCK IT! A Locke/Key card drawn can unlock that card and then given to The River Styx to never return. Lock/Key cards consist of Centaurs, Mermaid, Harpy and Satyr. The Curse cards change the game from amusing to boisterous at the flip of a card.
The Curse cards open Pandora’s Box and unleash Pandemonium.
Famine inflicts Pandemonium on the player who reveals Jealousy- inflicts Pandemonium on the players to the right and left, and Pandora’s a Box inflicts Pandemonium on all players. When you are cursed, you discard Lock/Key cards to the River Styx (Yay!), flip all your cards face down (Boo!), and mix them all up, reset your columns face down. Then your curse is over…for now. There are five curse cards in the deck. This curse can be fortuitous in ditching your locks. However, all your pairs are scrambled and hidden. We have had a curse at the first turn, and that is a mild nuisance. Having a curse when you have collected a Midas Touch (making matching the same God in adjacent columns) is vexing and brings a cacophony of curse words and giggles.
Speaking of outbursts, this game is teeming with them, and our favorite is “Gad Zeus!”. The Gods are in your favor when you reveal a God that matches one in an incomplete row. You get to automatically place it and if it happens again- you yell “Gad Zeus!”. This is expected to be shouted, sing it, proclaim it loud enough to rub it in the opponent’s faces. The first time my son had this luck, he declared, “Hey Zeus!” which made us snort.
Scoring is novel due to the fact the lowest score wins. Score your columns. If you have matching Gods, they cancel each other out and are worth zero. If you Gods that are Not matched, they are point value stated on the card. Each God has a noted point level with Zeus and Hera at zero. If you were the player that triggered the end game, you get -10 points. The Midas Touch scoring: if you match four Gods in adjacent columns, you score -10 plus the point value of one of God cards. If you match three columns with the same God, you get -20 points plus the value of one of the God cards. If you truly have the Midas Touch and match all eight cards, you get -40 plus the value of one of the God cards. Calculate score and then carry the points over to the next round. We played four round games.
Easy to learn and endlessly entertaining to play, Pandora’s Box Card Game is more than a party game. The outbursts and synergy of the curse and Lock/Key cards make for enterprising gameplay.
Unpredictable player sabotages the competition can bring on squabbles, and if this occurs, the game designers believe that we have created a true Greek God Success Story.
The Nerdz Garage thinks there’s plenty of variety and continual laughs.
We recommend you head to their Kickstarter in April 7th, 2020.
Pandora’s Box Card Game
Art Design: Michelle Monson
Playtime: 15 Minutes