| April 4th 2016 |Thanks for checking out my blog. I have a new, much better looking version of this review here: http://www.boardgamebarker.com/blog/2016/3/24/diamonsters
Diamonsters is a trick taking card game with Hand Management, Set Collection and Simultaneous Action Selection for 2-6 Players. Diamonsters is a light game that is played over multiple rounds and takes 15-20 minutes to play. The rules take only a couple minutes to learn so it makes an excellent warm up, introduction game, or family game. In my review I will quickly cover how to play and then dive into how the game scales and changes from 2-6 players.
Setup:Deal each player a set of 1 of each card. (1-5)
Shuffle the remaining cards, form a central draw pile, and turn the top card face up in the center of the table.
Place the pile of blue diamonds next to the draw pile.
How to Play:
Every round lasts until a player collects monsters with a total of 5 Diamonds on their cards or 3 monsters of any kind. The first player to do so gets to take 1 blue Diamond.
1. Each player selects a card from his or her hand that they are going to play but does not show what the card is.
2. Once all players have chosen, everyone reveals their card at the same time and you see who wins the card in the center of the table.
3. a) Any players who played the same card must return their card to their hand.
b) The player with the highest value card remaining wins the face up card.
c) All other players return their cards to their hands.
4. The winner takes the prize card and the card they used to win the prize and adds them both to their score pile.
Winning the Game:
When a player has 3 of a kind or 5 diamond symbols showing on the cards in their scoring pile they win the round and gain a blue Diamond.
The first player to collect 3 blue Diamonds wins the game.
How does it scale?
2 Players - Sure you can play Diamonsters 2 player the same way you would with more players but I prefer to play differently. With just 1 opponent you can use deduction to try and figure out what card they are going to play. Pay attention to what card they usually try to win each monster with. For example, when a number 4 is the card up for grabs, you might try to win it with another 4 to already be on your way to scoring three of a kind. Because you both start with the exact same cards, I find there to be very little luck when playing Diamonsters with just 2 players and because the rules are simple, you end up playing your opponent more than the game.
3/4 Players: This is the sweet spot where Diamonsters works best. It's a good medium between the 2 player game and the 5/6 player game. With 3 or 4 players, Diamonsters becomes a little more luck based than with 2 because it's hard to play multiple opponents at once. The mechanics work great with 3 or 4 players and I usually manage to at least get 1 diamond. This is the format where Tiny number 1 was able to have the most success.
5/6 Players - Expect a lot more taking your card back into your hand, which in my opinion is a bit of a bad design. There is a whole pile of cards available that you could draw a fresh one and looking at / using the exact same hand of cards repeatedly gets boring fast. That being said, it makes for a slightly different game play than with other number of players where you are pretty much trying to play the card that no one else does instead of the highest value card. Tiny was pretty useless because everyone usually assumed someone would play a 5 so they never did - or there would be multiple 5's that would cancel each other out and then you would have the lowest value card. This makes the game slightly more challenging than with 3/4 players albeit slightly frustrating. What is missing is the sense of accomplishment, it's disheartening having 0 Diamonds when someone else already wins the game. The beauty of Diamonsters with 5/6 players compared to other 5/6 player games is that because if the simultaneous action selection, it doesn't take any longer until it becomes your turn - which keeps you engaged even in a bigger group. Also, it does not really take any longer with more players. Hypothetically it could if every player got 2 Diamonds, but we never encountered that once, usually there is at least 1 player with 0.