This is a game that made its first appearance at Essen in October. It is a deck building game where players are using their cards to buy more powerful cards to use in duelling their opponents with the aim of reducing their mental resistance from a starting point of 12 to zero.
The game’s designer, Jo Pirard, went to great pains to explain that, despite its Hollywood image, hypnosis wasn’t some sort of magical skill but was a technique to be learned. To develop your skills as a hypnotist in Hypnose, therefore, you need to study books and to be trained by experts.
That said, the design of the cards and the game play have a distinctly 'magical' feel about them. Even the duelling feels more like a contest between spell-casting wizards rather than professional psychologists applying their scientific learning.
No matter, it’s just a game. And it works as a light, hand management deck builder. There are some special effects that come into play any time that a player’s mental resistance falls to a prime number. These can give a boost to the player who has suffered a defeat (whether they were the victim or instigator of an attack) and so they provide a catch up mechanism.
Hypnose plays from 2–4, and in a multi-player game there are rules to prevent players from ganging up against one opponent and all attacking the same player. Nevertheless, this is a game where the object is to knock other players out, so, of necessity, Hypnose involves player elimination. That may be off-putting for some, especially as an eliminated player might sometimes have a long wait for the game to finish.
Game length is the biggest issue with Hypnose. It is an enjoyable filler-length duelling game but there is not enough here to justify a game that can run as long as 90 minutes. The answer is to substantially shorten the mental resistance track: starting everyone much lower than the 12 set out for the ‘full’ game. For best results, try starting each player at 7 or even 5.
If you like duelling deck builders, you'll want to check this one out.