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Published by Helvetiq in one of their characteristic pocket-size boxes, and distributed in the UK by Coiledspring Games, Bubbly is a short, deceptively simple card game designed by Toby Botta for 2-4 players, and with attractive artwork from Clara San Millán.

Each round, one player takes on the role of a soap bubble and the other players place out a column of three cards from their hand. Each row of cards represents a level. To stay at the same level or to rise to the level above, the bubble player needs to match the colour of the card played to the level they are on. If they do not, they play any card and drop a level. If they drop below the third level, the round ends and they score the number of cards they played. Rounds continue with each other player taking a turn as the soap bubble, and the winner is the player who played the most cards in that role.

On the face of it, this might seem like a children's game of pure luck: if you happen to have a card that matches the card on the level you're on, you'll remain aloft and rack up an increasing score. There is, however, more to it. Other players should notice when the bubble drops a level and should reason from that that the bubble player wasn't able to match the card that was previously played at the level they were on. That should be a cue to play the same card to the bubble's current level to force them down. It's a process then of deduction. Of course, the bubble player might be bluffing: they'll be taking a risk in doing so but they might deliberately choose to drop a level simply to deceive and confuse the other players...

Bubbly is a game that all the family can play, and even with four players it runs only to around 15 minutes. You can expect young children to play their cards out randomly but even pre-schoolers can begin to learn that deductions can be drawn from the bubble player's previous responses...

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