If you're looking for an intuitively easy to play party game that even non-gamers can immediately understand and enjoy then Keepers, from Van Ryder Games, could be just what you are looking for. Each of the 3-8 players has a hand of seven cards and, each round, one player (termed 'the curator') declares a descriptive word (not a noun!). They and all the other players then offer a card from their hand (face down) that aligns well or poorly with that word. The curator shuffles the cards and lays them out in the numbered spaces on the game's neoprene mat. Players then all use their dials to vote either for the card that best aligns with the word or the card that aligns least well - tho' you can't vote for your own card. The card(s) that get the most votes win and are taken by the players that laid them. The game ends when everyone has had a turn as curator.
Tho' A J Porfirio's game design differs in its voting mechanics from Dixit (Libellud), there are obvious similarities, and certainly if you like Dixit then you're almost certainly going to enjoy Keepers. The big USP for Keepers tho' is the natural world photography of Byron Jorjorian. All the cards in Keepers feature Byron Jorjorian's stunning photos. Win or lose at Keepers, you are certain to enjoy the view!
There are special rules to facilitate play at the lower player counts but Keepers is at its best with five or more players. The fact that you can vote and try to win for the best mismatch instead of the picture that's most closely aligned with the curator's word adds a subtlety to play that gamers will be quick to spot and try to exploit, but, almost by way of a dare, the rules invite players to try to 'break' the game with their cheats. In our Board's Eye View plays, we tried but found we were unable to manipulate the choice of adjective and/or voting to give any one player an unfair advantage
Keepers is a well produced package: not only are the photo cards of high quality but the happily pre-assembled voting dials and neoprene mat give the game a luxury look and feel, so it could be a great choice as a seasonal gift - even for a friend or relative to whom you might not otherwise think of gifting a board game. It plays quickly, as any good party game should, so that even with a full complement of eight players you can complete a game, with everyone getting a turn as curator, in no more than 30 minutes. This one's definitely a Keeper!
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