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Master of Rules

Designed by Susumu Kawasaki and published by Kawasaki Factory, Hobby Japan, Smiling Monster Games and Z-Man Games, Master of Rules is an unusual card game where players have a hand of number and rule cards, and they are trying to manipulate cards so that the number cards meet the requirements of their particular rules.

In Master of Rules, 5 is the magic number because there are five different types of rule card, five suits of 1-9 number cards and a strongly preferred player count of five: there are special rules enabling play with three or four players but this is a game that's very clearly designed for and at its best with a full complement of five players.

There's a display of number and rule cards equal to the number of players, and players also have a hand of three rule and four number cards. On your turn you play either a rule or a number card and swap it with a card in the display of the same type. You're trying to meet the requirements of the rule cards, so, for example, you meet the Trio rule if there are three cards displayed in the same suit or of the same number.

Master of Rules is a tricksy hand management game and tho' there are few rules, those in our translation from the Japanese weren't as crystal clear as we'd have liked. From our plays at Board's Eye View, the luck factor has seemed quite high but it could make for an entertaining filler-length card game as an accompaniment to other rather longer five-handers like Hansa Teutonica (Argentum Verlag), Princes of Florence (Korea Boardgames), Quartermaster General 1914 (Griggling Games/Ares Games) or Battlestar Galactica (FFG).

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