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Thebes Lies

Ibeyis Games have given this card game an Egyptian theme and an Egyptian bazaar setting, along with art by Oksana Vrzhesnevska, but Thebes Lies is essentially a reworking of the card game Cheat that is traditionally played with a deck of ordinary playing cards. In Cheat, players declare the cards they are playing (eg: 'three Jacks') and place their cards face down. The next player either accepts the accuracy of the claim and plays cards claiming to be those that follow in rank (eg; 'two Queens') or they call the previous player a 'cheat' and flip their cards to reveal whether or not they were telling the truth. The player who is in the wrong has to pick up all the cards.

For Thebes Lies, Daniel Fernández has taken the core bluff & challenge element from Cheat and given it a shake up to make it a better game. Thebes Lies is played with just four distinct 'character' cards. The 4-8 players all maintain a hand of five cards. On your turn you declare the character card you are playing and the number of characters; that may or may not exactly correspond to the 1-3 cards you lay down because, of the 18 copies in the deck of each character, five of the cards count double. If I say I am laying down '3 Pharaoh Cleos', I can lay all my cards face down or I can choose to play one or more face up. If the next player accepts my claim, they must follow by laying down or claiming to lay down any number of the same character. If a player disbelieves the previous player's claim, they challenge them and check the claim by flipping face up all the cards they played. If the challenge confirms they were lying, the challenger collects a 'new' amphora card and the player who was bluffing takes a 'broken amphora' card. If the player that was challenged was telling the truth, it is they who get the 'new amphora' and it is the challenger who picks up the broken one. A player wins if they collect three new amphora but the game can also end if any player collects three broken amphora - in which case the win goes to the player with the most new amphora or fewest broken amphora.

There's more too because the deck additionally includes 'action cards'. You can play these cards face down in the guise of character cards as part of your bluff but played face up they cause an action. Yellow square cards, played as your turn, can, for example, switch the direction of play, so force the previous player to play again. Blue triangle cards are played on an opponent's turn; for example, to force them to play their cards face up. Green Circle cards can be played at any time to, for example, override another action card or force you or another player to skip their turn.

The net result is a fun light-hearted game of deceit, bluff and double-bluff. Thebes Lies is a game that can be played by children and adults alike, and with games taking no more than 10-15 minutes, Thebes Lies is never going to outstay its welcome.

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