Published by Happy Baobob, TonTon is a pocket-sized trick-taking card game with some unusual scoring mechanics that can mean it can often be to your tactical advantage to forfeit tricks.

TonTon is designed by Tori Hasegawa, with art by Ian Parovel. It's a reimplementation of Obora Ninja Star Trick (MOGwai), tho' that was just a three-player game. This redesigned edition comes in a small magnetic flap box just 4cm wide, 4cm deep and 15cm long. Inside are 40 slim 3cm-wide cards numbered 1 to 8 in five coloured suits. The game take 3–5 players and you use a suit per player - so you leave out a suit if you play with four and you take out two suits for a three-player game. The cards are shuffled and dealt out so that players each have hands of eight cards. The player with the red 8 leads the first trick (not necessarily with the red 8) and players must match suit if they can. When you can't match the suit, you can play any card. Unusually, the trick is won by the highest card played (played last in the event of a tie) regardless of suit. Tricks are laid in front of the player, sorted into suits with the lowest card on top. Cards won in subsequent tricks go on top of those already in your tableau.

Each round there will be a 'mission card' setting out a target for the total value of your topmost cards in each suit. Maximum points are awarded to the player(s) who precisely hit or came closest to that target without breaking through it. To shake things up, in some rounds the 'mission card' rewards the lowest total that doesn't fall below the target number.

After the first trick, the lead is taken by the player who won the previous trick - except that any time you play a 4, you take the lead on the next trick. There's also a bonus point to be won (in addition to the mission card reward) for each 6 you end up with. Oh, and you get to hold back one card each round (you only play seven tricks).

This all makes for an easy to play but surprisingly tricksy trick-taker. You always have an eye to what will end up being the top cards in front of you, and you may try to finesse an unwanted trick on an opponent in order to bust their totals. TonTon plays quickly (our games at Board's Eye View each took about 15 minutes) tho' it can be addictively more-ish. And its size makes TonTon an excellent travel game!

#TonTon #HappyBaobob #cardgame #tricktaking #OboraNinjaStarTrick

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