Tri To Win
Tri To Win sounds like it could be the players' misspelt objective for almost any game but here in Nikita Sullivan's card game it also represents the theme, which is to successfully compete in a sporting triathlon.
The game itself is simple. The 2-6 players each start with a hand of five cards. On your turn, you'll draw a card and play a card. Course cards are played face up to one of the three athletics tracks (swimming, cycling and running) to lengthen that course. Skill cards add to the distance your athlete can move on either the swimming course, cycle or running track, and these are played initially face down in front of you. In addition, there are some Action cards which can, for example, allow a player to remove a Course card or which introduce some 'take that' interaction by stealing a card from another player.
At some point, a player will have picked up one of the 'start the race' cards and will play that. At this point all card play stops. Players reveal the Skill cards they have played and they start the race - moving first along the swimming course, then the cycling and finally the running track. Players' tokens move the total indicated by their character card plus Skill cards for that specific course. The first player to reach the finish is the winner.
Tri To Win is a light filler-length family game that you can expect to complete in around 20 minutes. There's a high luck factor: pick up and play a lot of Skill cards while others are only drawing Course cards and you'll romp home when the race starts. The 'take that' element shouldn't ruin the game for those that dislike games with a lot of sniping because there are plenty of 'Stop that!' Action cards that can be used to negate cards that try to steal from your hand or from your played Skills. Knowing that you have a good number of swimming Skill cards in place, you'll want to stretch out that swimming course while you have fingers crossed that you can draw some running and cycling cards. If you draw a 'start the race' card, then the onus will be on you to weigh up the odds about whether you think you have the strongest batch of Skills in play in comparison with the other players: this becomes a 'push-your-luck' judgement call.
Being the player who starts the race gives you a first-player advantage. With 2-4 players, tokens can't occupy the same spot (you can have two tokens on a spot if you play with 5 or 6 players) so if you go first then there's a good prospect of blocking other players who might otherwise match you for distance. That can prove to be a game-winning advantage.
In our plays at Board's Eye View, one of our team suggested a variant allowing players to play any card face down to their Skill card pile whether it was a Skill card or not. This introduced an element of bluff to the game: that large pile of Skill cards you have could turn out to contain a bunch of duds (deliberately misplayed Course cards that will just be discarded when the Skill cards have to be revealed for the race). We particularly enjoyed the tension this added when playing with this 'house rule'.
Tri To Win is published by Atikin Games and it's currently available as an inexpensive add-on in Atikin's Kickstarter campaign for Mini Memory Mischief. Click here to access it.
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