Updated: Aug 30
Designed by Julia Johansson and Albert Pinilla, and published by Julibert Games, We Can Play is an educational card game aimed at raising players' awareness of some of the important women in world and cultural history. It's a game that first caught our eye at last year's Spiel Essen.
We Can Play is essentially a variant of Timeline (Asmodee) where all the 100 or so cards show high-achieving women. On one side of each card, there's an illustration and a short account of the event being celebrated (so anchoring the woman to a specific date). The other side of the card has exactly the same information but it also give a year. Once you've flipped a card to show its year, you have to position other cards relative to each other in a timeline but you only reveal the date when you've positioned a card. You win when you placed out seven cards in a timeline. It's a push-your-luck game because if you keep going and incorrectly position a card, you lose all the cards you've placed! However, there are Anonymous cards that can be played to avoid losing all your cards when you wrongly position a card.
Like Timeline, We Can Play will notionally take up to eight players, tho' we'd normally recommend playing with 2-4 players to keep gameplay brisk and snappy. There are, however, solitaire rules too where you're trying to get as many cards as possible into your timeline, again using Anonymous cards to allow you to forgive yourself some errors. It's not listed as an option in the rules but two or maybe three people could play the game cooperatively too using the solo rules.
As with any quiz or trivia game, We Can Play is easy if you know the answer. All the illustrations (by Albert Pinilla) are stylised so they don't offer so many obvious clues, tho' the event wording often gives a clear indication of time period. You may never have previously heard of New Zealand secret agent Nancy Wake but as the card tells you she parachuted into France to organise resistance against German troops, it seems highly likely that the date will be in the Second World War. The card for Katharine Hepburn refers to her movie The Philadelphia Story, so even if you don't know the film (and if you don't, you should seek it out because it's an all-time classic) you know it's obviously going to come later than Harriet Tubman's escape from slavery. Is it before or after Nancy Wake, tho'? Obviously, female pharoahs are going to come earlier in any timeline than classical composers like Clara Schumann but the game gets tricky with entries from the late 20th and early 21st century. This is a game where you're sure to leave the table knowing more than when you sat down, and we're sure that that's just what Julibert want.
(Review by Chris Clarke)