Let’s talk a minute about value. Board and card games are available at all price points. We enjoy finding inexpensive games at thrift and feature them in our Thrift Treasure series. Even bad games are usually worth spending a buck or two on! I’ve also been known to go overboard, as exhibited by dropping over £330 for one game on Kickstarter. It may seem like a lot of money, but it is still a good value when figuring how many hours of entertainment it’ll bring.
We recently encountered an inexpensive card game, The Lady and the Tiger by Jellybean Games, that gives new definition to value. Instead of one card game in the small box, they have included full rules for five different games using the same components! Each of the five games were designed by different people, meaning they all feature a unique experience. Inside the box you’ll find 12 Clue cards, 4 Door cards, 2 Wild Clue cards, 25 glass gems in five colors and 15 Reference cards. All of the cards in the game have two traits – they either feature a Lady or a Tiger and are colored with a Red or Blue tint. Let’s look at what you can expect from each of these games.
The Lady and the Tiger: Doors
The first game is designed for two players and is a deduction game where you are trying to determine your opponent’s identity. Doors takes place over a series of rounds (contests), which end as soon as either player earns gems. Each person is dealt a Door card, which becomes their identity for the round and is kept secret from the other player.
One person plays as a “collector” while the other takes on the role of “guesser”. Four cards are dealt out from the deck of Clue cards and the round begins with the Collector taking one of available cards and placing it face-up in front of them. A new card is drawn to replace the selected one.
The Guesser then also selects one of the cards and discards it (another is drawn to replace it). This continues until either the Collector elects to reveal their identity and showing that a set of four cards they collected match one of their traits (6 points) or the Guesser decides to end the contest on their turn.
When the Guesser ends the contest, they may opt how they do so. They may predict the Collector’s color or their role to earn one point. Or they may guess both items for five points. Lastly, they may see a set of four cards in the Collector’s collection, and if it matches the Guesser’s identity, claim it for two points. If they are incorrect in identifying the Collector, the Collector earns four gems. If the deck were to run out before either player scores, the Guesser earns three gems!
The cards are reshuffled and dealt out in the same manner for a new round. The first player to amass 10 or more gems wins The Lady and the Tiger: Doors!
The Lady and the Tiger: Favor
Favor supports 2-4 players and you’ll need some way of keeping score. Players are again dealt one of the Door cards as their hidden identity and takes 5 gems of any color. This time the gems are used as currency, not points. The deck of 14 Clue cards (including the wild cards) are shuffled and set in the center of the play area. The top card is revealed and set next to the deck.
The starting player then has a decision to make – either reveal another card and add it to the lot or call for an auction on the existing cards. If they add to the lot, they will turn over the next card in the deck and end their turn. The next player in clockwise order then makes the same decision.
When calling for an auction, all players will bid on the revealed cards in an attempt to add them to their collection. Starting with the next player in order, players bid or pass, and can increase bids by any amount. All players only get to bid once, with the active player getting the chance to make the final bid. The winner will pay gems to the active player to take the card. If the active player was the one who won the bid, their gems will be split among the other players equally, with any leftovers returned to the box. If nobody bids at all, the cards are discarded and play continues with the next person in order.
When the last card from the deck is revealed, an open auction is held where everyone gets one chance to bid. After that final auction, the round ends and players reveal their identities and compute their score. For each card you won that matches either your color or type, earn a point. If both match, earn three points. If neither are the same, you’ll lose two points. Wild cards are used to change one aspect of a card and can be combined with the other wild card to completely change a card to its opposite!
A second and third round are then played in almost the exact same manner. When beginning the round, flip 2 or 3 (for round 2 or 3) cards to start off instead of one. At the end of the third day (round), the player with the highest overall score is the winner of The Lady and the Tiger: Favor!
The Lady and the Tiger: Hoard
This particular game is for one player only and is a puzzle challenge. The four Door cards are placed in a square with the Lady cards on top and the Tigers on the bottom. Red cards on the left and blue on the right. Three yellow gems are placed above the square and are used as round markers. The remaining gems are mixed and five are randomly placed on each Door card. The Clue cards are again shuffled together to form a draw deck.
Blue and red gems represent treasures, while the white and black are trash. Treasure can only be collected from a card of the same color and from cards that don’t have any trash on them. On each turn you will reveal a Clue card and perform an action corresponding to the card you drew.
You can choose to move any one treasure or trash gem between role cards matching the Clue card you drew. You can never move gems up and down between roles. Instead of moving a gem, you can elect to remove trash on the Door card that matches what you drew, but only in pairs of one white and one black. Any leftover trash remains on the card. You could also decide to collect one treasure gem from a Door card if the treasure color matches the door it is on and there is no trash at all on that door.
In this version, the wild card is bad. When drawn, you must take one white and one black trash gems and return them to doors, one on each red or each blue, your choice. After you use the last card from the deck, place it face-up underneath one of the round markers. Shuffle the remaining cards and begin another round. The game ends when you collect all ten treasures (you win!) or when the third round ends (you lose). Additional options allow for a harder game by removing Clue cards at the start for when you’ve mastered the basic version!
The Lady and the Tiger: Labyrinth
This one is labeled as a maze game for two players. The two wild cards are set to the side to act as “switch” cards with a gem on each one. The four door cards are laid into a 4×4 grid, with each at the corners. The rest of the grid is filled with Clue cards randomly dealt out. Five blue and five red gems which represent your lost tiger cubs are placed on the two Lady cards. The object is to rescue all of your cubs while navigating a shifting labyrinth!
On a player’s turn they will first move any tiger cub to an adjacent card, as long as that card matches the player’s color. Then they will move the labyrinth by choosing either of the two Switch cards. If you choose the red/blue switch card, switch two clue cards of the color the gem is currently on. Same if you choose the Lady/Tiger card, switch any two role cards matching the role the gem is on.
The two cards switched must be either in the same row or column and at least one of the cards must have a tiger cub on it of either color. Tiger cubs move with the card! Once you complete the switch, move the corresponding gem on the Switch card to the opposite color or role. If you switched two identical cards (both role and color matched), move the gem on both Switch cards! Additionally, if you cannot make a legal switch, move both gems also.
Your goal is to maneuver all five of your own tiger cubs to the Door card on the opposite corner of the field matching your player color. The first person to do so wins The Lady and the Tiger: Labyrinth!
The Lady and the Tiger: Traps
The last game version in the box is designed for 2-6 players and is advertised as a bluffing game. From the deck of 14 Clue cards, two are randomly removed and the rest dealt out to all the players equally. All players begin the game with one gem of any color and the four Door cards are shuffled together to form the deck.
At the beginning of each round, three gems are taken from the supply and used to start the pot. The top Door card is revealed and players simultaneously choose a card from their hand and play it face-down in front of them. This is the start of their personal stack.
Beginning with the starting player and moving clockwise, each person chooses whether or not to play an additional card to their stack or to place a bid. As long as no one bids, each player continues to add cards to their stack in turn order. Once a player places a bid, no more building may occur. Everyone else must either bid or pass.
What are you bidding on? You’re trying to predict how many of the cards in players’ stacks match traits on the current Door card. A card may match 0, 1 or 2 traits. Your bid, up to 13, is the total number you think match. Bids may be increased until there is only one player who hasn’t passed – they are the one who must now reveal the cards and see how accurate their bid was.
Whenever you reveal a Trap, a card that doesn’t match either trait, an opponent takes a gem from the pot. If it was an opponent’s card that was the trap, that person gets the gem. If it was your card that didn’t match, you choose which opponent will earn the prize.
You are trying to show at least as many trait matches as your bid. You reveal the cards one at a time from the top of any stack. You can stop at any time, paying a one gem penalty to any other opponent if you are afraid you’ll hit traps. If you hit or exceed your bid, take all the gems from the pot and end the round. If you run out of cards to reveal or the pot becomes empty, the round ends by default.
Another round is begun in the same manner with three gems from the supply put into the pot. Everyone picks up their stack and any revealed cards and continues to play with the exact same cards for all four rounds. The first player to collect five gems immediately wins Traps! If you make it through four rounds without a winner, reset the game entirely, dealing out new Door and Clue cards and keep playing!
You can clearly see why we said The Lady and the Tiger might set a new bar for value in a game box. Pick up a copy for yourself on Amazon or ask for it at your favorite local game store. See what other value-packed games Jellybean has to offer on their website and be sure to follow them on social media (Facebook, Twitter) for up-to-the-minute updates!
What game do you own that you have gotten the most value out of?