You’ve been invited to a masquerade put on by the Beast. The room is filled with classic characters from the Grimm Fairy Tales but everyone’s identity has been obscured. The Grimm Masquerade is played over the course of 3 rounds as you bluff and use your deduction skills to out the other guests at the party.
As we’ve played The Grimm Masquerade over the past few months, I’ve noticed something peculiar about people’s reactions to the game. Usually deduction games are hit or miss with people. There are many people in my life that have strong feelings about deduction games. We’ve introduced this game to around 20 different people and the common response is “let’s play it again”.
Welcome to the Ball
Up to 5 players are given a single character card that they need to keep secret from the rest of the table. What I love about The Grimm Masquerade is that keeping your character identity isn’t based on lying to your opponents, but how you keep your cool when you receive artifacts during the game.
Each character has a “bane” and “boon” artifact tied to their identity. For example, Red Riding Hood is trying to collect baskets of treats, her boon artifact, and trying to stay away from masks, her bane artifact. During your turn you’ll draw 2 artifacts, giving 1 away to another player and keeping 1 for yourself. The artifacts that you keep or give away reveal a lot of information for players that are paying attention.
The questions start to spin in your head. “Why did they give away that mirror?” “That person must be keeping that glass slipper because they are Cinderella”. The most cunning players will be able to keep the other players guessing in each and every round.
The goal of The Grimm Masquerade is to collect the most roses during the 3 rounds. Players are awarded roses for outing another player at the ball, Pointing the Finger and accurately guessing another players identity or by collecting a total of 3 of your boon artifacts during a round. Passing another player their second bane artifact and knocking them out of a round is so satisfying.
Even when a player is out of the round, they still have a place at the table. In the role of a ghost, the player can now pass an artifact from their hidden hand to another guest at the ball. This keeps the eliminated player involved in the game and gives them a chance to continue earning roses.
Be careful when handing another player a matching artifact. While it seems like a great idea to get information on the players’ identity, this also gives them the cards they need to play special actions on their turn. You can turn in any 2 matching artifact cards to perform a special action at the end of your turn. This could be the opportunity to Point the Finger (guessing another players identity) or do any of the other variable actions that are available. Some give information about the identities that are not in play and others allow you to give more artifacts to other players.
The round ends when a single player has collected 3 boon artifacts listed on their character card or only one player at the ball has not been identified. After 3 rounds, the player with the most roses wins the game.
Because of the number of points that are awarded at the end of a round, players rarely feel like they cannot win. The player who wins round 1 is awarded a single rose while the player who wins round 3 is awarded 5 roses. This keeps the game competative and we’ve even had player with 0 roses do so well in the final round that they won the game. This works so well to keep everyone engaged and playing their best.
Unmasking an Excellent Game
The Grimm Masquerade is an easy game to recommend for gamers and non-gamers alike for a couple reasons. First is the cast of characters in the game. The 8 characters in the game are all easily recognizable for just about every generation. You have Cinderella, the Big Bad Wolf, the Evil Queen, Snow White, Rumpelstiltskin and more. I really love the visual treatment for each of these characters provided by the art duo Mr. Cuddington. It was so good to see how the team brought diversity to this cast of really well known characters.
Second is the depth of gameplay that is in this box. The Grimm Masquerade does an excellent job of giving you the basics to play the game then adding layers for deeper strategy and more depth. I really enjoy playing with wager cards which can be added to the game. These allow players to be awarded additional roses when they correctly pick the character identity that wins the round. It feels almost like little modules that can be added to the game based on the group that you’re playing with.
Finally, The Grimm Masquerade feels like an instant classic. I believe this game will stay at the top of our game collection because it’s accessible to people that are both veteran gamers and people who are just getting into the hobby. This is the reason why the people ask to play the game a second time. As players get better at reading their opponents, everyone has to evaluate the best way to stay hidden. The game works really well playing with a group of both kids and adults. The basic rule set is one that my kids could easily teach their teenage friends without it becoming overwhelming.
The Grimm Masquerade is one of the most impressive deduction games we own. Other than wishing the game supported a higher player count, I can’t find a reason not to suggest this game to anyone reading this review.
If you get an invite to The Grimm Masquerade, don’t pass it up. Clear your schedule and grab a mask. This is one party that you don’t want to skip.
You can purchase The Grimm Masquerade at your local game store or through Amazon today.
- Fantastic artwork and theme that works really well together
- Recognizable characters that will appeal to multiple generations
- Lots of depth to keep players coming back to the game
- You rarely feel like you cannot win the game
- Some rounds can end quickly taking away some of the fun