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SeQuel

What will win this hand? Will it be the highest numbered card? The lowest? Will the card’s name determine the winner? Or the year written on it? Be careful though, because another player might just change it halfway through the hand!

Currently on Kickstarter, SeQuel is a trick-taking game played with fictional currency rather than cards. So how does it play?

Gameplay

SeQuel is played with a deck of fictional currency titled Quantum Marks, or Q’s. Q's have four important features: a year, a number (1 through 118), a number of dots (zero to eight), and a letter (A to Z). Most Q’s also have a special ability.

Each player starts the game with 5 Q in their hands. At the beginning of each round, the lead player calls the play. The play determines which of the four features on the cards (year, number, dots, or letter) will determine the winner of the hand and whether or not the highest card or the lowest card will win. The lead player then takes their turn, and play continues until everyone has gone.

On your turn, you begin by drawing one card. You may then play as many Q cards as you wish for their special ability, but only one card for its value. Also on your turn, if you can create a sequence of three or more cards with consecutive numbers written on them, from your hand with any other player’s value card (as opposed to a card they played for its special ability that round), then this is an interception sequence and you get to call a new play (but not change whether the highest or lowest card will win). Also, all cards in the sequence immediately go into your score pile. However you must give one card with the coin ability to the other player to act as their new value card (the coin ability also activates).

Special abilities include the coin, which flips whether high or low wins the hand (all players, even ones who have already gone, get another chance to play a card when a coin ability is used); the magnet, which prevents further coins from being played (unless another magnet is played); salt, which forces a player to skip their turn; fireworks, which means only value cards that do not have a special ability marked on them can win the hand that round; nukes, which allow you to choose a new play; and the trojan which can protect your value card from interception or allow you to use cards in your score pile to create interceptions.

The player whose value card wins the hand based on the play determined for that round, takes all cards played that round and places them into their score pile, then a new round begins with players drawing back up to five cards. The game ends once the draw pile runs out.

Players check the cards in their score pile, and the winning player is the one who has the longest sequence of consecutively numbered cards.

Review

SeQuel is an enjoyable card game, with a nice blend of simple, fast turns and strategic choices. The ability cards have plenty of take-that elements to them, and the changing requirements from one hand to another as to which cards will win the round keeps things interesting.

The win condition is also an interesting and unusual one, and it means there are different rounds that are going to be more important to you based on the cards you’ve already won. There are also score sheets to mark off which cards you’ve already won, which allows you to actively track your current sequences, and in turn makes the end game go quicker as well as allowing you to make more informed decisions during the game. Do you want to use lots of card abilities to go all in this round? Or save them for later when there’s a round that’s likely to grow a sequence that’s already in your score pile?

SeQuel does have a surprisingly in-depth theme for a card game and a clever story to explain the currency, the importance of creating sequences with it, and the motivations for why players are attempting to do so. It’s impressive that its designers have put so much thought towards a story, and some players are going to enjoy that extra touch, but the game can also be easily enjoyed without it, so it’s really up to personal preference.

The components are unique. Having the game played with fictional currency rather than standard cards is a neat idea and sets the game apart without making components that are difficult to shuffle or handle. We were also sent one Q printed on the actual card stock to be used in the final product. It’s extremely sturdy and even holds up well to water, making it a game that’s portable and good for taking to restaurants or parties without having to worry about spilling things on it.

In the prototype we were sent, the rulebook was quite difficult to understand. We’ve been told that it will be re-written prior to release, however, so this will hopefully not be an issue with the final product. The publisher also changed some rules during the process to streamline the gameplay, and make it easier to learn and teach. 

SeQuel is a unique card game with some fun elements that set it apart from other trick-takers. If you enjoy games with some take-that spice, check it out on Kickstarter.

Pros: Unique components and theme, portable, strategic choices, interesting win condition,

Cons: Rulebook for the prototype was difficult to understand

Disclosure: this preview is based on our evaluation of an unpublished prototype of the game, which is subject to change prior to publication. While a modest payment was received to expedite the review process, our thoughts and opinions expressed here are honest and accurate.