Review – Maskmen
Nacho Libre quotes not included, but highly recommended.
|Designer||Jun Sasaki, Taiki Shinzawa (新澤 大樹)|
|Category||Family Card Game|
Pro wrestling in card game format! Become the manager of pro wrestlers, promote wrestlers, and find out who’s the strongest (and best promoter)!
In Maskmen, each players plays as a pro wrestling promoter. The goal of the game is simple: have the most points after 4 seasons. The goal of the seasons is also simple: be the first (or at least 2nd) player to get rid of all your cards.
Each player will receive a certain number of cards, depending on the number of players. Gameplay is simple: play 1-3 cards of the same type from your hand. In order to play a card, it must be stronger than the current cards out there. Once a wrestler is proven stronger than another wrestler, players create logic trees. For the rest of the current season, the wrestler’s strengths are locked in (if pink is stronger than orange which is stronger than green, then green cannot be stronger than pink). If anyone can’t play, they must throw in the towel and abstain from playing cards until everyone else has thrown in the towel. Once everyone has thrown in the towel, whoever last played a card gets to promote a wrestler.
Card play takes a bit to get the hang of, but it’s simply:
- If you’re promoting because there aren’t any wrestlers currently in play, you can play…
- 1 card if it’s the first time a wrestler is being promoted (he’s not in a strength tree).
- 1-3 cards of a wrestler that’s already been promoted.
- If someone else played before you and you’re needing to beat the current wrestler, you can play…
- The same number of cards of the current wrestler using a wrestler who’s proven to be stronger (if purple is stronger than green, and 2 greens are on the table, you can play 2 purples).
- 1 card more than what’s currently on the table to prove the wrestler you’re playing is stronger than the current wrestler (1 pink is on the table, and someone plays 2 oranges, proving that orange is stronger than pink).
The card play is super fun. There’s usually a couple good options available, and it’s exciting trying to figure which play is the most optimal. It’s also a joy for people who like stats (like me) to watch the logic trees develop. Of course, you’ll want to try and manipulate those logic trees. If you have 5 greens, you’ll want to make sure green ends up near the top and not on the bottom, where everyone can beat it.
The components are phenomenal, from the simple yet vibrant artwork to the compact box. If I was giving a carbon footprint rating, this game would get a 10/10. Everything fits neatly in a small box, making Maskmen an ideal travel game. I do wish the cardstock was of higher quality because we’ve played this game so often. Game sleeves can fix that, but then the cards wouldn’t fit in the cute little box anymore.
Maskmen is a small step up in complexity from games like Presidents and Karma King, but it’s a big step up in strategic value and fun. As a sports fan, I like the idea of promoting wrestlers and trying to finagle strength trees towards my advantage. As a card game fan, I like the idea of being able to pass for strategic advantage and having multiple options when it’s my turn to play. It also plays great at any player count.
The Bottom Line
I recommend Maskmen to anyone looking for a thematic, light, fun card game.