Review – Trio

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Designer Kaya Miyano

Artist Laura Michaud

Publisher Happy Camper Games

Category Party Game, Card Game

Length 15 minutes

Release Date 2023

Player Count 3-6

Price $14.99

Does “Gamer Go Fish” sound appealing to you? Yeah, me neither, but here we are! Trio is an extremely simple game of trying to create, well, trios. You can reveal cards from players’ hands, or from the middle of the table, but if you mess up, you have to remember where everything was. Is it more fun than it sounds? Let’s take a look!

First off, the game’s “theme” is obviously irrelevant, but I don’t think that’s a knock against the game. I vastly prefer a coat of paint over nothing, and I enjoy the colors and the “fiesta” vibe provided by the artwork. It’s also just a very beautiful set of cards, with nice foiling on the 7s, reminding you of their importance (you “auto-win” if you get a trio of 7s, instead of the normal three trios). It’s also very aggressively priced at $14.99, but the components are far better than most “budget titles” you see around that price.

So, now let’s talk about the design. First off, I have to say how much respect I have for designers of “small” games. I feel like almost any gamer could make a mediocre Eurogame by just using all the standard worker/dice placement concepts and rondel minigames, but making a slim design is dangerous. It is so easy to end up with no game at all, or at least not one that people much enjoy. Yet when things click just right, magic appears that you can’t find anywhere else. Great examples would be The Crew, Can’t Stop or The Mind, and I would compare Trio most to that last one. It’s a 15 minute game, and it’s so simple that it shouldn’t work. And I can’t really tell you why it does work, but it does.

There’s one key rule that probably makes everything tick, which is that you can only force a player to show their highest or lowest card, and that includes yourself. So even if you know where the third card in a trio is – right there in the middle of your hand – you can’t necessarily get it to the table. Memory is a big element, and it’s certainly funny when somebody forgets something already revealed, but there’s a deduction element too, just light enough to avoid players wanting pencil and paper like they’d use in Clue. 

It fits right in that category of “partegy” games: ostensibly you’re playing a card game with some strategy, but it’s also funny, and even when people aren’t outright laughing, you have those “aha” or “how dare you” moments that generate a sense of excitement around the table. I’ve never sat down and played this only once; everyone has enjoye dit and shared that “potato chip” feeling. Students have even come back and asked to borrow it from me so that they can play it on their own. This is not a game that’s going to crack my top 10 games of all time anytime soon, but it will stay in my collection, likely forever, when a lot of bigger games won’t, for a variety of reasons. It’s fast, it’s easy, it’s portable, it’s silly and it’s fun. I’m not sure what else you’d want from a game like this! And at this price point, I think it’s an easy recommendation for a blind buy. It’s great for families, for casual friend groups, for pretty much every group except your Hardcore Eurogamer Game Night friends who don’t believe in smiles or jokes. But I wouldn’t blame you for trying anyway!  

The Bottom Line

Way more fun than it has any right to be.

 

8.5

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Author: Derek Thompson


I’ve been a board game reviewer on Geeks Under Grace since 2011. I love card-driven games and party games. I have a Ph.D. in Mathematics and teach the subject at Taylor University in Upland, IN. My wife and kids are my favorite gaming partners.