I didn’t really like Triplica, but it’s not really a game for me. Similar to how I felt about FITs, I could tell it was a good game, but I couldn’t love it. Games like these fall under the jurisdiction of “No dragons, no lasers, no fun,” which is a terrible rule to live by. It’s a curse, I swear.
At first, my problem with Triplica was its complete lack of theme. It is one hundred percent pure game. Card games don’t need a good theme to carry their mechanics, so I have to judge Triplica purely on how it plays. But during my first playthrough, I couldn’t find the game in Triplica.
There are two decks of cards in Triplica, the play cards and goal cards. A row of play cards are laid out between the decks, and each player takes a goal. The goal will show one symbol (an oval, square, and other abstract shapes), and the play cards will show three. I would have liked if the art was more vibrant, but I think budding game designers could use the generic shapes in their own homebrew rules. The designers clearly saw this, as there are multiple game types included in the rule book. The basic game involves using the play cards to make a match of three cards that correlate with your goal card.
Every card I played in my first game seemed like the only card I could play. It always seemed like an obvious win card/lose card choice, and I hate games like that. I started to rant about how Triplica was a glorified LCR (which is a game with zero theme or gameplay, ugh). The other players told me I was dumb. I also lost, so there could have been more strategy than I suspected.
We began round two, and I started to see where the strategy was in this game. I noticed a mild deduction element. I had to be much more careful of which card I played because I didn’t want anyone to figure out what my goal was. I didn’t want to help someone else complete their goal either. There is still a lot of luck involved when it comes to drawing cards, but having three cards in your hand help to drive the luck down.
So Triplica, like many games of its ilk, is not for everyone. It is not, however, a bad game. If you don’t play many games outside of Advanced Squad Leader, Triplica isn’t going to convert you to some wider world of casual card games. It’s a game for mothers, and kids, and grade schoolers who don’t care about things that serious gamers do, and normal gamers with no laser/dragon prejudices will find plenty to enjoy as well.
This review is based on a preview copy of the game.