FTW Staff Picks - Pyramid Poker

For The Win Board Game Cafe's Staff Picks is a weekly series where we take a quick look at some of the staff's favourite games, old and new. 

Pyramid Poker

Genre: Tile Drafting

Designer: Aaron Weissblum, Norman Woods

Player Size: 2 Players

Game Length: 15 minutes

For fans of: Battle Line, Poker

Pyramid Poker takes a familiar card game and revamps it for a more tabletop savvy experience. It may not have the same level of intensity and gamesmanship, but Pyramid Poker works really well as a warmup 2-player game. It's got a few similarities to another popular head-to-head game, Battle Line. Creating stronger poker hands is the goal of both games, but Pyramid Poker removes the area control aspect of Battle Line

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In Pyramid Poker, players must put together 3 separate competing poker hands. In the first phase of the game, both players will construct the Pyramid. Each player receives 15 random facedown tiles. One by one, they will look and place a tile in the Pyramid. The tiles represent different combinations in a deck of cards. When placing the tiles, they will face towards the player who places them. After the all tiles have been placed, the second phase of the game begins - tile drafting. Both players take turns selecting an available tiles in the Pyramid, as long as it does not support any tiles above it. As the players draft tiles they must immediately assign them to 1 of their 3 hands, face-up. Once both players have 5 tiles in each hand, scoring begins. The player who wins at least 2 of the 3 hands is declared the winner of the game.

Similar to Battle Line, drafting your poker hands will require some sacrifice. You may have the chance to carefully pick out a dominant hand, but you can only afford to lose one hand. On top of this, you have half of the pyramid facing away from you. Players will be required to take a few leaps of faith in order to find strong tiles, while hopefully blocking their opponent in the process. This is where Pyramid Poker takes "poker faces" and implements them into the game.

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To be completely honest, I thought Pyramid Poker would be a rather bland and uninteresting play. And yet after having sat through a few games, it has some charming appeal to it. I don't feel entirely engaged with the game, which allows me to maintain conversation with whoever I'm playing with. Often, games will take up your entire focus and its easy to forget that you're sitting at a table with actual people. Pyramid Poker has become one of my top recommendations for any couple who is looking to chat, while they enjoy their game as more of a backdrop. So anyone looking for a great date game, look no further than Pyramid Poker.  

Earl OliverosComment