FTW Staff Picks - Raise Your Goblets
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.
Raise Your Goblets
Genre: Party & Deduction
Designer: Tim Page
Player Size: 2-12 Players
Game Length: 20 minutes
For fans of: Mascarade, Sheriff of Nottingham, Bang!
Every now and then you'll find a game where its ambitious components attempt to compensate for a rather shallow experience. Raise Your Goblets is not one of those games. Sure you could replace the fancy goblets and plastic tokens with different types of cards and still achieve a similar result. But the physical process of playing the game is very much a part of its allure. Lately there's been an uptick in popularity among Werewolf and its distant relatives, to the point of online-versions of these games. But it's impossible to mimc the physical experience of these games through screens. Raise Your Goblets is a case of enhancing a game through its well thought-out theme.
Players begin the game with a goblet in front of them, with a random token placed inside: antidote, poison or wine. Each player has a target that they are attempting to assassinate. Players can perform actions such as placing a token in any goblet, swapping goblets, rotating goblets or peeking inside. When a player runs out of wine tokens, they may call for a toast. Each player will then receive a final action before the contents of each goblet are revealed. If the number of poison inside a player's goblet outnumbers the number of antidote, that player is killed for the round. One point is earned for successfully assassinating your target, another for surviving the round, and a bonus point if you manage both, and a final point to the player with the most wine in their goblet. After three rounds, the player with the most points is declared the victor.
In a lot of ways Raise Your Goblet draws a lot of similarities to the recent Mascarade. It's a game where even if you try to keep track, it's easy to get lost in the shuffle. I think the ability to perform two actions instead of just one actually makes Raise Your Goblet a tad more enticing to play. There's been a few times in Mascarade where the game has felt a little too predictable and slow. In Raise Your Goblet, the action is always fast and even if you think you know, there's always an air of uncertainty. Despite the higher price point, I think Raise Your Goblet is more than worth the extra cost compared to Mascarade. It's essentially the game that I thought Mascarade was going to be.
The game supports a ridiculous range of players, from as small as 2 to as large as 12. Exceeding 6 players forces you to play a specific variant. Instead of playing solo, the player's pair up into Nobels and their Winetasters. It's got a layer of betrayal, but it kind of feels like a lesser experience compared to the standard game. I'll give them credit for coming up with a way to keep the flow and pace of the game, instead of bogging it down with 12 goblets. But I'd say the optimal play falls somewhere around 5-6 players. With 21 different characters, there's a solid level of variance in each play. I can easily see this game getting a lot of mileage in the cafe. If you're not yet convinced, come by and try it out!