Review: Tschak!

Posted by James (admin) on November 2nd, 2011

Tschak! is a small card game where players are trying to gain treasure and avoid monsters but the gameplay offers something rather clever.

The 40 cards consist of wizards, warriors and dwarves with different values on them.  Each player is dealt 3 of each, plus one artefact card making a hand of 10 cards.  Players will assault 4 towers (one per round) and the player with most victory points (VPs) at the end wins.

Each tower has 3 levels played in order and each level has a random treasure and monster placed on it.  For each level, players play a total of 3 cards and the player with the highest combined value of cards gets the treasure (VPs) and the player with the lowest gets the monster (negative VPs).   A couple of the cards have special abilities: one wizard’s value is only the same as the most powerful wizard played by another player, and the artefact card doubles your weakest card.

Each level is played slightly differently.  On level 1, players simultaneously play 1 card at a time from their hands three times to make their total.  On level 2, players simultaneously play 2 cards and then 1 card.  On level 3, players play all 3 cards simultaneously.  This leaves each player with 1 card and these earn their owners 3, 2 and 1 gold based on the highest card values (gold being worth 1 VP each too).

Some treasures are cursed (so worth negative VPs) and some have other effects like cancelling 1 monster’s negative VPs, etc.  Plus, at game end, some treasures and monsters earn (or lose) even more points if a player has multiples.

On its own this already seemed like it would be a fun game.  However, there is an extra twist which I think is very clever.  After each round, the cards do not get collected, shuffled and re-dealt; instead, players simply pass their hand of used cards to the next player clockwise.  This means that during the game players will use the same hands as each other.  This happens no matter how many players are playing as there are always 4 hands of cards dealt.  So, with fewer than 4 players, 1 or 2 hands sit out each round.

Overall, Tschak! is a fun filler which offers a clever and simple card-game mechanic.  I really like the principle that all players will take turns playing with the same sets of cards but these will be different each game too.

Whilst players play with the same hands each round, the rounds play out differently as players make different decisions on what cards to play together (which is influenced by the fact that the treasures/monsters that can be earned are different each time randomly selected each level).

I found it very interesting deciding which cards to use to try and win (or intentionally lose) levels, and this decision-making process is also affected when you see what other cards players have laid down during levels 1 and 2 when you have a chance to react to what they played.

The game plays quickly and there’s no downtime as players are always involved.  As the game is published by Gameworks it is no surprise (and very pleasing) that the artwork is lovely and the box has moulded compartments for the different components.  The designer of Tschak! also designed Condotierre, Lascaux and Water Lily so I was pleased to see Tschak! lived up to those standards.

Tschak! is an excellent, fun filler with plenty of those groaningly entertaining moments when you see another player played the card you hoped/thought/bet they wouldn’t.


[Played with 3 players]

2 Responses to “Review: Tschak!”

  1. Mistergom Says:

    Hi, nice review! Thanks!
    One detail : Jaipur is designed by Sebastien Pauchon…)

  2. James (admin) Says:

    Good point. Thanks for pointing that out. I have updated the post accordingly. Thanks.

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