28/07/2021

Macaron: A trick-taking game that makes you starving // SPIEL.Digital ’20 [Preview]

My blog has reviewed some notable trick-taking games back then, and now we have Macaron for SPIEL.Digital ’20. Ta-Te Wu, the designer, was kind enough to send one preview copy. Sadly, it has not yet arrived when this event started. Well, nevertheless, I could still try and enjoy it pretty well from Tabletopia. This article will share my first impression of Macaron.

Disclaimer: I am an avid euro gamer and a hardcore Legend of the Five Rings LCG player. I am not a fan of solo game/variant. This statement will give you an overview of what kind of bias I might have while writing.

Disclaimer: I tried the digitalised version of this game via Tabletopia. As far as I know, this is not the final version of the game, too. The designer has not yet released the actual and final physical copy of the game. There may be some last-minute changes both in the components and in the gameplay.

What is Macaron?

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The picture of preview copies from Ta-Te Wu. Cannot wait to get mine.

A macaron is a meringue-based confection that initially made by an Italian chef in France (what a history). Taking this name to be the title of his game, Ta-Te has a crystal clear concept in mind for the theme. This Macaron is a trick-taking card game for 1-5 players. I tried the game with four-player count on Day 2 SPIEL.Digital ’20. Players become the French pâtissiers who got busy during King Louis’ birthday. They wanted to present the best macaron gift for the celebration.

An overview of the rule

Players play Macaron in rounds. One round ends when players have played 13 tricks or one player has prepared eight gift boxes. Whenever a player wins tricks, he/she becomes the next leader and gets one gift box. 

The cards depict groups of flavour varieties. The round begins with players voting for a group of royal flavour, and one flavour that becomes the allergen. The royal ones will be the trump this time. 

When the leader plays a trick, other players have to play a card that has the same suit. If not, that player may play any card from the different flavour. The trump wins the trick, as always. 

When players win the trick, they usually get one gift box. If somehow they win with a number 1 card, then they get three boxes! If an allergen comes out, the winning player does not gain any!

The number of gift boxes prepared in that round decides how many points the players gain. Starting from the second round, players have to bid how many gifts they can prepare for the celebration. If they guess it right, they will get additional two points; if the prediction is wrong, then deduct one point from those they gather this round.

The game ends when one player has reached the Victory Point threshold of the end-game trigger. Whoever gets the most points wins the game.

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A quick look on the board before we play the game.

The illustration and artwork in Macaron

I always judge a board game by its cover, sorry. Macaron has fortunately stunning artworks. The illustration is cute and may be attractive for the most younger audiences as well. The colour looks vibrant on-screen, I hope it stays that way for the physical copy, too. The iconography is clear, and it fits perfectly with the artwork.

Game flow and replay value

I can say that Macaron is a fast-paced, trick-taking game. It is easy to play and pretty simple to be a gateway for potential new gamers. 

I also like the twist where you can still get two points even when you don’t win any trick, and get only one when you can only prepare one gift box!

The bidding to guess how many gift boxes you can prepare is also another aspect I like about the game. You can predict how many tricks you can win based on the cards you have on-hand. This mechanic also gives another task for the players not to win tricks more than they have guessed.

Replay value may be a bit tight here. Yes, the game will always be unique with the voting on royal flavour groups and allergen. However, I think it may still be a bit repetitive, doing the same thing all over again. Hence, Macaron may be great to be your filler game to cool down after one long-haul on something more complicated.

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The artwork on the cards is stunning.

Verdict

Covered by adorable illustrations, Macaron can attract many non-gamers to pave their ways to the board game world. The simplicity makes it more captivating for more casual gamers. Despite how easy this game can be, some more veteran players may still be interested in obtaining this game to be another filler option between sessions of more complicated pieces. This trick-taking game has successfully taken one spot in my most favourite games of all time.

Macaron will be live on Kickstarter approximately on November 17th. Stay tuned!

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