Cosmic Eidex

There’s a review of Cosmic Eidex up at the Finnish site.

Cosmic Eidex is a trick-taking game for three players. It’s not the easiest game to learn, particularly for players with no earlier experience of Central European trick-taking games. It’s based on Swiss Jass (and few other games), which brings some peculiarities to the fold.

First of all, the game is played on a short deck. Suits range from sixes to aces. It’s a regular deck, except the suits are different, but that’s just flavour. It’s a Ace-Ten type of game, which means the cards have different point values and aces and tens are the most valuable cards.

The goal of the game is gain game points. In each deal, there are two points up for grab. One goes for the player with the lowest total of card points and the other goes to the player with the highest total, provided he or she is under or at 100 points. If the top scorer goes over 100, the point is awarded to the middle player. If somebody wins all the tricks, they get both points.

This is all good and well. Since you get points by taking tricks or avoiding tricks, there’s always an possibility to play a good round, despite your cards. You’ll just have to make up your mind and also react to what the other players are doing.

The thing that’s cosmic about this game is the special powers. Each card has a special power, ranging from small changes to game-altering revolutions. Each player gets one in the beginning of the game. Most of the effects can be used once a deal. These bring lots of life and colour to the game.

The special powers are in a good enough balance. Some are way bigger than the the others, but I don’t think any are completely useless or total killers. Besides, it’s easy to skip annoying powers (like I do with Quizmaster).

Cosmic Eidex is definitely one of my favourite trick-taking games. On the negative side, it can pretty hard to play: it takes three players, no more, no less, and those three should be familiar with trick-taking games, otherwise it’ll be a pain to learn.

Also, the cards are bit busy (even though I really love the art) and not quite as functional as they could be. Their quality is superb, though. However, as the game is very cheap (typically around three euros), I’m not complaining: Cosmic Eidex has by far the best quality/price ratio in my collection.

If the idea of trick-taking game with balanced hands sounds good, but Cosmic Eidex sounds too geeky or quirky, I recommend checking out Die Sieben Siegel, which is easier and more flexible.

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