I don’t have many two player games and this is because I like to have options with my games and I don’t want to be limited by player count, I like to have a few friends with me when playing games. The only 2 player game I’ve had some (limited) experience with is Magic the Gathering. I’ve dabbled enough with Magic to have my own deck but not enough to say that I’m an experienced player. So when Tides of Time came out last year and received such high praise when the sequel was announced I decided to take the plunge into the madness which is 2 player hobby games.
Last year a two player drafting game came out with fantastic art and was met with raving reviews from Portal Games. This game was Tides of Time, Tides of Madness has now been released which reimplements the same drafting mechanic that was introduced with Tides of Time but introduces something new, madness. Does this game live up its to predecessor or does it just fill you with dread? Read on to find out.
Tides of Madness is a card game played over three rounds. At the beginning of a round each player draws 5 cards and picks one of them. The remaining 4 cards are then passed to the other player. You then pick another card and pass them back, this picking and passing continues until there each player has chosen 5 cards.
The cards have different suits and different ways to score points which are all on the cards. At the end of a round you score the cards that you have chosen and you receive madness tokens for the cards with the tentacles on them. If you have the most madness you can choose to either get an extra 4 points or to discard 1 maddness token. If a player ever reaches 9 maddness they lose.
After madness and points have been totalled each player chooses a card to keep and one to discard from the game completely, then reshuffle the deck and draft another set of cards, score points and maddness and then keep and discard another card and go for round three.
At the end of round 3 whoever has the most points wins!
So was the delve into dedicated 2 player gaming a success? Well yeah it was ok. To start with the art on this game much like its predecessor is fantastic. All the images do fit in with the Lovecraft theme with the deep one making their obligatory appearance. The theme itself mainly comes across with the madness mechanic where you instantly lose as you go insane. Which does fit with the source material and the cards that give you madness tend to be the horrific monsters that would make a lasting impression so it does work thematically. However most of the game you don’t focus on the art you are mainly just looking for the symbols on the cards which is what makes the theme melt away and there could be anything on these cards and it wouldn’t really matter.
The game offers some interesting choices as you can push your luck and try to get more madness to score more points but this could be your undoing in the end or you can focus on just trying to build the best sets and score points according to the cards.
For a quick filler when you are waiting for the rest of your group tides of madness is a fun light filler that I would recommend overall
By Sarah Booth