Jekyll and Hyde

Leaflet showing how the game works – print one for each player
– unless you want to keep opponents in the dark. 😃

Excellent trick-taking card game

Jekyll vs Hyde is a two player, trick taking card game that is well above the ordinary, despite its small size and lack of expensive ‘hype’.
Such gems are not easy to find. Eric’s review is a rave- read it here.

It presents challenge and opportunity for players of all skill levels. Those more experienced in card playing may be pleasantly surprised by the opportunities to play a tactical game. Most impressive is the way that, across the ten tricks that are played in each turn, the play and competition ebbs and flows, driven mainly by player choice rather than by luck.

The theme derives from the novella by Robert Louis Stevenson, written in the late 1800’s. It describes how Doctor Jekyll begins to investigate the effects of a potion he developed, finding that it changes him from a personable and mild mannered man with a weight of guilt feelings on his shoulders into one totally devoid of any feelings of sensitivity or guilt: the evil Mr Hyde. As time goes by, Jekyll’s repeated transformations, using the potion to escape his sense of guilt, lead to the character of Hyde beginning to gain the upper hand.

Hyde begins to control Jekyll, as Jekyll once was able to control Hyde. The game is played on an uncomplicated board, across which Hyde seeks to progress. Jekyll stays at home, and wants Hyde to do so as well!

The player who’s Hyde tries to play their cards in such a way as to achieve the greatest gap between the tricks they win, and those won by Dr Jekyll.

This is quite different to most trick taking games. Generally, in such games, each player seeks to win (or lose) the most tricks. In Jekyll vs Hyde, Hyde’s best outcome when playing the ten available tricks would be for either him to win all ten,
or for Jekyll to do so – it’s the gap that counts!

Every time a trick-gap occurs, Hyde takes a number of steps, moving from Jekyll’s civilised side towards the depths of pure evil. If Hyde can get all the way across the ten steps, evil wins. Jekyll, on the other hand, would dearly like to see each of them win five tricks – no gap, so no sidling off by Hyde.

The game’s designed around three card suits (pride, wrath, and greed) – just seven of each. A unique feature of the game is that these three suits vary during play in terms of their ‘potency’. For example, at one stage it may be that any pride card will be beaten by any wrath: even a 1 of wrath will beat a 7 of pride. The next minute, it may turn our that wrath is the weaker suit, with pride more potent.

There also are four cards that display phials of the potion that Jekyll devised and so unwisely employed. When played, these have three different effects. Playing potions just at the right time can be very powerful, considerably changing the lie of the land. Indeed, one potion causes the potency of the card suits to change, which can be advantageous to the player who made it happen.

A game to suit cards players of all levels …

  • no setup time
  • some luck, as in all trick taking games
  • definitely replayable … quietly exciting
  • when players change roles they play an entirely different style of game

An excellent explanatory video