Lucky’s Misadventures from Great Northern Games combines a variety of actions with a rich game-world that makes for seriously immersive play. The subtitle “Episode 42: Lost in Oddtopia” hints that this is just one of many wild escapades for good ol’ Lucky. Related hints sprinkled through the story build the fun while players’ minds fill in the gaps. Further references to other lost-girl stories like Alice in Wonderland and The Wizard of Oz give even more suggestions of the expansive universe. Play adapts well to the zaniness of the story by offering ample choices for actions and three different ways to win.
The basic mechanics of Lucky’s Misadventures combine the versatility of a deck-building game with choosing actions based on these cards. Set-up begins with each player building a personal deck of Allies and Hirelings, including characters like the Scarecrow, the White Rabbit, and of course Lucky himself. The table is then laid with additional decks. Further Hirelings, Mavens, and Junk stand to be bought, with their own powers and values. A Fate deck lays out different environmental effects, meaning players will need to be on their toes to maximize the impact of their cards.
Lucky’s Misadventures takes a turn away from typical games by introducing simultaneous play. Each round begins with “Feeding the Toad,” the mechanical monstrosity that seems to rule over the weird world of Oddtopia. To do so, the previous first player lays out three Fate cards, which determine the new first player as well as establishing what kinds of cards can be played during the round’s strange effects. Players then choose three cards from their hands to play, placing them face-down and revealing all at once. They carry out their actions based on the cards, buy new cards, and build machines by combining parts collected from the Junk deck.
With so many options, no round will ever be the same. Players will need to set up a strategy but also adapt to the constant changes from the environmental cards as well as what becomes available on the table. Some players may work the invention route, building a time machine to go back and never get lost in Oddtopia in the first place. Other players might try to work with the strange inhabitants of the land, collecting Three Sisters cards to grant a spell to go home or have Pumpkin Ted and a force of tinkerers open a portal powered by the Toad. While being light on their feet with their own strategies, players will also want to watch opponents and intercept their needed cards to snatch victory from their hands.
Lucky’s Misadventures is a card game for two to four players aged 10 and up. It is a medium-to-long game, lasting about an hour depending on the speed of the players’ decisions. Entertaining suggestions throughout the directions suggest ideas like pointing at the last player to lay down cards as social incentive to act quickly. Fun is the absolute key to Lucky’s Misadventures with its captivating game-world and strong replayability, as nothing is ever the same in Oddtopia.