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Party Game Review: ‘Sailor Moon Crystal: Truth or Bluff’ from Dyskami

Sailor Moon Crystal: Truth or Bluff ffrom Dyskami allows players to practice their poker faces alongside everyone’s favorite magical princess. Identity discovery has always been a key part of the Sailor Moon story. From the beginning, Usagi Tsukino discovered she was in fact Sailor Moon and had to determine the identities of the other sailor scouts as well as the mysterious Tuxedo Mask. She also constantly faced the disguised forms of villains. Now players must use their own skills in detection to see whether their opponents are telling the truth or bluffing as they play tiles.

Sailor Moon Crystal: Truth or Bluff begins with each player drawing twelve Character Tiles from a bag, arranging them so that no other players can see what they have drawn. The tiles correlate to the famed Sailor Scouts, along with their allies and villains. Players take turns offering tiles facedown to an opponent, either telling the truth about whose picture is on it or bluffing. The receiving player may Challenge the pass if they think it is a bluff or Look at it and Pass to another player, giving them their own chance to Challenge or pass, too.

Eventually, or rather often, players will Challenge bluffs and reveal the tile. If the passing player was, in fact, bluffing, the tile goes back to the liar, now face-up. If the passing player was honest, the receiving player puts the tile face-up. Whoever did not receive the tile gets a draw of a Success Token for points. Astute players will not only judge each other’s expressions and gameplay but also study what tiles have been revealed as the game goes, seeing whether bluffs are more or less statistically likely.

While the good Characters are portrayed in adorable chibi art, the villains of the Dark Kingdom are full anime, adding to their terrifying zeal. Villains have special actions that go into effect once the tile is revealed. Some villains will radically change the game by moving or discarding face-up tiles. Other villains have beneficial powers, such as having the “victim” player draw a bonus Success Token upon receiving the Dark Kingdom Clan or adding a new tile from the bag with Jadeite. Players must use this to their strategic advantage, such as making an opponent a sudden target by putting them in the lead or purposely and obviously bluffing to take the bonus for themselves.

Play in Sailor Moon Crystal: Truth or Bluff continues until the end event is triggered. Players may choose a particular event from the array of ending tiles, or they may draw one at random to keep everyone on their toes. Each tile has a different condition, such as having four copies of Characters revealed or needing to play a tile but not having one. The player who triggers the event cannot win, meaning it is something to avoid, while the winner is determined by points from the Success Tokens. With both conditions and points going at once, players will have to be careful how they strategize their truths and bluffs to be ahead at the right time.

Sailor Moon Crystal: Truth or Bluff is a social game for three to eight players aged ten and up. Games can be quick quarter hour with a few players or longer with more players. It will also depend on how long players spend studying each other’s faces or dueling with banter to further disguise themselves. Players should also plan for plenty of breaks for screaming laughter when shocking bluffs are revealed or too much suspicion clouds the truth.

About Jeff Provine

Jeff Provine is a Composition professor, novelist, cartoonist, and traveler of three continents. His latest book is a collection of local ghost legends, Campus Ghosts of Norman, Oklahoma.

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