Porcupine Press is a small independent company based in Surrey that has so far published two of their own games – Trix and Tell Tale. The lovely people over at Porcupine Press very kindly provided me with a copy of both of these titles for this review.
As a Social Worker who works with children, young adults and families where literacy can be an issue – I really rate these games for their educational value!
While Trix is great for helping young people develop word association skills, Tell Tale is great for helping them use their imaginations to tell their own stories.
Being able to make connections and tell stories plays a huge role in my line of work and these activities play an important part in human development. Having games that help people practice them whilst having fun provides me with an excellent tool for helping young people!
Trix from Porcupine Press… Just a play on words or a fun little game?
Trix is a short, quick thinking, word association game released by Porcupine Press. The aim of the game is to be the person to reach the end of the score track first.
Players earn points for being the fastest player to guess which three cards your opponent has selected, or for being the player to successfully describe the three cards by using only one or two words.
Sounds simple, right?! Then why not give it a try!!!
Trix comes in a nice little compact tin with all you need to entertain the family on those rained out, caravan holidays. In the tin you get over 150 word cards, player cards, player counters and a scoreboard.
Setting the game up is easy. The cards come in three colours, red for actions, blue for people and green for places. Each card contains a word – helpfully written on all four edges so you can read them from any angle! The piles are shuffled and three cards from each pile are placed face up in a row, creating a 3 by 3 grid of words.
Each player is given a guessing board and four counters of their corresponding colour. One counter of each player is placed on the green Trix square at the start of the scoreboard. Each player board has a personal three by three grid that matches the layout of the cards.
Take your pick… You jolly thieving tree dweller!!!
Players look at the three rows of cards and select a card of each colour. They then take the three words on those cards and come up with one or two words that are something that the three cards describe. For example the cards Thief, Laugh and Forest could be used to describe Robin Hood.
- Thief – Because Robin Hood stole from the rich.
- Laugh – Because Robin Hood had a band of Merry Men.
- Forest – Because Robin Hood lived in Sherwood Forest.
The first player to find three cards that they think they can use, shouts “Trix”! They then, in secret, place three of their counters on their player board in the locations that match the position of the three cards that they’re going to describe.
After they’ve placed their counters they say their clue word, or words, and the other players have to try and work out which three cards have been selected. As soon as a player thinks they know the answer, they shout “Trix”! All players then place their markers on their personal boards to show which three cards they think make up the answer.
If the person who shouted “Trix” got the correct three cards they receive two points and the rest of the players who get it right receive only one point.
For every player who guesses correctly, the person who gave the clue words receives one point. If that person only gave a one word clue, instead of two, they receive two points for every player who guessed correctly.
Each players score counter then moves one along the score track for each point they have earned. Nine new cards are then placed on the table and a new round begins.
What’s it like??? Good for some, but maybe not all…
If, like me, you have an OK vocabulary but aren’t very good at word association type puzzles and games, then you probably won’t find this game to your liking.
However, while this isn’t a game that I would play too often myself, I think it’s easy enough and short enough a game that it would suit a family wanting to play something fast and potentially educational together.
The games I’ve played so far have been great for those in the group who like to play with words, but have sometimes suffered from someone trying to be too clever and just coming across as obscure.
All in all, Trix isn’t a game I’ll go back and play. But it is one that I would recommend you give a try if you’re into your word games. If you play it with the right people it can prove to be a real exercise in creative thinking!
Tell us a tale fair maiden… A tale of Tell Tale!!!
Now I’m going to talk about another Porcupine Press title, Tell Tale!
As Tell Tale quite rightly states on the box, “Everyone likes a good story…” and this is an awesome little game for creating whatever story tickles your fancy!
One of the things I really like about this, is the incredibly short rules – barely a page and a half of A4 sized paper which is great if you learn by playing, like I do, instead of reading lots of rules!
To start, each player takes a player counter, bidding board and screen of a matching colour, along with 20 coins for bidding on the available cards in play.
During set up, each player gives one of their coloured tokens to each of the other players ready for the voting stage of the game.
The games cards are then shuffled, eight are placed in the centre of the main board and then the players each place a counter of their colour on the score track.
Players are then dealt four story cards which they look at in secret before bidding, again in secret, on the cards in the centre of the board.
The story cards come in six colours – each colour representing one of the six different genres in the game:
Orange for Sci-Fi
Yellow for History
Red for Horror/fantasy
Blue for Fairytales
Green for Crime
Purple for Soap Opera
Gambling for a story… Or bidding on the best???
After the round has been set up, the bidding phase begins. Bids are made by placing as many coins as you want on the corresponding card space on your personal board – the highest bidder for each of the cards is the winner and that card is placed in the player’s hand.
If players bid equal amounts, then the player with the fewest points wins the card, if players still draw, then the youngest player
gets the card (which of course means that in my group, I rarely win the card!!!!).
When all bids have been resolved and players have their new cards, the board is cleared and eight new cards are placed out to auction. You bid like this three times in a row before players then use the cards in their hands to create the best story they can.
To create a story, players put as many cards as they wish from their hands, into their story in any order they choose, before taking it in turns to read it out loud.
When telling your story, players can add up to two words to each card – one at the beginning and one at the end. Or you can simply say what’s on the cards word for word.
For example, in the story below, the words from each card appear in the colour of the type of card they are from, and the words that I’ve added are in black. As you can see these words help the story flow from card to card.
In the distant future Joan of Arc learns the true value of friendship and then crashes into a lamppost
Want to win??? Then score big in this Tell Tale game!!!
When the players have created their stories they then get points for the following:
Three points per card for stories that are made of cards of all one colour
Two points per card for stories made up of cards that are all a different colour.
One point per card when the cards are a mixture of colours.
After hearing each person’s story, player’s vote for the story they thought was best by choosing that players coloured token and revealing it from a closed fist. The player with the most votes receives an additional fifteen points.
If the voting is a draw – nobody receives the additional points. All players who vote for the winning story also receive an additional five points.
When scoring is complete for each player, leftover cards in the middle of the board are discarded and replaced with new cards, each player receives their coins back, plus another four story cards. This starts another round of the game.
Finally, the winner is the player whose marker reaches the Tell Tale tile first!
I like to tell tales… But do I like Tell Tale???
This is a fun, fast game that can be as silly as the players want it to be – just so long as you enjoy spinning a good yarn you’ll be fine!
If like me, you learn by playing a game rather than reading lots of tedious rules, then this is the ideal game for you! It really is such a simple and quick game to learn with only two pages of rules.
The simplicity of the game is a big winner for me and I can see this game working really well with younger gamers and families. Although the component artwork and overall styling of the game are very simplistic the box is pretty cool and opens just like a book! Ultimately though, it doesn’t matter that the components are simple. What makes this game fun is your own imagination, the cards and components go a long way to provide you, your friends and your family with a framework or foundation on which to build your stories, it’s up to you to bring them to life. Tell Tale will appeal to gamers of any age especially those who simply play for pleasure. With a bit of imagination you’ll be making the daftest, craziest and most random stories in no time!
So, hopefully you’ve enjoyed reading a bit about for these two Porcupine Press titles. I just wanted to leave you with one of the little stories that came up during one of our recent games.
“Soldier of Fortune Solomon Hunt pricks his finger on an enchanted spindle found at the North Pole. He runs away and is turned into Father Christmas and does the washing up.
Meanwhile the Devil gets fish and chips for tea and goes to the pub and gets blind drunk. He leads his people against the tyranny of Little Red Riding Hood who demands $1 million to keep quiet!”
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Nikki is a social worker, and proud auntie, with a passion for board games. She strongly believes that games help provide quality time for families, teach young people new skills, and make relationships stronger! She loves to play games of all types, particularly those with a strong theme and a good story!