Parade by Naoki Homma and Z-Man Games does something new with traditional avoidance card games. It is the world of Wonderland and Alice and all her friends are parading around. Every turn you’ll add a card from your hand to the parade and hope not to take too many cards back in return. The winner will be the person who collected the least points against them over the course of the game.
In Parade there are six suits each represented by a different Alice in Wonderland character. Each suit runs from 0-10. The game is going to start with a randomly drawn parade of six cards. The players will then in turn play a card from their hand and hope to avoid having to take any cards back into their tableau. When a card is played the number value offers some protection from acquiring cards. If there are six cards in the parade and a value four is placed down, the player has protection from picking up the four cards directly behind it. When assessing whether they must grab any or both of the remaining cards players must ask ‘is it a lower value than the card I placed?’ and ‘is it the same colour as the card I placed?’ If either of those scenarios are true they have to add those cards to their tableau to be counted against them at the end of the game.
Like many avoidance card games there is a way to shoot the moon…sort of. If you have the most of any suit at the end of the game you can flip them over and count them each as only one point against you. That can be a big relief if you have a lot of high valued cards in your tableau.
A round ends when the draw pile is exhausted or when one players has cards in their tableau from all six suits.
For a game with pretty straight forward rules, Parade can lead to some tense, fun moments. Often the decision switches from ‘How can I avoid taking cards?’ to ‘How can I minimize the damage I’m about to take?’ It often makes the most sense to grab a lot of cards if it will give you the majority in one suit.
With it’s light theme, beautiful artwork and surprisingly tough decision making Parade is a perfect choice to start a gaming night or fill in between meatier fare.