#198 – The Lady and the Tiger [Doors]

Box

Base price: $25. Comes as part of the base game.
2 players.
Play time: 15 – 20 minutes.
BGG Link
Buy directly!
Logged plays: 5

Full disclosure: A review copy of The Lady and the Tiger was provided by Jellybean Games.

“He was safe in his choice, for he knew
that the lady was in number two.
When he burst through her door,
he found out by the roar,
that tigers can be ladies too.”
(Tom Lang) 

Hm, why am I only doing one review on a Monday, and why is it only one of a 5-game game systemWho knows; seems like an actual mystery. Anyways; let’s get to the review.

Doors is a light set-collection / bluffing game for two players pitting them head-to-head as a Collector and a Guesser. Each player can earn points for a variety of actions as they vie to get 10 gems and win the game. Will you be able to see through your opponent’s deception? Or will you find more than one surprise behind the doors?

Contents

Setup

For this game you will need 20 of the gems, included in the box:

Gems

Any 20 will do; the specific color of the gems is irrelevant for this game.

Shuffle the Door cards:

Doors

Give each player one. That will be their identity for this contest (round). You can set the two unused Door cards aside; they won’t be used during this contest.

Shuffle the Clue cards:

Cards

Place four face-up in the center, next to the deck.

Choose one player to be the Collector (making the other the Guesser) and you’re ready to go!

Setup

Gameplay

Gameplay 1

As mentioned previously, a game of Doors is played over multiple rounds, with players alternating being the Guesser and the Collector. The Collector’s goal is to collect a set of cards that match their identity in at least one way. So, for instance:

  • You are the Red Lady: You need to collect either 4 Red cards or 4 Lady cards.
  • You are the Red Tiger: You need to collect either 4 Red cards or 4 Tiger cards.
  • You are the Blue Lady: You need to collect either 4 Blue cards or 4 Lady cards.
  • You are the Blue Tiger: You need to collect either 4 Blue cards or 4 Tiger cards.

Note that these are distinct sets; if you have two Red cards and two Blue Lady cards, you do not have a set for the Red Lady. It’s either / or. The Wild Cards are used in this game, but they have a slightly different use than any of the Lady or Tiger cards:

Wild Cards

The Lady / Tiger is both a lady and a tiger, but no color; the Red / Blue card is both red and blue, but no role.

As for the other player, the Guesser is trying to guess the Collector’s Identity card, and they score if they are correct. Be careful, though; if they’re incorrect, the Collector scores, instead.

So, on the Collector’s turn:

  1. Take one of the face-up cards in the center and add it to your collection, face-up.
  2. If you have a full set, you score 6 gems and the round ends.

Otherwise, it’s the Guesser’s turn:

  1. If the Collector has a full set matching your identity, you may reveal your identity and score the set, gaining 2 gems and ending the round.
  2. (Optional) You may guess the Collector’s Identity. If you are correct, the round ends and you score. If you are incorrect, the Collector scores 4 gems and the round ends.
  3. Discard one of the cards in the center to a discard pile near the deck.
  4. (Optional) You may guess the Collector’s Identity. If you are correct, the round ends and you score. If you are incorrect, the Collector scores 4 gems and the round ends.
  5. If the deck is now empty, you score 3 gems and the round ends.

One key point, the guesser may guess one of two ways:

  • Guess one trait (Red / Blue / Lady / Tiger): 1 gem, if correct.
  • Guess both traits (Red Lady / Blue Lady / Red Tiger / Blue Tiger): 5 gems, if both parts of your guess are correct.

Gameplay 2

If nobody has scored gems, begin a new turn. Otherwise, reshuffle and redeal the Doors, reshuffle and set up the Clues, and start a new contest with your roles switched. The first player to gain 10 gems wins!

Player Count Differences

Two players only, so, not applicable.

Strategy

  • It’s essentially a pure bluffing game, so the strategy is a bit hard to pin down. The best advice I can give you is to zig when your opponent thinks you’re going to zag as the Collector. No matter what you take (with two exceptions) your opponent is going to gain some information and draw a conclusion about the information presented, even if you’re bluffing them or you’re not. Sometimes it’s best to just surge for your card and be super obvious about that; other times it’ll lose you 5 points. If you think you can read your opponent well, then, you should be just fine as the Guesser.
  • Pretty much always take or discard the Lady / Tiger and the Red / Blue card, as either role. If you’re the Guesser, you do not want the Collector to get those, as they give you basically 0 information as to what card they’re planning to take. By the same token, if you’re the Collector, you really want those cards, as they help you make a lot of progress without necessarily cluing the Guesser to your true intentions.
  • Collector: Keep an eye on the deck. You want to do something before the deck runs out, even if that means that the Guesser guesses one of your traits; better to give up 1 gem than 3, right?
  • Guesser: Try to mess up the Collector’s options. If you successfully burn three Red cards and the Collector takes three Red cards, provided the Red / Blue card doesn’t come up for a bit, the Collector can’t win on their next turn. It’s unlikely, but feasible.

Pros, Mehs, and Cons

Pros

  • Particularly amazing art. I’m gonna be talking about The Lady and the Tiger’s art for a while, but it’s very good. Bright, colorful, and intense. It also offers a nice dichotomy between a lot of water imagery and a lot of fire imagery, which is nice. All around, it’s a very well-made game from a purely artistic standpoint.
  • Still very portable. This one’s one of the easier ones to play, as well, given that you don’t really need all of the cards out at any given point and the spatial component is pretty reduced from, say, Labyrinth or Hoard.
  • Seems family-friendly. I could see this being the most kid-friendly out of the bunch, given that it’s essentially a guessing game. You could simplify some of the rules down, as well, depending on the level of the kid you’re playing against. Seems like it would work pretty well.

Mehs

  • Might be a bit short for some people. I mean, there’s no real reason you can’t play it to 20; the distinction to stop at 10 is probably for game length / number of tokens reasons. Live your truth.
  • Aggravates my natural sense of risk aversion. It’s the same problem with Dungeon of Mandom VIII: having to guess is just super stressful for me, for some reason. Oh well. It’s a very very very very minor issue, but something that I find kind of amusing.

Cons

  • It feels as though there are not a ton of, say, strategic options. The thing about a pure bluffing game is that it’s very much just a simple game of which person has a better read on the other person. This might be frustrating to some players, but if you can appreciate that that’s what the game is, I’ve still found it to be pretty fun. I just wouldn’t expect an overwhelmingly deep game of strategic insight, bluffing, and some other combination of things the game isn’t. If you don’t believe me, I’d recommend giving a Blind Play of Doors a whirl — don’t look at your identity and play as though you were the Blue Tiger. See what happens. And then let me know in the comments! I’m curious.

Overall: 6.75 / 10

In Progress

Overall, Doors is pretty fun! It’s probably a good opener while you’re waiting for more people to show up since you can basically stop it at any time. Sure, I’m not sure there’s a lot of like, strategic depth to the game since it’s basically just a game of reading your opponents, but, I mean, Coup also exists, so, it’s not like there’s no room for these kinds of games in your collection. (I do think Coup has a bit more in the way of strategy, but that’s for another time). There are possible ways to vary this, a bit, I imagine, and I’d be interested to see what people come up with. Either way, if you’re looking for a very light, family-friendly bluffing game, Doors might be worth checking out!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s