Full disclosure: A review copy of Concluzio was provided by Puzzling Pixel Games.
Do love a deduction game. I’ve been really enjoying and exploring the genre as I play more and more games. I think it’s mostly just that I enjoy figuring things out, and exploring that process. It’s a fun little puzzle to tease out how things work and what information is correct and what information is just steering me off the right track. Concluzio is a pretty small deduction game, so let’s get a quick review together and see how it goes!
In Concluzio, every player has a secret card! One with three different features: a color, a number, and a shape. You need to figure out your secret card before your opponents do! But so do they! Each player will have to determine which cards in their hand share commonalities with their secret card and which cards have nothing to do with them. Will you be able to figure out what your secret card is? And, more importantly, will you be first to do so?
This one’s pretty simple. Shuffle up the deck, dealing each player five cards:
Then, give each player one card face-down for them to add to their hand facing outwards. They should not look at this card! It’s their secret card. Everyone else should be able to see it, instead. If you’d like, you may also deal each player an ability:
You should be ready to start!
A game of Concluzio is all about trying to guess your secret card! Each turn hopefully brings you closer, but careful! If you guess incorrectly, you lose!
Before the first turn of the game, each player has to give the player to their left a starting clue. This clue must have something in common with their secret card (either shape / number / color), unless no card in your hand has anything in common with that card. If any does, give them that card, placing it face-up in front of them. If not, give them any card and tell them it has nothing in common with their card. Then, the start player takes their first turn.
On a turn, reveal a card from your hand to the player on your left. They must tell you “Yes” if the card has anything in common with your secret card, and “No” otherwise. Place the card in front of you, keeping the area in front of you organized as you see fit. Draw a card to end your turn.
Instead of playing a card on your turn, you may attempt to guess your secret card by asking the player to your left. You must correctly name its number, color, and shape in order to win. If you do, you win immediately! Otherwise, you lose, and are eliminated from the game.
Player Count Differences
Generally, I wouldn’t say there’s a ton. You’re only ever interacting with essentially one player at a time (either cluing the player on your left or passing information), and as a result there’s no real difference between a three-player game, a four-player game, and a two-player game. With more players, however, more cards do end up face-up, which can help you more quickly deduce which card is in your hand. The game, as a result, probably plays a bit faster with more players than with fewer, but that’s about the only real thing I’ve noticed. As a result, no real player count preference.
- Sometimes it’s worth thinking about not playing certain cards. Keeping hold of a few cards in your hand that might be your opponents’ secret cards might be helpful! You can potentially keep them in hand so that your opponents can’t quite be sure as to what their cards are.
- You may find yourself needing to guess, at some point in the game. Think about it this way: if you guess incorrectly, you lose, but if your opponent guesses correctly, you lose as well! Might as well lose on your own terms if you think that your opponent is close to figuring out what their secret card is. That said, don’t shoot your shot prematurely! If you don’t have enough information to guess, you’re going to flame out.
- Remember that shape / color / number combinations are unique; that can tell you a lot about what can’t exist in your hand. There will not be both a Red X 4 and a Red X 5; that can’t happen. This means that seeing other numbers and colors and shapes can help eliminate possibilities, and anything your opponents play can actually help you, even if you don’t get explicit confirmation as to whether or not it’s related to your card.
- Theorize and check your theories against the information you’re getting. If you think a card is relevant or potentially likely, try a card in your hand that’s related to it! That’ll be how you whittle down possibilities.
- I generally try to lock at least one piece of information down at a time. I usually like to know the number or the color, first; that’s just because I tend to get confused about the shapes because there are some shapes that are pretty similar.
- You may not have the cards to get the information you’re looking for; if that happens, try to keep getting negative information by eliminating colors / shapes / numbers from consideration. Reverse-engineer the solution! It’s a real bummer when that happens, but you do the best you can. This is also where looking at what your opponents have played might be helpful, or just trying to eliminate unlikely shapes or numbers from contention. Try to avoid just playing two similar cards at the same time.
Pros, Mehs, and Cons
- I really like how quick and simple of a deduction game this is. It plays fast, there’s not much to learn, and as soon as a player guesses correctly, it’s over. This is a solid introduction to deduction just because of how quick it is.
- The color scheme is also really fun! It’s a brightly-colored game, and as you might notice from other, similar reviews, I tend to find that kind of color scheme engaging. I prefer it to aggressively brown or beige games.
- Also another highly portable little game. Very small! It’s essentially just a deck of cards, and you can almost always take that anywhere. It’s a bit larger than the wallet games that I enjoy, but it’s still easy to take around.
- I like that you have one card facing out and the rest facing in; it’s a little fun. It’s also decidedly easy to mess up, but, you know, just try not to look at your single card. If that happens, just redeal. It’s annoying to mess up, but, it happens.
- I think what I like most about this game is that even when losing, it’s impressive to see someone else figure out their card and then explain how they did it. I think that watching someone just do a good job with deduction is cool? Like, it’s one of the reasons I like escape rooms so much. Even if I can’t figure it out, it’s cool to see someone else stick the landing. Even here, I enjoy that aspect of this game.
- I normally don’t like player elimination, but it’s not too bad, here; just remind players not to guess unless they’re genuinely convinced they’re going to lose before their next turn. If someone knocks themselves out in the first round or two, then yes, they’re going to be sitting for a while. Otherwise, though, it shouldn’t be too much of a problem, here; it’s a very short game.
- It seems like becoming gradually familiar with the cards can give you a bit of an edge; knowing that the Green 5 is an X, for instance, already tells you certain things about your hand. There’s some definite tension there, but I would be surprised if anyone memorized the cards to that degree of detail. That said, if this is the kind of game that your group ends up playing over and over again, you might see that start to be a thing you have to factor in.
- You can also get really busted up if you get unlucky with the cards you ask about. I watched it happen to a friend in one game; she played two green cards and got a match on both of them, but one of them matched her number and the other matched her shape; she did not have a green card at all. Be careful of drawing the wrong conclusions.
- I was a bit disappointed in the player abilities. They’re not bad, per se, but they’re somewhat underwhelming? One just allows you to go first, and another allows a player to make an incorrect guess without losing. They’re fine, but I don’t think they end up meaningfully shifting how players go about making their deductions. They’re more like boosts to different aspects of the existing game.
- I think making the shapes outline and filled-in versions of the same shape is a particularly bad decision; every time I have taught this to a new player, someone has gotten the two versions of the same shape mixed up and essentially tanked the game. We’ve had to shuffle and redeal a few times because a player has incorrectly confirmed a match when the cards didn’t match; they didn’t realize that the outline of a shape and the filled-in shape were two different shapes. While I understand that’s explicitly their bad, I think it’s also a weird choice to not make the shapes more distinct.
Overall: 7.5 / 10
Overall, I enjoyed Concluzio! I think it’s a cute and quick little deduction game that works for a wide variety of audiences, though I will say that it can feel like going first is pretty useful. It’s a short and highly portable card game, though, so I could definitely see it making a place for itself as a quick way to teach deduction and logic games to the right group. I was a bit underwhelmed by the player abilities; they were fine, but they sort of all fired off at about the same time, since I was playing with a group of fairly experienced players who were all at the same place with their deductions. Essentially, every player guessed their card correctly in the same round, which just means that whoever went first won. On one hand, that can feel a bit dissatisfying, but on the other, I find that just letting everyone take a stab at guessing after the player who guessed right wins is still pretty fun for everyone. Seems like a simple enough house rule to allow players more fun, even if they don’t win. The only other thing that baffled me a bit about the game was the shape choices; we had to restart a game because a player didn’t realize that the outlined and filled-in shapes were different, which begs the question of why there weren’t a greater variety of shapes so that we could avoid that outcome. Strange choice. Beyond that, though, Concluzio is a fun, colorful, and simple deduction game, and if you’re looking for something quick in that zone, you’ll probably enjoy it! I did, for sure.
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