Squire for Hire is a 18 card micro game from Jon Merchant for one to two players. You play as a squire, you have bag, it is just waiting to be filled with valuable loot. Complete quests to gain loot, add your loot to your bag.
However, not all loot is equal and some of it is junk. Items like broken swords, lanterns, skulls and apple cores will just clog up your bag and lose you points. Quests are dangerous and filled with peril and sometimes you will lose items from your bag. Careful planning and management of your loot bag is essential. Maximise your valuable items and get rid of the junk.
At the start of the game you are dealt one of the four Squire cards. Each squire scores bonus points for different items in their loot bag.
The remaining cards in the deck are double sided. One side has the loot and the other side the quests. Each player receives two loot cards and picks one as the start of their loot bag. The rest are shuffled back in to the deck and placed with the quest side face up in the middle of the table. Two cards are flipped to their loot side on either side of the deck.
The quest card will have requirements displayed on to be able to complete it. If you meet the requirements you can take either of the loot cards and add it to your bag.
The quest requirements will either show an item value that you must have in your bag covering a certain number of squares or an item that you must “use” to be able to complete the quest. If you “use” an item then it must be covered up with the new loot card. Otherwise, when adding a loot card to your bag one of the items on the new loot card must fully cover the same number of empty spaces (including junk items) already in your bag.
Play continues this way until all the loot cards have been placed, points are counted and the Squire with the most points is the winner
There seems to be a real trend for 18 card micro games at the moment and Squires for Hire is a great addition. There is a decent amount of gameplay packed in to these 18 cards, including what is essentially variable player powers. There are four different squires that score bonus points in different ways. This gives you a focus on what loot cards to try to aim for. There are always two loot cards on display so you can chose the one which is most suited for your scoring goals.
The cards are double sided which is a great way to add extra gameplay elements without increasing the deck size and is a very clever design choice. Completing quests cards can be done in two different ways by either having the item in your bag or by using the item and covering it up. Additional points are scored for identical items that touch as well as for the loot items. Bonus points are awarded based on the Squire you received at the beginning of the game.
Squires for Hire is a great game, it can fit in your pocket and can be played solo and with two players. It is ideal for travelling or when waiting for a friend or gaming buddy. It plays quick, has a small foot print and has a decent amount of choices available.
Squires for Hire is due to hit Kickstarter on the 5th September so be sure to keep an eye out.
Please note – Squires for Hire PnP was provided to perform this review from Jon Merchant.