Player Count: 2-6 Players
Solo mode: No
Game Length: 15 Minutes
Spicy is a simple, light-hearted bluffing card game set in the world of spicy foods. Apparently 3 big cats have been brawling and they exhausted from it all. They’ve decided to squash their beef with a hot spice eating contest… Which I suppose seems reasonable. The cat that can endure the most heat proves their superiority.
This is one of the purest bluffing games I’ve played. I imagine that statement will determine if a lot of you reading this are in or out. Bluffing games tend to be more social than strategic and, in my travels, excel more in the experience than the actual outcome of the game. I’ve noticed these types of games appeal to a casual gaming audience not looking to exert much brain power, are happy going through the motions and are looking for a few laughs. That pretty much sums up Spicy.
ON YOUR TURN
Players begin by drawing a hand of 6 cards. Featuring a deck of 40 total cards, they are numbered 1 to 10 and are divided into 3 primary suits: Chili, Wasabi and Pepper. Players will take turns declaring a number and type of card and then playing it face down. Each player plays a card following suit with a higher number than the previous card played.
The twist to the game is you don’t have to be honest about the card you played. At any time during the game any player can call out the most recent player if they think they’re lying about the card they just played. The accuser must declare a number or suit they believe is in question. If correct, the accuser takes possession of the entire facedown deck, earning points at the end of the game for each card. If wrong, the accuser draws 2 additional cards and starts a new suit. Players can also choose to draw a card on their turn vs playing one. Anytime you empty your hand without being caught in a lie, you receive a card for 10 points.
The deck also has 2 different types of wild cards, allowing you to declare a number or spice of your choice without repercussion. There are a number of variant cards that change up the rules to provide slightly different ways to play the game.
The game ends when all 3 10-point cards are earned or the draw deck reaches a point based on the number of players. The player with the most points is the winner.
COMPONENTS & ARTWORK
Spicy’s unique production is really where it stands out. The box and card backs have a very distinctive foil covering that honestly, makes it more fun to play. Artwork is always a subjective issue, but I’m enjoying the heavily stylized artwork from Seoul-based illustrator Jimin Kim. There is a lot of personality and humor tied into it. I can see the artwork pushing people in both directions, but I’m a fan. The art direction as a whole has successfully produced a product that both stands out and is memorable.
PROS & CONS
➕ Very accessible, easy to pick up, teach and plays quickly
➕ The distinct look of the game makes it memorable
➕ The simple, bluffing strategy allows player’s personality to directly affect the gameplay
➕ Works primarily for casual gamers
➖ The bluffing aspect doesn’t necessarily appeal to more strategic, heavy gamers and will likely turn some off
➖ Artwork may not connect with all players
WHY WOULD YOU LIKE THIS GAME?
I think Spicy appeals to players who just want a light-hearted, quick game every now and then. It doesn’t force you to expend much brain power, it plays really fast, it’s casual and it’s good for a few laughs.
BEST THING ABOUT THIS GAME?
The best thing about the game is the unique artwork and production. Whether you enjoy the game or not, you’ll definitely remember it.
This is a simple, fast, repetitive card game with a shiny production.
The rules are incredibly light and can be taught in a couple minutes and that fact is detrimental to the game’s success and appeal. This isn’t for serious gamers and it’s not for someone looking for any serious strategic depth. This is a lightweight game that forces you to read your opponents and call them out when they’re lying. In contrast, the ability to fool your opponents into thinking you’re lying just adds to the fun.
In the end, this is the sort of game that makes a nice gift for the non-gamer in your life. I think it’s fun for families because of its stylized and humorous artwork and easy rule set. Kids are going to enjoy the artwork of the big cats. Some cats have running noses while others are tearing up from all the spicy food. I know my kids have really enjoyed our plays. If you’re good with the bluffing element and you don’t take it too seriously, Spicy is something casual gamers are going to enjoy.