From: Stronghold Games
Reviewed by: Tony McRee
Diamonds by Mike Fitzgerald, who also designed Hooyah, which I reviewed for this site earlier, brings a new trick-taking game to us in 2014. To be honest, if you like trick-taking games, you don’t need to read this review; just go buy this game. The object of the game is simple, score the most points by collecting plastic diamonds as you play cards over a series of rounds. These plastic diamonds are either in your vault, which are worth 2 points at the end of the game, or in your showroom in front of your vault, worth 1 point.
Diamonds can be played with 2 to 6 players and uses a deck of 60 cards with 15 cards in each of the standard suits found in a normal playing deck of cards. There are no face cards in Diamonds, just 1 through 15. During each round, players are dealt 10 cards, so if there are less than 6 players, some cards and not in play which adds to the strategy of the game. The game ends when the number of rounds played equal the number or players or when everyone has had a chance to deal. Dealer determines how many cards, 1-3, get passed to the left and the player to the dealer’s left starts the play.
“What makes the game of Diamonds different from other trick-taking games is that when you cannot follow suit you will get a “Suit Action.”
So, how do you get plastic diamonds? By playing the suits in the deck. If you take a trick, then you get the suit action. If you can’t follow suit, then the card you play, you immediately take that action of the suit. When all the cards are played, the player that collects the most cards in each suit gets to do those actions as well. If you were unfortunate not to take any tricks at all during that round, no worries, put two diamonds in your vault. What are the actions? If you win a trick in diamonds or play a diamond card as the off suit, then you may place a diamond from the stockpile into your vault. Hearts let you take a diamond from the stockpile and place it in your showroom. Spades let you move a diamond from your showroom to your vault. Clubs let you steal a diamond from another player’s showroom to yours. That is the game.
This game is fast and fun to play. There is strategy in this game on every card being played. You need to maximize your off suit plays and not just try and win a trick. You have to think ahead of when you want to bleed a certain suit if you are strong in it. There is always something to do and think about when playing in this game even if your hand isn’t a winning hand. And since this is not a bidding game, those that don’t like card games because of bidding should really try this one out. Diamonds can also be played in variants such as playing with partners which adds another twist to the game.
Diamonds is a great game to add to your collection and I highly recommend it.
Codex Rating: 18
Type of Game: Card Game
Game Design by: Mike Fitzgerald
Game Components Included: 60 Playing Cards, numbered 1-15 in the four standard suits, 6 Player Aid cards, 6 Vaults, 110 small clear (1-point) Diamond Crystals, 25 large red (5-point) Diamond Crystals
Retail Price: $ 24.95 (US)
Number of Players: up to 6
Player Ages: 8 and up
Play Time: 30 minutes