HeartSwitch

From:  U.S. Games Systems Inc.

Reviewed by:  Barry Lewis

We’ve all pretty much grown up with computers and we’ve played the games that come with the computer: Minesweeper, Solitaire and Hearts.  I played a lot of Hearts on the computer.   I learned a lot from playing Hearts as well, but the two main things I learned was that I suck at Hearts and I suck at card games in general.  Well much too my chagrin, I absentmindedly requested to review a card game called HeartSwitch from U.S. Games Systems Inc.  We all probably know U.S. Games Systems since they are one of the largest producers of playing cards in the world.  The company, though, has over the past couple of years moved further and further into the hobby card game market and is actually doing well with such recent games as Hooyah: Navy Seals card game.

By now you’ve probably figured out from my opening paragraph that HeartSwitch is Hearts, but with a twist.   Just in case you’ve never played Hearts, the object of the game is to rid yourself of as many or all of the point cards in your hand by the end of the hand, or trick.  The point cards are the hearts, which are worth one point each, and the queen of spades, which is worth thirteen points.  The person with the lowest total points at the end of the game wins.  HeartSwitch builds on this by adding in eight new cards that changes the dynamic of the game some.

The eight cards are the Wicked Spade Witch, the Kind Club Witch, the Evil Heart Witch , the Good Diamond Witch and four cards called the Magicians.  The Spade Witch counts as an additional 5 points.  The Club Witch cancels either or both of the Spade Witch and Spade Queen taken by a player.  The Heart Witch doubles the point value of each Heart taken, but has no point value itself.  The Diamond Witch can deduct up to 5 points taken in that current hand, but does nothing if no points are taken in that same hand.  As for the Magicians, it took a few hands for me to figure them out.  They’re basically “wild” cards.  You can play them anytime, but they have no point value, don’t belong to any suit and cannot win a hand unless all players play Magicians.  If that’s the case then the person who led with the first Magician wins that hand.

I did enjoy playing the game even though I still suck at it and since there is actually some strategy to playing Hearts, my strategy was not to come in last.  The new cards can even the playing field some if you are playing with people who do play Hearts on a regular basis.  Granted this didn’t help me one bit.  The game has nicely produced cards, as one might expect, and a book of score sheets which is a nice touch as well .  HeartSwitch is a descent filler for a game night, but I don’t see hardcore gamers playing this on a regular basis just due to it’s “light-ish” feel and lack of theme.  This game does excel when played with non-gaming friends and/or relatives though.  My only real problem, actually it’s a pet peeve of mine, with the game is that it needs at least three players to play.  I’d really like to give this game two ratings;  one rating for playing with other gamers and one rating for playing with non-gamers.  So I’ll just take the average of the two.
Product Rating:  12

Product Summary

 HeartSwitch

From: U.S. Games Systems Inc.

Type of Game:  Card Game

Game Design:  Jodi Boginski Barbessi

Artist:  Jodi Boginski Barbessi

Retail Price: $ TBD (US)

Number of Players:  3-6 players

Player Ages:  10 and up

Play time:  Up to 60 minutes

Website:   www.usgamesinc.com