Review – The Grizzled
A cooperative, hand management game.
Title: The Grizzled
Year Published: 2015
Designer: Fabien Riffaud , Juan Rodriguez
Publisher: Cool Mini or Not
Game Time: ~30 Mins
Set-up Time: >1 Min
Theme: World War 1
Mechanic: Hand Management, Push Your Luck
How to win: Play all the cards from the Trial deck and players hands before revealing the Monument Card.
The Grizzled is a cooperative game about survival in the trenches during the first World War where players win or lose together.
Each player gets a character and places him ‘Good Luck Charm’ up.
Each player gets a left, right support token and random face down support token from the supply. (In a 3 Player game the double left and double right tokens are not used)
Put 25 (30 for the veteran level) cards in a stack to make the Trials Deck and place it on the Peace card. Put the remaining cards into the Morale Deck on the Monument card.
Place a number of speech tokens depending on the number of players on the board between decks and select the Hairiest player to go first. This player gets the mission leader token.
A rounds starts with the Preparation phase.
The mission leader chooses how many cards will be dealt to each player. For a normal round the minimum is 1 but on the first mission of the game only the minimum is 3.
Once players have their cards the Mission phase begins. Starting with the mission leader, each player will take one action in order.
But first, note you can’t reveal information about your hand, or your support tokens to the other players although you can look at your own at any time.
There are 4 actions you can take…
Play a card – A card is played into ‘No Man’s Land’, but a ‘Hard Knock’ card is assigned to the player instead.
If the drawn card is a trap, draw and play the next card. If the next card is a trap ignore this effect.
At this point, you check to see if you have 3 of the same type of threat across all cards in No Man’s Land and any symbols on Hard Knocks cards in play. If you do, you fail the mission and I will describe what happens in the ‘End Mission’ phase shortly.
Instead of playing a card you can use a Good Luck Charm to discard a card from No Man’s Land with at least one matching symbol on your character card. You then flip the character card face down.
You can Make a Speech if you have a speech token by discarding it and declare one of the 6 threats out loud. All OTHER players discard one card from their hand matching that threat which can include hard knocks cards.
You can of course Withdraw and Support. Secretly put a support token on your card keeping it face down and hidden. You cannot mention who you are supporting, you just play the token. You can also do this if you have no cards in hand.
End of Mission
There are two ways a mission can end, success or failure.
If all players have withdrawn and the mission wasn’t failed, the cards in no man’s land are discarded from the game and you move closer to victory.
If the mission fails, the cards in no man’s land are shuffled back into the trials pile and you will have to deal with them again.
The support phase changes depending on if the players succeeded or failed too.
Success – All players flip their chosen support token and pass it to the player in that direction. If a player has more than any other they can discard 2 hard knocks or recover their good luck charm.
Fail – Only support tiles from players that withdraw from the mission count and if a player has more than any other they can discard 1 hard knock.
Now, put a total of cards from the Morale Deck to the Trials Deck equal to the total of cards in all players hands. There is a minimum of 3 cards in this phase. This takes the game further away from the players.
Pass the leader token to the left and the previous leader gets a speech token.
If a player has 4 hard knocks after support, the game ends and all players lose.
If the cards run out of the Morale Deck and the Monument is revealed, the players lose.
If the Peace card is visible and no players have cards in hand, the players win.
What a great co-op.
Firstly, you’re not allowed to say what’s in your hand or who you are supporting so bye-bye Alpha gamer… mostly. ‘You should use your ability’ or ‘You should use your speech token’ are things you’ll hear on your turn but still , they can’t tell you to do everything.
The round can start badly in the Morale Drop phase. If the start player chooses too few cards you’re not really going through the deck quick enough… Too many and at the end of the round you’ll be stacking cards up on that Peace deck if you can’t play enough.
You may think it’s easy to pass the missions but some Hard Knocks prevent you from passing etc These are awful!
It is a Push Your Luck game really but it doesn’t play like a typical Push Your Luck game which is good.
This is a fantastic co-op, great theme, very tough and (almost) no Alpha player. One of the best.
I give it 8/10