The Fox in the Forest Duet is a beautiful cooperative trick-taking card game where you and your partner push and pull your way to victory. Each player has a hand of cards, and they use them strategically to move around the forest board to collect gem tokens.
What Is Trick-Taking?
Trick taking is a game mechanism which has been around for many years; some popular games include Spades, Hearts, and Euchre. These games use a standard deck of 52 cards (or less), but the core concepts are the same. Each player is dealt an equal number of cards and then the player to the left of the dealer chooses 1 card to play, going around the table each other player has to play a card in the same suit (Hearts, Diamonds, Spades, or Clubs), unless they don’t have a card of the chosen suit. The round ends after all the cards are gone.
In Fox in the Forest Duet, the suits are Dove, Rose, and Star.
To start the game, you decide which level you want to play on: Level 1, 2, or 3. Level 1 uses side A of the forest board and has you place 12 gem tokens. Level 2 and 3 use side B of the forest board, and places 13 or 16 gem tokens. Set aside the 4 forest tokens. Place the team tracker on the center of the forest board. Now shuffle the 30 cards and deal 11 cards to each player. Flip over 1 of the remaining 8 cards, this will be the decree card (the most powerful suit). Determine the first player however you wish!
The first player plays a card and the second player follows suit, or if they do not have the same suit they are able to play any card they want. Whoever wins the trick counts the number of footprints at the top of the card near the numbers and moves the team tracker that many spaces towards them. When the team tracker lands on a space with a gem token, the player removes 1 gem token. Game continues until all 11 cards have been played.
To start a new round the players, take all 30 cards, shuffle them, deal out 11 to each player, and then flip 1 of the remaining 8 cards over to be the decree card (the trump card). The team adds 1 gem token to every gem token location with a (+) next to the space. The team also adds 1 forest token to 1 of the partners end space, if any gem tokens would be unattainable you would just shift that gem token to the next closest space. Whoever did not deal out the cards leads the first trick.
What makes The Fox in The Forest Duet a unique trick taking game is that each odd numbered card has a special ability. These special abilities are mostly optional and are the same throughout each suit, and these can save the team in a pinch. My favorite card is the number 9 since if you lead with it your partner can play any card they want!
The only way to win Fox in the Forest Duet is to not have any gem tokens left on the forest board. This can happen at any point during the round.
There are 2 conditions which will make the team lose, both are similar to each other. The first lose condition is if the team moves the team tracker off the board and there are no more forest tokens left in your supply, then the players lose. The second lose condition is after the players have finished their 3rd round and there are still gem tokens on the forest board.