Squire For Hire

RRP: £8.99
Now £3.99(SAVE 55%)
RRP £8.99
Expected Restock Date 01/03/2024
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Your day has finally come — a famous adventurer has hired YOU to be their squire! When your hero completes quests, defeats baddies, and takes all the credit, they also earn loot, which you get the great honor of carrying! Squire for Hire is an 18-card, tile-laying inventory management game for 1-2 players that takes about 15-20 min to play. Players compete to get the highest scori…
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Category SKU ZBG-LTMUM016 Availability Backorder
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Awards

Rating

  • Artwork
  • Complexity
  • Replayability
  • Player Interaction
  • Component Quality

You Might Like

  • Easy to learn, hard to master
  • Cracking crunch for its size
  • Portable
  • Super solo game
  • Infinitely replayable

Might Not Like

  • Maxes out at 2 player
  • Rules are so compact that some clarifications are missed
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Description

Your day has finally come — a famous adventurer has hired YOU to be their squire! When your hero completes quests, defeats baddies, and takes all the credit, they also earn loot, which you get the great honor of carrying!

Squire for Hire is an 18-card, tile-laying inventory management game for 1-2 players that takes about 15-20 min to play. Players compete to get the highest scoring bag of items for their hero by the end of the story deck.

Each player takes on the role of a random squire card, taking turns completing story cards and adding loot to their bag for points. You can complete story cards one of two ways: 1) having enough item value (the combined number of spaces an item type takes up in your bag) or 2) using an item (covering up an item in your bag with a new loot card). If you can complete a story card, you get to pick one of two loot cards to add to your bag; to do so, at least one full item must be placed within empty or full squares. You can cover any number of other items in your bag as long as the entire item is covered.

Once all story cards have been exhausted, players add up their scores. Add 1 point for each regular item, 1 point for each pair of identical items side-by-side, and extra points for conditions met on your squire card. Visible junk items reduce your score by 1 point each, so cover them up whenever possible!

Keep vital items in your bag for when you need them, pack efficiently for extra points, and eliminate junk to be the squire with the highest scoring bag! Play solo to beat your own high score with all of the cards.

Does a game have to be big to have value? Does it need eleventy billion components to give you board gaming bang for your buck? As I have grown into my cardboard collection, I am constantly reminded that some of my smallest games are the most valuable to me.

Games I value are those I play over and over and over again. Games that can be played on a small surface area (have you tried sharing a table with a 7-year-old?), in a short time, by me alone or with others (if I share!) are my most prized. And micro games like Squire for Hire hit all of those tick boxes.

I have written a separate How to Play blog which you can find here, so this feature will focus on why I play it and why I think you might like it too!

Squires Assemble

Squire for Hire is a microgame. 18 cards wrapped in a tiny tuck box, the inside of which has the rules printed upon. So there’s no need or even room for an insert! But don’t let that fool you into thinking they’ve squeezed out the fun. For these Squires are packing some cool crunch in their backpacks, and they know it!

The base game (core set 1) includes 4 unique squires with asymmetrical powers. As a loyal and strong Squire, your objective is a simple one. You must fill the bag you are carrying with all the loot your hero is accumulating when they complete quests and defeat baddies!

Which Squire you play determines how valuable certain items can become. Everything that isn’t “junk” has a baseline value of 1 point when it is visible in your bag at end game. But, if you can place cards in such a way that trigger’s your special bonus power, then those items increase in value. Each one also manipulates the negative scoring of visible junk items which is super handy!

Patching For Points

The gameplay is simple. Every turn you decide if your hero can or wants to complete a Story (Quest/Encounter/Dungeon) based on the items you have in your bag. You don’t technically need to do anything – this isn’t a DnD adventure. You just need the required size of items already in your bag, or be prepared to cover the specified item up with the card you pick from the two Loot cards available. If your hero doesn’t or can’t complete the Story, the card gets flipped over to the loot side and you place it on one of the piles either side of the deck.

Placement is by way of patching; the new card must completely cover an item in your bag. It can cover as many things as you like (including junk), so long as it covers the item specified on the Story card (if you are “using” an item to take the card).

When the deck runs out, you can shuffle the cards in the loot piles and go through those once more. In solo mode, you only get to go through the deck once. Then it’s time to score. Whoever has the most points is the superior Squire! And in solo mode, you’ll be hired if you reach a minimum of 25 points!

Final Thoughts

There are so many things I love in this little game. It’s portable – I defy you to find a pocket in which it will not fit! It has multi-use cards. It can be played solo. It has cracking crunchy, patchy placement play. It’s budget-friendly.  It can be played in under 20 minutes. And it’s infinitely replayable!

What it isn’t is flash. Or complicated. Or component-heavy. Or epically lengthy. But as I have expanded my gaming experience, I don’t value those things. This is a quick-to-the-table-or-anywhere type game that is simple to learn but very tricky to master! The artwork is cute and cartoony which I like – anthropomorphised woodland animals are always a hit for me! I would say the micro size does mean the rules have been made as brief as possible. But it can lead to some questions/scenarios being unclear (but that’s where BGG forums come in!).

Having to match over valuables based on the size of items, or covering items trying to pair up adjacent items makes this a game of trade-offs. You’ll invariably be giving something potentially point scoring each turn. So can you make the sacrifice worth it? Keeping track of junk sounds easy. But the composition of each card is peppered with bits and bobs your Squire power might not be able to modify. Yes there is an element of luck – the random order in which the cards come off the deck will determine which items and junk will feature next.

But having different Squires with unique bonuses is great and is a way to mitigate the draw effect. I have played this a bunch of times now and I seem to squeak a win with some and lose hard with others. Their individual combinations of abilities is neat – Tenderfoot has a good adjacency bonus, but getting the group junk power to trigger is super hard. It often leads me to accumulating more random rubbish than valuables!

I won’t lie. My favourite way to play Squire for Hire is solo. But it’s also good fun playing against another Squire! I think I was only 3 or 4 games in when I liked it so much that I bought the Mystic Runes expansion (the extra Squire pack is also on my Christmas wish list!). And whilst I seem to be truly terrible at being hired, I’ll never stop lugging my hero’s’ bag of loot around in the hope of being hired.

I love games that fit in my pocket. Small boxes of fun that I can take out and about. And Squire for Hire is exactly that; a pick it up, pocket it, and play anywhere type game!

A fellow blogger has already given their thoughts on their experiences, but how do you play the super inventory management game, Squire for Hire? Well, I am here to give you a brief run-down so that you (and a fellow gamer if you’re in the mood to share!) can hit the table running if you decide to dive in!

Set Up

As with almost all micro games, set up is a breeze!

Unwrap the cards and separate the Squire cards from the 18 double sided Story/Loot cards. There are 4 unique Squires in the base set, and each one has a special ability. Usually this relates to how “junk” is valued at the end of the game, and they award bonus points for being able to pair specific items when placing them in your bag.

For example, GUST focuses on weapons. He boosts points for placing swords and bows adjacently, and increases the size of your weapon Loot (which helps when deciding if you can complete a Story without “using” an item – see more below). GUST also turns skulls (which would normally be junk) into point scoring items at end game.

Once both players have been given a random Squire, deal 2 Loot cards to each, placing the remaining cards Story side up in a deck in the centre. Choose one from the 2 dealt – that is the beginning of your own bag – then shuffle the discarded ones back into the deck. Flip over the top two cards of the Story deck to show the Loot side and place one either side of the Story deck.

Load Up

Each round, players will take it in turns to look at the Story on the top of the deck. On your turn, you can decide if you want to complete the Quest/Encounter/Dungeon by either (a) having the required amount and type of Loot in your bag already, or (b) by covering up the specific item shown on the Story card with an item shown on one of the two cards available (this is called “use an item”).

You can cover up more than just the specific item required. And this new card must be placed so that one item on your original card is completely covered by an item on your new card. The item you cover up can’t be “junk” like skulls, apple cores, glasses etc (although you can cover these up too). If you get in a muddle between Loot and Junk, the rules list them out. Junk is basically anything in a shaded box.

As each card is divided into squares, it’s easiest to count the number of squares each item takes up and then make sure your new item goes over the required amount of squares taken up by the item to be covered.

Note that if you already have the required amount of loot to complete that Story card in your bag, you can pick either one of the two cards and place it anywhere. But you must still completely cover at least one complete item or junk in your bag with an item shown on the new card.

Handy Hint: don’t forget to check your Squire card as they boost the “value” of specific items as well as tell you the bonus points you’ll achieve if you can place adjacent pairs of specific items together (or even collect certain junk items)!

If you can’t complete the Story (or you don’t want to), you must pass, and that Story card is flipped over to the Loot side. Then you choose to which of the two piles it will be added (covering up the Loot card underneath if any). Note that if you don’t or can’t complete a Dungeon Story, your opponent gets a chance to complete it. But if neither player can or wants to, it gets flipped in the usual way and added to whichever pile you decide.

When the Story deck runs out, take back the two piles and shuffle them to form a new deck and continue to play. When only 3 cards remain, flip one as the final story and place the other two either side. If only one card is left and it’s your turn, you can take it for free and just add it to your bag.

Then it’s scoring time! Each visible item (weapon, armour, magic, valuable or potion) in your bag scores one point and each junk item is a minus point. Double points are awarded for adjacent pairs (no diagonals allowed), and check your Squire for point scoring combos as they enhance and modify the value of specific items based on their special ability!

Solo Squires

The solo rules for Squire for Hire are exactly the same – each turn you decide if you are going to complete the Story and add items to your bag, covering up items and junk already lurking in there! The only difference is that the winning condition for the solo game is that you must achieve a minimum score of 25 points in order to be hired as a Squire!

I hope this helps your first go at Squire for Hire!

Zatu Score

Rating

  • Artwork
  • Complexity
  • Replayability
  • Player Interaction
  • Component Quality

You might like

  • Easy to learn, hard to master
  • Cracking crunch for its size
  • Portable
  • Super solo game
  • Infinitely replayable

Might not like

  • Maxes out at 2 player
  • Rules are so compact that some clarifications are missed