Prophecy is a trick-taking game and they continue to be very popular with publishers rummaging through their old collections and revamping them for an audience eager to consume everything trick taking adjacent.
Iello have recently published three games all of which are rethemed older trick takers and I have really enjoyed Foodie Forest and The Dwarf King. So, I was very excited to get Prophecy to the table, which is a remake of Raven (a game I had not played before).
Can you predict the future and tell whether or not I enjoyed my plays of Prophecy? It’s probably best to read on to find out.
How To Play
Prophecy is a fairly standard trick taking game with 4 suits and 4 special cards. Before you play your first trick you need to look at your cards and make a prediction of how many tricks you think you will win. Then you need to use your cards to confirm this prediction. This is done by using the red cards as a zero (0), the white cards as a one (1), the orange cards as a two (2) and the green cards as a three (3). As an example, if you use 1 green, 1 orange and 1 red card as your prediction you would be stating you expect to win 5 tricks in total (3 for the green, 2 for the orange and 0 for the red).
In the first and last round all predictions are kept secret. In all of the other 6 rounds (yes, you read that right, there are 8 rounds in a standard game), only the player (s) who are winning have to reveal their prediction before the other players make theirs.
The card play is very basic with the highest card winning, trump suits change each round (according to a wheel) and will beat all other suits. There are 4 special cards which can either definitely win, lose or be slightly higher than the card played just prior to it.
Once all the tricks have been completed players are awarded 1 point per trick collected and a bonus number of points for correctly predicting their total.
Components / Art / Variants
The game looks amazing on the table with very detailed art and some lovely extra touches such as the spinning wheel for trumps and the wooden chips used to mark your predictions. I am surprised that a score pad wasn’t included or something to keep track of your scores, especially as the standard game lasts 8 rounds and takes over 30 minutes.
The game includes a shorter variant in the instructions where only 5 rounds are played. In the final round of this variant there is only one card that can be used a trump. Why this wasn’t included in the standard game is a real surprise to me.
The game does not play well at two players and I would not have included it on the box as an option. In a two-player game each player only plays one card per trick. This type of trick taking does not make for an exciting game. It would have been better if the deck had played a random card or maybe each player played two cards per trick.
Despite the gorgeous artwork and lovely components Prophecy becomes fairly unforgettable once it has been taken off the table. It doesn’t add anything new to the trick taking genre and takes too long to complete a whole game. There is a shorter variant (5 rounds instead of 8) but even then, I can think of about 20 other trick takers I would rather be playing.
Because the strongest hand always wins the gameplay feels very dated like trick takers from 20 years ago.
If more special cards had been included, or more special rounds, or a penalty for missed predictions I could imagine enjoying the game a whole lot more, but as it is I recommend you look elsewhere for your trick taking needs.