Do you like some gossip? Do you know everything about your beloved celebrities? Are you always looking for some juicy news? If this is the case and you also happen to love boardgames, you are the right person and we could work together to discover some new gossip in ScandalOh!.
Published by Megacorpin Games, ScandalOh! is a nice deduction game in which each players gather clues and information in order to bring a new scandal to light. The game uses the same Brilliant Deck System designed for their previous game, Awkward Guests, to allow thousand of possible scenarios and re-playability.
How You Uncover A Scandal?
In a game of ScandalOh!, 1 to 6 players will need to investigate and solve a different journalistic case. To achieve this goal, players will need to collect and analyse the clues detailed on the cards composing that specific scenario.
Before each game players need to build a deck of cards specific to the scenario they want to play. The rulebook contains 36 different cases and details a subset of the 250 cards for each of them. As the cards are numbered, putting the scenario deck together requires only a few minutes.
The game is then played in rounds. At the beginning of each round, players receive 7 cards and they can track the clues received using a colourful track sheet. The information to look for are the type of scandal, which celebrity is involved and which newspaper will be willing to publish the story. All these details are provided to the players by the network of contacts around the five celebrities.
During the round, players have a chance to exchange information with their opponents using a sort of bidding system. A player could in fact ask for information which they are interested and all the other players can offer one or more cards with the requested references. If the player accepts the offer, they need to trade some cards from their hand in return allowing all players to gather more informations on what's going on. Once all players had the chance to ask for information, the round ends and new cards are collected.
Collecting informations in only one part of the game. In order to win, players will need to combine the clues to understand which characters in the network may lead them to the right piece of information. The details provided (or not provided) by some characters can also allow players to exclude any celebrity that is not involved in a scandal and which story a newspaper would like to publish or not. Overall, players will need to do some deduction work to get the solution right.
The player or players who uncover the scandal first obviously win.
What In The Box?
The core of the game are five sets of 50 cards each for a total of 250 cards detailing all the clues you need to play the game scenarios. All cards are numbered and each deck has the back coloured differently to simplify setup and wrap up of each scenario. In case you are wondering, numbering and colour of the cards are not linked to their clues, it is just a useful strategy to avoid lengthy preparation.
Overall, the way the cards are managed is quite efficient but if you are looking to exploit it at its best I would recommend to download the small app suggested in the rulebook. In fact, the cards needed for each scenario are only listed in black in white in the rulebook while they come divided in their deck colour in the app. Although using the rulebook would just require a bit more time during the setup, I feel the scenarios should have used the colour code too in the first place.
Together with the cards, the box include 50 double sided player track sheets, 6 players screens and a few tokens including a really good sized First Player token. Player track sheets are really nicely designed and they are easy to use. Considering how many clues a player may need to record, I really appreciate the clever use of colours and icons. One recommendation: ensure you use a felt tip pen to write on them as a pencil may not be a good choice. If you want, a copy of these sheets is also available for download on the publisher site.
Player screens are also a nice examples of a well thought component. On the inside, Megacorpin have summarized all the possible type of clues and some useful aids to help players investigate the scenario. Having a player screen that double in player aid is definitely a great idea.
On the other hand, I felt most of the provided token are not really needed. The only one I used so far are the three arrows and the clue reference sheet used to support the request/offer phase. The other tokens are really not needed and I wish the First Player token could have been made to be attached on top of a player screen as keeping it on a side does not help much.
Overall, components are well designed and of good quality.
Overall, ScandalOh! is really a good game and if you like solving puzzles with your logic skills and deduct a solution before everyone else, this game is definitely for you. The game does not have many rules to learn and gets to the table quite fast but new players should be aware that it may take a few games to grasp the logic behind the clue mechanism.
In fact the investigation is completely build around the network of characters connected to the personalities of the game. These characters provide one of the three elements that compose each scandal and this information could be used to identify which scandal is most probable and which one of the personalities could be involved. This could lead to ask more specific questions and progressively discover all the needed information.
Once the game mechanics grasped, this game will actually be very fun and could lead to some interesting player interactions. Would you share all your clues nicely? Or would you keep the more informative ones for yourself? Would you only offers clues that fit a player request or would you aim to get more cards in return?
Overall ScandalOh! is a good game with a nice production value and a nice mechanic. In terms of longevity, players could enjoy a good amount of scenarios right off the box. In addition, you could use the app to chose one of these scenario randomly and this could increase a lot the longevity of the game.