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Awards

Rating

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

You Might Like

  • Traitor’s Dilemma phase creates an interesting choice for those involved
  • Elimination is only for the round and not the whole game

Might Not Like

  • Very limited deduction game play
  • No actual hidden roles to develop
  • Lack of tension
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The Traitors Review

The Traitors

If you have been watching the BBC recently, there’s a good chance you’ll have seen a reality show called The Traitors. 22 ordinary folk, a cavalcade of black Range Rovers, one Scottish castle, and Claudia Winkleman wafting around in oversized turtleneck jumpers. Given her penchant for heavy fringe-action, if her collars get any bigger, I’m pretty sure she will disappear entirely!

Any hoo, the idea of the show is that everybody is competing to win a maximum prize pot of £120k. They work in teams to boost the cash, but really everyone is out for themselves. 3 of the contestants are traitors and the rest are “faithful”. Traitors pick off the goody-goodies one by one unless the faithfuls can expose the murderous mayhem makers first. It’s a cacophony of backstabbing, blaming, bizarre outpourings of fleeting affection, and honest-to-goodness betrayal. But psychological fisty cuffs generally makes for good telly.

And someone thought it would also make a good card game. Bring the murder for money motivation to game nights everywhere with The Traitors Card Game!

Mo Money, Mo Murder?

You’ll need at least 3 other treacherous terrors to play The Traitors as is it for 4 – 8 players. As our household is usually a 2-3 bods around the board affair, we drafted in our not-yet-game addicted but willing friends.

I should point out that this is not technically a social deduction game. You won’t be eyeballing your opponents throughout the rounds to see who is letting slip their traitorous ways like they do on screen. It’s a card drafting game where you are trying to collect as many gold coins as you can. But faithfuls and traitors abound and so there is a link back in there somewhere!

So, having committed to cards, you decide how many rounds you want to play. And each turn, you draw a card from the deck and play a card from your hand. To increase the prize pot, those players who are faithful will need to work together to bump up the coffers. I mean, you can keep gold cards in your own stash (selfo!), but adding them to the collective treasure pile boosts the potential winnings at end game. And if you’re sharing the loot, I bet you’d rather have a share of more than less!

Night time is when murder takes place. Just like the TV show, those players who have a Traitor card can bump off an unsuspecting faithful. When the deck reveals a night card (which get added in after players have been dealt their hand), one Traitor per round can attempt a murder with a weapon card. If the victim has no shield, they are offed until the next round and the Traitor gets all their cards. A round ends when the Last Night Card at the bottom of the deck is revealed or there are just two players left.

Those two get a couple more turns then if they are both still in the game, it’s time for the Traitor’s Dilemma to decide what they want to do next. Now, if you are one of the final two, you can pop your hoodie up and pretend to huddle in a stone turret a la the BBC. Or you can just take a Faithful and a Betrayal card and decide what you are in your heart; pure or devilish!

If you both choose to reveal a Faithful card, you'll split the collected gold coins from the pot thus far. If only you choose betrayal, you get everything. If you both choose Betrayal, everything in the shared hoard is lost! Then a new round begins with all players resurrected. Whoever has the most gold coins at the end of the final round is the winner!

Final Thoughts

The Traitors is a card game that could have been much more. Given how back-stabby the show upon which it is based becomes, each episode I was expecting more actual social deduction game play. What it is seems to be more hand management shaken up by a big dose of luck – both of the draw and push variety. Adding coins to the collective pot feels less personal when you don’t have a shield in your hand. You won’t be directly adding to the Traitor’s own hoard if you are ended by them early. But if you are packing protection then hoarding gold for yourself seems like a sensible idea, short term at least. Likewise, nobody in the show seems to know who the Traitors are – their true identity is hidden until they make a misstep. But here, you can reveal your true colours at any time and that tension instantly dissolves. The Traitor’s Dilemma phase is the most interesting part for us – it’s a straight up gamble between the last two standing. Do you think your opponent will value half the hoard more than they will risk losing it all to come out on top?

Zatu Score

Rating

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

You might like

  • Traitors Dilemma phase creates an interesting choice for those involved
  • Elimination is only for the round and not the whole game

Might not like

  • Very limited deduction game play
  • No actual hidden roles to develop
  • Lack of tension

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