Cahoots by Mayday Games Review

Theme and What is it?

You and your fellow players are in a spy’s game of intrigue, where everyone is both ally and enemy. Play your cards right and you’ll find yourself on top! 

Gameplay Mechanics

There are six suits in the game: hearts, spades, clubs, diamonds, cups, and stars. Each player is given an identity, a card with three suits pictured on it. Each identity card has exactly one suit in common with each other identity card. 

In a four player game, a hand of twelve cards is dealt to each player, using all the cards in the deck. The dealer lays down a card from her deck, face up, in the middle. Play goes clockwise until each player has laid down two cards. The suit with the highest score (cards number four through eight) wins the trick, and the players with that suit on their identity card each get two points. 

If two suits tie for the most points, things get a bit interesting. Let’s say hearts scores 15 and so does spades. Players A and B have hearts on their identity cards, and Players C and D have spades on theirs. Each player wins one point. If hearts and cups tie for the most points, Player A has both of those pictured on his identity card. He announces that he’s in “cahoots” and he scores all four points for himself. Four points are always assigned each round. 

Initial Impressions

I liked the compact box the deck came in, making it easy to take on trips or to game night. The spy theme on the box held my interest and the promise of a quick game (20 to 30 minutes) was appealing as well.

Game Build Quality

The box is thick, textured cardboard with a nice feel to it. The instruction manual is concise, but thorough. The cards themselves are also textured and shuffle very nicely. They’ll definitely hold up to repeated use.

Artistic Direction

The box art plays with lights and shadows. The name of the game, “Cahoots” is written in shadow above the two spies’ heads. Each spy, one male, one female, is dressed in a 1920’s era blue suit with a gun held at the ready. 

I was very pleased to note that not only does the art include a female character, but that the female character has dark skin, too. Way to represent, Mayday Games! 

Fun Factor

I played with some family that we had over one night, and we enjoyed the first game so much that we played it again immediately. We had three adults and a preteen at the table and none of us were above being double agents. There was a lot of laughter and good-natured arguing that night.

Age Range & Weight

My nine-year-old didn’t want to learn this one because he was afraid he’d have to do a lot of bluffing, and that just confuses him. After playing with adults and my niece, I do think my son would be very capable of playing this game. The box suggests ages 12+, but it could be played by younger children. Anyone old enough to understand a bit of basic arithmetic could play.

Conclusions

Let me begin by saying that my father-in-law does NOT like to learn new games. He plays Euchre, and that’s about it. Cahoots takes familiar elements — numbered cards, the four traditional suits plus two more, winning suit taking the trick — and I think it’s just familiar enough for someone like my father-in-law to learn quickly and enjoy. 

Again, the compact size of the game is a huge bonus when I’m considering which games to bring with me to various events. 

It’s fun, and it’s just competitive enough, while still being a light, friendly game. It’s a winner in my book!

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