Game Buzz: Belle of the Ball

I’m at a point right now where there are SOOOO many upcoming games that I want to talk about, it’s kind of overwhelming and I don’t know where to begin.  So let’s start on Kickstarter:

image by BGG user ckirkman
image by BGG user ckirkman

Belle of the Ball is a new game coming from Dice Hate Me Games and designer Daniel Solis.  It’s a “fancy schmancy” game for 2-4 players that takes 30 minutes.  In an age that is dominated by goblins, dragons, and other fantasy creatures, it’s kind of refreshing to see a game all about throwing a party and trying to lure guests.  The Kickstarter is running until September 22, and is already well past its funding goal.

image by BGG user ckirkman
image by BGG user ckirkman

Belle of the Ball comes with 60 guest cards, 27 belle cards, 3 double sided score cards, and eight score markers, with more stuff planned if the game achieves its stretch goals.  At the beginning of he game, each player is dealt three guest cards face down (four with two players) – these are called regrets, and are kept face down.  Five cards from the guest deck and five cards from the belle deck are dealt into rows, and each player is dealt three face up guests.  These three cards form the beginnings of your groups.

On a turn, you’ll first play a belle card, then invite a guest or belle card, then score points from full groups.

PLAY A BELLE: It has to come from your hand.  Belle cards either have instant effects, or are placed in one of your or your opponent’s groups.  You can’t play into a full group, and a full group is one with four cards.

INVITE A GUEST OR BELLE: Take the first card in the guest or belle line.  You can take a card that is further back, but you have to pay one regret per card you skip.  This is the exact same mechanism as used in Small World – regrets stay next to the skipped cards, and are taken when someone takes the card.  Belle cards are placed into your hand, while guest cards are placed in groups that are not full.

SCORE POINTS FROM FULL GROUPS: If a group has four cards, you score it.  Each guest has a set of interests on the top.  Each interest that is matched by more than one guest scores one point.  Any single interests score nothing.  Belles in the group may adjust your totals.

The game continues until all guests are gone from the line.  At this point, you get one half point per guest, belle, and regret you have left.  The player with the most points wins.

Belle of the Ball looks like a very light, simple set collection game.  It looks like it will be easy to understand, and some good strategies as you try to get a wide variety of matching interests.  Adding belles gives you more points, but also takes up a slot in your group, so it seems that you’ll need to be clever with your use of those.

The theme of this game is very family friendly, and the presence of a Disney-ish lady on the cover may bring in some players that may not try it otherwise (and will probably end up turning away some of the more hardcore gamers that wouldn’t like it anyway).  I appreciate the sense of humor in the names of the guests – Gigglelack Lololol?  Pantspantspants Patchpaw?  I don’t know who came up with these, whether Dice Hate Me, Daniel Solis, or a random five year old, but I find them hilarious.

So that’s Belle of the Ball.  Check it out on Kickstarter – you have a little more than two weeks from the time of this posting.  There’s also a print-and-play file on the Kickstarter page so you can try out the game before you try if you wish.  Thanks for reading!

Thanks for reading!

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