Triggs card game review: A four-sided review

Triggs card game review, box

The Triggs card game is a 20-30 minute family card game for 2-4 players that are aged roughly eight and up. It’s a colorful abstract game you can teach to anyone, and is undoubtedly family-friendly. Plus, the kind of addition players need to be doing during the game makes it a perfect teaching tool to use in the classroom.

Looking at comparison site Board Game Prices, you can find it for around £20. It is only currently available in the UK as an import from Germany. However, despite that, it’s a pretty reasonable price for a card game now and it is unlikely to be much less if it gets an official UK release. The card stock is the typical sound quality you’d expect from publisher NSV. Unfortunately, while the cards are colourful and clear they are also lacking in any kind of style or imagination.

Teaching Triggs

Triggs is a very simple card game to teach. Each player takes a score sheet, finds a pen or pencil (nope, none are provided), and is dealt five cards. Three draw piles are then created in the middle of the table from what’s left of the game’s 108 cards, two face up and one face down. Players take turns clockwise until one of you completes their sheet, winning the game immediately.

Each game sheet is identical, having the numbers 1-12 descending down the sheet in an increasing number of boxes. There are two boxes for one, two, and three, going up to five boxes for the numbers 11 and 12. On their turn, a player must take one of three actions:

  • Draw two cards from any draw piles
  • Discard any number of cards of a single number (you have a 10-card hand limit)
  • Play cards to cross off numbered boxes

You can only play cards that equal one number, but you can add two cards together to do so. So for example, you could play an 11, a five and six, plus a three and eight, to make three 11s. You would then cross three 11s off of your score sheet. If you finish a number, you get to cross off any other box of your choice as a bonus. And that is basically that.

The four sides

Triggs card game review, cards and scorepad

These are me, plus three fictitious players drawn from observing my friends and their respective quirks and play styles.

  • The writer: Triggs is a simple mathsy card game that you can teach young children and grandma alike. It’s a clever design that works well, and it can build tension as you near the end as it is essentially a race to the finish.
  • The thinker: There is nothing at all for me here.
  • The trasher: Triggs has no real interaction. As there are nine cards of each value in the deck and cards can be added together to make the numbers you need, even hate drafting is largely off the table. Especially as the bonus move lets players get the numbers they’re missing.
  • The dabbler: This is a nice little filler game to play with the kids, or maybe at a family birthday or Christmas. It’s nice to have a few games that anyone can pick up quickly, and there’s enough luck involved to mean the cleverest players aren’t necessarily going to win.

Key Triggs observations

Nice is the word that keeps coming up when talking about Triggs. A nice little game. A nice little mechanism. A nice little filler. But is ‘nice’ enough in such a crowded market? Especially with such a bland if colourful presentation, it isn’t going to win many over by looks alone.

There are definitely choices to make, but how much effect they have on the outcome remains uncertain. I’ve seen players take all the obvious routes to victory, including going low numbers first, high first, or filling the sheet with all but one of each number and cascading most of them with bonuses to finish. But luck isn’t the enemy of a short family card game, so that’s not really a problem.

I think it will really find its mark as a teaching tool, and as a nice addition to the ‘play with non-gamers toolbox. It will also make a nice little stocking filler in the lead-up to Christmas, especially for kids who have a bit of trouble getting excited about maths and you want to do a bit of stealth addition training. But I can’t see it replacing anything in a gamer’s library.

Conclusion: Triggs card game review

Instead of staying in my collection, Triggs will be winging its way to a local primary school classroom to give some teachers a welcome break during the occasional maths lesson. It’s a solid game, but not one that provides enough to ever get pulled from my shelves to the table. It’s a sold six-ish out of 10. But a small box card game needs to be a little more than that to hang around these days. Hopefully, it will instead engage some maths-averse kids.

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