I bought Mascarade this week based on a Shut Up and Sit Down review by Matt Lees, who is much better at explaining games than at cooking.
One of the main reasons I wanted to buy it was because you can play the game with up to 13 people! There’s so few big group games that more are always welcome. It’s also kind of the successor to Citadels, a game that we have gotten a lot of mileage out of over the years.
The crux behind Mascarade is bluffing. You each have a rolecard that you can’t look at again, and it tends to get shuffled around a lot. You can claim you are the King, and if no one calls you on it, you can do the Kings action. If someone does call you on it, it’s time to flip the cards and see! Much of the comedy and chaos comes from not being quite sure yourself what you are. As your only goal is to get 13 gold and you start at six, play goes quite fast. A single game only lasts half an hour.
So far we’ve only been able to play it with four, and though that was pleasant, it hasn’t quite brought the beautiful chaos that we were promised.
It also seems to suffer from Munchkin-like proportions of Kingmaker, where in the end you all have to work together to stop person X from winning, and so person Y will win instead.
So yeah, we’re not convinced by it yet. With four, we’d much prefer to play the more devious but equally chaotic game of Love Letter. We’ll have to bring Mascarade to the first available group outing and see how it holds up.