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10 years later I bust out Parade and it's still as great as it was when I first started playing it. It's still my favorite of all of this kind of game (get the most of a color, balanced against your opponent). Yeah the cards themselves are kind of blah but whatevs - the game is a blast and intensely cutthroat.
A brilliant marriage of gameplay and theme. It feels topsy-turvy and a little ridiculous in a stressful sort of way. Cant help getting the feeling that the world of this game knows more than I do.
GAMEPLAY Parade is a fishing-style game with an Alice in Wonderland theme. On a turn, a player plays one of the cards from their hand to a river (called “parade” here) of cards. If the number of the card t played is less than the line length, a player takes any cards that are the same color and any cards that have the same number or lower. When the deck is exhausted or when one player has all six colors in their tableau, players take one last turn. The player who has the fewest penalty points is the winner. THOUGHTS For a card game that comes down to play a card and potentially take a card or cards, Parade is deceptively clever. There are no special powers or crunchy strategies to speak of: just a simple valuation of low and high numbers where a 0 can be just as powerful as a 10 depending on the situation. The scoring has a great twist in that players normally take penalty points by totaling up the values on the cards for a given suit. However, if you have more cards of the suit than your opponent, you only take 1 point per card instead of getting points for the values of the cards. Parade is basically about trying to punch yourself in your privates as gently as possible. Great that this title is finally back in print. PROS -The Alice in Wonderland theme doesn’t draw me in but Z-Man has done a nice job with the new edition; it looks infinitely better than the first edition. -Easy to teach and play. -Works well both at two and three players. (I’m skeptical about a higher player count.) -Not only is the gameplay fun, but the twists with the final turn and the scoring make for some tense moments when it could have just been count up your points. CONS -My only complaint is that the cards, while linen-finished, are quite flimsy.
I love the scoring mechanic of this game as it creates a fun balance between staying small or going huge, but the rest of the game doesn't warrant the effort. The mechanic associated with removing cards from the Parade is convoluted and bogs the game down. I'd rather play David & Goliath which implements a very similar scoring mechanism, unless I'm dealing with a very small group, in which case I would play something else entirely.