Today I’ll be Reviewing Pikoko by Brain Games The game is suited for for ages 10+, 3-5 players and takes around 30 minimum for a game
Before I go any further, let me show you what you will be playing with
here’s everything for the white player:
Every players gets: A 2 piece hard plastic colored peacock which acts as a card holder, a set of confidence cards and 9 bidding tokens. The last major complaint of this game is the deck of cards itself.
In the deck there’s 5 colors: red, white, blue, purple and yellow. The card values range from 1-13, plus the multicolored cards are interwoven as well. There are only 4 multicolored cards in total. These cards represent 3 out of the 5 colors.
Pikoko is a very unique trick taking played in 3 rounds. Each round has 4 phases: decal, bid, play, score.
Deal- 8 cards are dealt 1 at a time to each player. After the cards are dealt, without looking at them, place them into your peacock with the backs facing you! That’s right, you will never be able to your cards! Once everyone has arranged their peacocks correctly, flip the top card of the remaining cards left over face up. That card will be the Trump suit for the round. If a multicolored card comes up there will be no trump for the round.
Bid- Bidding has 3 steps:
1. The first player marker is given to a random player in the first round. The first player is the first player to be bid on. All other players will take their bidding tokens into their hands. After looking at all the cards you can see, bid on how many tricks the bid target can take! Also keeping in my 0 is a valid bid and if there’s trump or not! Everyone will put their bid in a closed fist and reveal at the same time placing their bid in front of the bid target.
The above process continues until all players have some number of bids from all other players in front of them.
2. After the first stage of bidding, each player will be bidding on themselves using the info they can see and the amount of bidding tokens the may have left.
3. Finally, everyone will bid once more with their confidence cards. At the beginning you have the confidence cards for all players in your game plus your +1 card. Everyone will place a card down. If you bid with a player color, if you bid in that player is spot on, you will score +3 otherwise you loose a point.
Play- After all the various bids are locked in, the hand is now played. Another unique aspect of Pikoko is, you’ll only play cards from the player on your left! Your cards are played by the player on your right! Fallowing this rule, there are some very basic trick taking that must fallowed as well: 1. The first card of a tick can be of any color. 2. All other cards played must be of the the same color if able. If not, you may play any card or a trump card. 3. Once everyone plays a card, a winner is determined. If all cards are of the led color, highest value wins. If there are any trump in the trick, highest played wins.
If someone leads a multicolored card, the player must announce its color. Keep in my multicolored cards act as 3 colors. If when playing a multicolored, please note that if the lead color was yellow and red was trump, the card would be played as a yellow!
The winner of the trick stacks the trick face Down and the player on the right would play s card to start the next trick.
This continues until 8 tricks are played, the we go to scoring
Scoring- At the end of each hand, starting with the start player we will go and look at his bids and score his points. There are three types: correct, close, bad. A correct bid on a player Scores the building player 2 points. A close bid is when that Bid is one higher or one lower than what they actually took. A close bid gives the building player 1 point. A bad bid is when it is off by 2 or more tricks. That gives the betting player zero points
White won 3 tricks
Blue won 4 tricks
Red won 1 trick
White placed 1 on red, 3 on blue and 0 on themselves. Before the conference card is scored, white would have a score of 3 points. Lastly whited reveals his facedown confidence card, which is his +1. This ends up giving white a round 1 grand total of 4 points. If you played a players color and got a correct bid on that player, +3. Otherwise it’s a -1.
Once each player has been scored the new round can start. Pass the first player marker to the left and start a new round. The player with the highest score after three rounds is declared the winner.
My thoughts; When I first heard about this game I was intrigued. After realizing it was like Hanabi and the bidding seemed wierd I wasn’t jumping at the bit to try this one. All the components are very functional, the card holders are nice and sturdy and the cards are nice and thick and reliable. Plus it looks good on the table it’s very colorful and very fun. This game was a little bit hard to figure out at first- as someone who has played a lot of trick taking games over the years this one really was rough for me at the beginning trying to get my head wrapped around. But once I did it made sense and it is quite enjoyable. I will admit shortly after this game came out, I saw many people saying that this got them into trick taking games and I was surprised. This is definitely not a good choice for starting someone out on trick taking games. There are many other simpler trick taking games that a new player can pick up way quicker and understand efficiently. Once you figure this game out though it’s a great little filler