Sailor Moon Crystal: Truth or Bluff is a game published by Dyskami Publishing Company and inspired by Jacques Zeimet’s Cockroach Poker and other passing/bluffing games. It is for 3-8 players. In this game, players will be playing tiles and trying to score success tokens. Of course they’ll have to be careful as the other players may be bluffing about which character tile they laid down. In the end, the player that makes the most accurate choices and gathers the most points on their success tokens will be declared the winner.
To begin, all the Success tokens are placed into the small cloth bag. Each player is given a plastic tile holder, which they will place in front of themself. The Ending tile that reads, “The game ends when one player needs to play a tile and has none in their tile holder,” is placed in the middle of the table. Another Ending tile is chosen, either randomly or by consensus from the group, and placed beside the first tile. The remaining Ending tiles are set aside and not used in this game. A number of Character tile sets and Villain tiles are placed into the large cloth bag. The number of tiles is determined by the number of players. The specific tiles that are used are based on the number printed on the left side of the tile. This number indicates the minimum number of players needed to add those particular tiles. The rulebook includes a chart which tells when to use the White Character tiles, how many Character sets are used, how many are not used and the number of Villain tiles added as well. For more information, please check the rulebook. Once the correct type and amount of tiles have been added to the large draw bag, players will randomly draw out 12 tiles each and place them standing up into their plastic tile holder. The first player is chosen and play now begins.
The game is played over a series of rounds. Each round the starting player will remove a tile from their plastic tile holder and place it face down on the table in front of them. They will then slide the tile across the table to any opponent of their choice. The player then states the identity of the character on the tile. This statement can be either true or false, as determined by the player. The player that receives the tile then has two choices. They can either Initiate a Challenge or Look and Pass. The first choice is to Initiate a Challenge. To do this, the player will either declare truth, if they think the tile is exactly who their opponent declared earlier, or they will declare bluff, if they think that their opponent was not truthful of the tile’s identity. Once this is done, the player will then flip the tile over. If the player was correct on their response, then the passing player will collect the tile and place it face up in front of themself in their play area. If they were incorrect in their assumption, then the receiving player collects the tile and places it face up in front of themself in their play area. The player that won the challenge and did not collect a tile will then draw a random Success Token from the small bag. The token is placed face down near them. It should be noted that the player may look at the token but must keep it secret from their opponents.
The other choice that the receiving player may make is to Look and Pass. To do this, the player will look at the tile to confirm it’s identity. They will then perform the same actions as the player that passed it to them, except that they can’t pass the tile to the starting player or to another player that has already passed the same tile. Once the tile is passed, the player declares the identity on the tile, either true or false. If the tile has been passed to every player except the final one, then they may only choose to Initiate a Challenge. The player that collected the tile and placed it face up in their play area now becomes the starting player for the next round. A new round will then begin. One thing of note, Villain tiles may be played instead of normal Character tiles. In this case, the passing player must choose one of the other identities to declare when passing it. If the receiving player chooses to Look and Pass, then they must also do the same thing. If the receiving player chooses to Initiate a Challenge instead, then the only correct answer would be bluff. If bluff was declared, then the receiving player collects the Villain tile. If truth was declared, then the passing player collects the tile. The player that collects the tile will then immediately perform the bonus action indicated on the tile, if possible. That player will then start a new round by selecting and passing a tile.
The game continues until one or both of the Ending tiles conditions have been met. Whenever this happens, the game end is triggered. Whichever player triggered the game’s end is defeated and can not win the game. The remaining players will add up the values of their Success tokens. The player that has the most points is the winner.
This game has some really cute and fun components. First there are all the different tiles. There are Character tiles, Villain tiles and Ending tiles. The Character tiles have a picture of one of the heroic characters from the Sailor Moon universe in chibi form. For those that don’t know what chibi is, well that is a Japanese style of art where the character has a large head and small body. There are 8 different characters in 12 sets. One of the sets of Character tiles is composed of white Character tiles. These tiles are special and may cause a end game condition. However they function normally when declaring the tile’s identity. There are also Villain tiles which are more normal anime style artwork. These look more like the actual villains from the show. The Ending tiles have a clouded background and text on them. These tell the players when to end the game. I have to say, I really like the artwork on the Character and Villain tiles. They are really cute and fun. My daughter especially liked the chibi style designs of the various heroes. Each of these tiles is made of thick cardboard and are really good quality. Also made of thick cardboard are the Success tokens. These come in values of 1, 2 and 3. Each of these has a number and a piece of art on them. The 1 has a bow with a broach. The 2 has a picture of a Moon Stick. The 3 value has a picture of the Legendary Silver Crystal. I’ll be honest, it’s been a long time since I watched the show, so I’m not sure exactly what all these images are. Regardless, the tokens look really cool and fit in with the theme of the game nicely. Next there are the plastic tile holders. The game comes with 8 of these to hold each player’s tiles with. These are actually pretty cool and work quite well. The final pieces are the 2 cloth draw bags. There’s a larger bag for the Character tiles and a smaller one for the Success tokens. These bags are very good quality. The larger one is sort of pink with little moons and what appears to be bunny heads on it. The smaller one is black and has the game’s logo in white on it. Both of them have draw string closures. Needless to say, I’m very impressed with the bags, as well as the rest of the components. This game has a lot of the same feel and look of their other Sailor Moon games, but just a little cuter. Overall the components get a thumbs up from both my daughter and me.
8 out of 10
The rulebook isn’t all that big and doesn’t really have a lot to cover. The rules themself are fairly straight forward so there’s not a whole lot of explaining that needs to be done. The book does have a few small pictures of some of the tiles and tokens. It also provides several examples of gameplay to help clarify the rules a bit. The book includes charts for choosing tiles based on the number of players, as well as one to explain the bonus actions of each Villain tile. There’s also a section devoted to the Ending tiles that contains pictures of each, along with an explanation. The rules are fairly straight forward and are very easy to read through and understand, especially with examples interspersed here and there. The back cover of the book has a picture of all 8 Character tiles which is really cute. Overall I feel that the rulebook does a good job of covering everything with minimal time spent reading. I will say that I think it would have been nice if there had been a few variants thrown in to change up the gameplay, but overall the book gets a passing grade from me.
8 out of 10
The rulebook states that this game is inspired by the game, Cockroach Poker and other similar card passing/bluffing games. I’ve never played Cockroach Poker, so I can’t say how similar the two games are. What I can tell you is that this game is rather fun for a large group of players. I have yet to play it with a full compliment of 8 players, but would love to give it a try. The first time I played this, I immediately thought of the game, Shinobi. There are a few subtle differences, but the main premise is the same. Each round your passing off a tile or card and telling that player what it is. They then have to determine if you’re telling the truth or lying about it. If they get it right, they get something special, in this case a Success token. Get enough Success tokens or enough of the ones with the higher values and you’ll win. Simple as that. This game is fairly light and easy to play. There’s nothing overtly difficult about it. It can be taught in just a few minutes and is one that the whole family can easily enjoy. The theme might not suit everyone, but is still fun even for those on the fence. I like that the game isn’t very long. As such, it’s one that can be a great filler game. My daughter rather enjoyed this one, collecting tokens and playing tiles. The theme and artwork were right up her alley. Even though it wasn’t something she was overly familiar with, it bore enough of a similarity to the Glitter Force on Netflix, that she was able to enjoy it. Fans of Sailor Moon or bluffing games like Cockroach Poker or Shinobi should enjoy this game. This is a game that I can recommend, especially for those parents that enjoy playing games with their daughters.
8 out of 10
Sailor Moon Crystal: Truth or Bluff is a fast game of bluffing with a Sailor Moon theme. The game doesn’t take that long. Most game sessions last around 30 minutes. The components are cute and fun. I especially like the chibi style tiles and the high quality bags to draw them from. The rulebook is also quite good. It’s fairly straight forward and easy to read through. The game itself is quite simple and easy to play. It’s fairly light and family friendly. It’s even simple enough for younger players. The game was inspired by Cockroach Poker and other bluffing style games, but it reminds me of Shinobi. I think fans of any of those style games should enjoy this one as well, especially if they like Sailor Moon. This is a game that I would recommend. Even Queen Beryl can’t resist the charm and fun of this one.
8 out of 10
For more information about this and other great games, please check out Dyskami Publishing Company at their site.