With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, you may be looking for something nerdy for your special geek. If so, you might want to take a look at The Fox In The Forest, a two player only (who needs more, know what I’m sayin’?) offering from Renegade Game Studios. In this trick taking card game designed by Joshua Buergel, players are attempting to take just enough tricks to score maximum points each round, until someone gets 21 and wins the game. 

There are 33 cards in the deck, with three suits having 11 cards in each, ranging from numbers 1-11. Each player is dealt 13 cards, with the remaining 7 cards being placed in a face down deck in the middle of the table. When play starts each round, the top card of this deck is flipped over to determine the starting trump suit. If you are familiar with the rules of games like Spades and Hearts, you should have no problem picking up the basic game play of The Fox In The Forest. 

Each round players will try to win just enough of the 13 available tricks to maximize their scoring for the round without being too greedy. Win 0-3 tricks, and you’ll get 6 points. Take 4, 5, or 6 tricks and you’ll get 1, 2, or 3 points accordingly. 7-9 tricks will get you 6 points. Taking 10 or more tricks, however, will earn you zero points. This give and take in achieving the “sweet spot” based on the cards you are dealt constitutes the overarching strategy involved in Fox In The Forest. But that is not all. 

All of the odd number cards in each suit provide special powers which add a whole new layer of strategic options. These powers are the same for each different number regardless of suit. These powers range from changing the trump suit on the fly, drawing and discarding a card, or a bonus point for winning a trick with a seven in it. For a great how to play video see: https://boardgamegeek.com/video/142502/fox-forest/learn-how-setup-play-fox-forest-rules-school-game

The Fox In The Forest scores big for me in that it is hard to find a trick taking game for two people only, let alone one that is as streamlined and fun as this one. The rules are simple, but there are plenty of strategic choices in a game that takes about 30 minutes to play. The artwork on the cards is quite nice and adds to the enjoyment as well. Kudos to Jennifer L. Meyer and Keith Pishnery in that regard. Overall, you’d be hard pressed to find a better game to enjoy with your gaming sweetheart, while still leaving you time for other endeavors. I highly recommend The Fox In The Forest. Check it out!

Thanks for reading, and keep nerding on.

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Rob Fenimore
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