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  • Writer's pictureJW

My Poker Fates

Lock & Spell: A Game of Fortunes is a solitaire push-your-luck hand management card game. It has simple rules, plays in 20 minutes and, if you win, it even reads your fortune! Best money I didn't have to spend this year, as the designer was kind enough to send us a copy.

In the game, you go on a spiritual treasure hunt. There are five locked chests, and you don't know what's inside before you open them. To do so, you are going to need the keys - three for every chest - and each key can be obtained by completing a spell. These spells are represented by poker hands. So, at the start of your turn, you draw five cards and try to match the key you'd like to get. In the beginning, this can be any key, really. But later on you'll need specific ones to get to the exact three keys that match a chest.

If your hand doesn't match any of the available keys, you can use one of your five fate tokens. You put it on one of the keys thus making it unavailable for the rest of the round. Then, you discard as many cards as you like, and refill your hand to five. If this new hand matches the blocked key, you remove that key and the fate token from play. If not, you check if you now have a spell for any of the remaining keys. When your last fate token has left play, you lose the game. When you open three chests, you win. You've found the keys to your soul and the three treasures will tell your fortune.

I've never played poker before but I know it's a game of skill, not chance. The hands you have to go for - the spells for obtaining keys - will be random though, and you can't get them with just any poker hand, so in this case it's a very tactical game. I need this hand, I've got a good chance if I draw two new cards, I cannot make that particular spell this turn so I'll use a fate token to block that spell, and so on. I found I could win the game more often than lose. Which doesn't matter too much because you also get points for remaining fate tokens and the specific chests you opened. Some need harder combinations and will give more points. So, after a while, you'll try to get higher scores. And then, the chance of losing suddenly increases. This doesn't matter much either because this is not just a game about winning. You want it to tell you your fortune! There are 60 possible combinations of treasures and each has a unique result.

The illustrations are minimalistic but really nice with sparse use of colour for some highlighting. I actually wish the deck of playing cards you use for creating your spells would also have similar small illustrations. It would have made the game just a little more immersive. Oh! And then a full deck. please, so I could play other card games with it as well. 😁

All in all I enjoyed it. It's a light game and the push-your-luck element can be very thrilling. Also, after my initial feedback about the easy to reach win condition, the designer made a scoring table. Most of my wins are in the Prized Luck range - of course now I want to reach Destiny's Child! For me this made the game a lot more replayable.

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May 07, 2023

The 'Fortuned One' must be referring to Beyonce. That's the only step higher than Destiny's Child.


May 06, 2023

Interesting, never heard about this one. Makes me a tiny bit sad to see the regular cards just being regular cards. I like more customization. But I'm guessing this was a tiny passion project with not much money involved. Sounds intriguing however, thanks for sharing :)

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