I’d imagine that just about everyone has dreamed of finding a magic lamp at some point in their life. The thought of having a genie pop out and offering you 3 wishes is something people have been imagining since even before Aladdin hit the big screens. Unfortunately, genies and magic lamps aren’t real (that I know of), but that doesn’t have to stop us from dreaming!
Today we are going to be looking at 3 Wishes. A quick playing micro game from Passport Games Studios. Can a deck of 18 cards make for an entertaining gaming experience? Let’s find out!
In 3 Wishes, you and your friends have stumbled upon a lamp and decided to check if it was magical. Surprisingly, a genie popped out and offered to grant the owner three wishes. However, all of you are laying claim to this magical lamp. So to sort it out, the genie will only grant the wishes of the player with the most balanced set of wishes.
During the game, players will be trying to accrue one of each of the three types of wishes: a super power, a benefit for the world and a gift for yourself. However, since the cards are face down, you won’t always know what you are wishing for. During your turn, you’ll be peeking, swapping and even shuffling your cards. Once a player had decided that they have their three cards required to win the genie’s attention, they can call for the end of the game.
As a micro game, 3 Wishes is a highly portable game. The box includes 18 wish cards, 5 player aids and some wooden cubes. The cards are of fine quality, although since this is a deduction game, you’ll probably want to sleeve them.
The standout feature of the components has to be the artwork on the cards. I really enjoyed it. Everything is done in a humorous style that works perfectly with the game. I really appreciated the little touches in the artwork that made me laugh. For example, the immortality card has a picture of a sad-looking grim reaper standing outside a door with a “no death” sign. Great work all around here.
How to Play:
As mentioned above, the goals of 3 Wishes is to end up with one each of the three types of wishes: super power, gift, and world benefit. Once the deck is set up (according to player count), the top card is secretly removed. Then each player is dealt three facedown cards. Two more cards are placed faced down in the middle of the table. Each player is allowed to look at one of their cards and then the game begins.
On a players turn, they must perform two actions. Options include:
- Peek: Look at one card in front of any player.
- Switch: Swap any two cards on the table.
- Shuffle: Take your cards, shuffle them and place them back in front of you. You may then look at one of the cards.
- Declare the End Game: If it’s the fourth round or later, you may declare the game’s end. This can be your only action for the turn.
Once the game has ended, each player reveals their cards. If a player has all three types of wishes, they add up the points on the cards. If a player doesn’t have all three wishes, they lose no matter what they had. And if a player has the Time Travel card, they lose regardless if they had all 3 types or not. No one likes people who monkey with the time line. The player with the most points wins.
Micro games can fill a nice niche in our hobby. I typically turn to them when I’m looking for a light filler game, or when I need something to play where the table space is at a premium (out at a pub, in a car, etc…).
However even with minimal components and rules, I still want to play a compelling game. I think too many micro games were rushed out during the Love Letter craze that we ended up with a lot of uninspiring micro games.
Fortunately, 3 Wishes doesn’t follow that trend. Even with only 18 cards, designer Chris Castagnetto managed to put together a solid little game. I’m actually glad this was a micro game as I’m somewhat burned out on the over saturated social deduction genre. Yet the play time in 3 Wishes is quick enough that I don’t mind getting a game or two in.
One thing I really liked about 3 Wishes was how different players approached the game. Some players were very logical and just tried to find the three different cards they needed and then end the game quickly as possible. Their approach to the game was almost analytical.
And directly opposed to them were the jokers who just wanted to watch the world burn. These players would try to cause as much chaos in the game as possible. Switching cards often, shuffling and just overall trying to mess with the other players. It was quite entertaining seeing people get upset when their solid plans were laid to waste.
Normally this much chaos in a game would annoy me, but as 3 Wishes is so short, about 5 minutes, it ended up not really being an issue. Players can take this game as serious or casual as they like. And thanks to its short play time, we usually played 4-5 games in a row.
Another thing that helped 3 Wishes feel a bit unique was the Time Travel card. This was an excellent idea as it added a bit of uncertainty to the game. You had to use some deduction and memory to locate and keep track of it. More than once I found it in my hand, and made sure to pass it to a player I didn’t want to win.
One issue I had with 3 Wishes was that the early game seemed a bit scripted. At the beginning of the game, each player gets a free look at one of their cards. However, in almost all of our games, the first move every player made was to look at their other two cards. It pretty much felt like players should be shown all of their cards at the start, or limit the ability to repeat an action on your turn.
While 3 Wishes doesn’t bring us anything revolutionary with its gameplay mechanics, we still found it to be an enjoyable filler game. Many social deduction games’ success will depend heavily on the group dynamics of the players. However, I think 3 Wishes is casual enough that this isn’t one of those games where you have to have the right type of group for it to be enjoyable.
We’ve had a few small-scale deduction games come across our tables over the years, but I think 3 Wishes might be my new favorite. I enjoyed the short play time, it’s portable nature, it scales very well, and the artwork on the cards is perfect. That’s a lot of pluses for a game that only costs $10. If you are looking for an inexpensive filler game, then give 3 Wishes a look.
If you’d like to pick up a copy of 3 Wishes, you can get it for about $10.
Final Score: 3 Stars – A fun little filler game that while it doesn’t break any new ground, still does a lot of things right.
• Easy to learn, quick to play
• Great artwork
• Special cards were a good addition
• Early game feels scripted
• Can feel a really random at times.
We interpret the “each player takes turns performing two of the following Actions.” to mean that you can’t do the same action twice. They must choose 2 of the 4 possible actions and perform those 2 actions (not choose just 1 action and do it twice). So on the first turn, players can’t look at their other two cards.
You could very well be right. I wish the rule book was a bit clearer on that. That would make the early game a bit more diverse.