There I was, sitting in JFK Airport, recovering from hernia surgery ten days prior, looking forward to Gen Con 2019. My main focus was browsing social media and putting together the booths I was going to make my wife wheel me to. I came across a post from Bezier Games saying that in advance of their big release of the convention, Silver, they had released an app version for people to play to whet their appetite. “I’ll try anything once,” I thought, as I downloaded it.
Quite literally, I played that app the entire rest of the wait in the airport and all the way through my flight—Silver ended up being my surprise hit of the convention that year. Silver Coin is the newest version of the game, promising new powers and card interactions to bring some new twists to the game. Let’s call the vote and see whether Silver Coin succeeds!
Silver Coin is a card game for 2-4 players that plays in about 30 minutes, and best plays with 3 players.
In Silver Coin, the goal is to end the round with the lowest value of cards in your village, thereby making your village unattractive to the rampaging werewolves. At the beginning of a round, each player is dealt 5 cards face-down to form their village, two of which they are allowed to look at. After this initial view, cards cannot be picked up, moved, or exchanged in any way unless another card directs them to.
On a turn, players take one of three possible actions:
- Draw a card from the deck into your hand. This card can be revealed for its printed ability, discarded, or exchanged facedown with any card (or set of matching cards) in your village, which are then discarded. If the discarded set is not actually a set, an extra villager is added instead to your village.
- Take the top card from the discard pile into your hand, then exchange it face-up with any card (or set) in your village, as described above.
- Call for a vote. You must have 4 or fewer cards in your village to do so, then every other player gets to take one more action.
After a vote, players reveal their village cards. If the player who called has the lowest value village, they are successful and score zero points, but if they do not, they score their village value plus a ten-point penalty. All other players score the sum of their villager values. In addition, a player who successfully calls the vote receives the Coin in the subsequent round, allowing them a one-shot power to flip over any single card. After four rounds of play, the player with the lowest score is declared the winner.
Silver Coin takes the framework established by the original title and expands well upon it. The card powers in this new title are clever, and interact together in ways that are reminiscent of the original, but still unique enough to stand on their own. What makes these new cards even more interesting is that they integrate well with the original Silver, allowing both games to be combined and extending the overall replay value.
Some of our favorite titles are the ones that have that element of enjoyable frustration, and Silver Coin definitely stands in those ranks. Having a keen memory is vital to success, and being able to keep track of your own cards (both in value and position in your village) along with your opponents, can definitely lead to some maddening moments. Since the game is so light-hearted, they just add to the enjoyment, and since the game is fast-paced, you’re not going to have time to wallow. It’s not like you’re playing Food Chain Magnate and one wrong move is going to sink the next three hours of your life.
Silver Coin provides plenty of tactical depth and decision-making in a very small package. Being able to predict your opponent’s actions, making the right choice on flipping cards or exchanging sets, and the all-important decision to call the vote are all woven together harmoniously. While the rules surrounding just who gets the Coin at the end of the round sometimes bogged us down, the rules and gameplay are quick to pick up, making the game that much more enjoyable.
The cliche “it’s not you, it’s me” best sums up our major issue with Silver Coin, which is our absolute lack of interest in the theme, which ostensibly involves having boring villagers (the ones with low values) that werewolves will not eat. We have only played One Night: Ultimate Werewolf once, and it is a fine game, but do not know anything about it other than that it is popular and that it exists. We certainly did not know anything about the characters in the universe that also appear in Silver Coin, and had trouble connecting their roles to their game functions. Any theme would do, and the attempt at this theme certainly does not take away from the enjoyment of the game, but we just tended to think of the cards in terms of powers and values, completely divorced from any iota of theme. Your mileage may vary, however.
While we found that Silver plays well with two (having gotten quite a good amount of mileage from the app), we found that Silver Coin really needs a third player to truly shine. Some of the cards have more interesting effects (such as the one that rotates a card from each player to their neighbor) when not playing heads-up. Silver Coin with two players is a little more take-that, which may appeal to some groups, but we found that playing with three players was the sweet spot for this title.
Silver Coin is a great addition to the Silver family of games, but stands well enough on its own to make it worth your attention. If you’re a veteran Silver player who is looking for some new options, or have a gaming group looking for a fun card game with a good amount of depth and a memory aspect, then Silver Coin definitely deserves a spot on your shelf.
Score: 4 – A great game on its own, and even better with all the options from the other editions.
• Theme is absolutely meaningless to anyone not interested in the One Night: Ultimate Werewolf universe
• Needs at least 3 players