Published by: Restoration Games
# of Players: 3 to 4 players
Indulgence is a trick taking card game so I did not come with high expectations for the components. This being my first game I have played by Restoration Games, also left me wondering what the quality would be. You do expect nice things when you restore something. When I opened the box I was very surprised by what I saw. Inside were colorful plastic gems that really grabbed my attention. When I moved the gems to the side, I saw a ring!? Did I open a box of Cracker Jacks? Did my Decoder Ring finally come from the comics I ordered 20+ years ago? No this ring is for the game. It is used to make one your cards really strong. Like the ability it gives, the ring is really strong and well made. It is a solid metal ring with a fake gem on top. Reminds me of my class ring, in fact the two look very similar. The cards are giant tarot sized cards that have illustrations of the 4 noble families. Each card is numbered 1 to 9 and has a color representing the family. 1 nice touch is that there is also a symbol for each family that is represented next to the number in case you are a person who has a tough time telling between the colors. The coins are cardboard with a super shinny silver gloss on the top and bottom of each coin. They work nice, but do cause a lot of glare for such a small coin. The rule book does a great job at explaining the game. On the back cover of the rules is a paragraph on the origins of this game and what they tried to accomplish with the restoration of the game. I was very surprised with high level of production for what is essentially a trick taking card game.
Most of us have probably played trick taking games since we were young. Indulgence taps into that gameplay while adding some changes to the old formula. The goal in Indulgence is to have the most florin in your strongbox at the end of the game. You will be earning florin by having others fail at edicts during a round or as the sinner pulling off a hard challenge during the round. The start of Indulgence has each player receive a strongbox card and 30 florins to put onto the card. This will be divided by coins that are worth one and gems that are worth 5. Despite the gems having different colors, they all represent 5 florin. Edicts will be shuffled and a cardboard edict plate will cover the stack. You will then reveal 3 edicts onto the middle of the table. 1 person will be chosen as the ruler (dealer) and deal out all the family cards to the players equally. Your table is now ready to start playing Indulgence.
Indulgence is a trick taking game. If you are not familiar with this mechanic, this means that each player will play a card and the card that is determined to have the highest value gets all the cards played that turn. Those cards are called a trick. For the most part with trick taking games, the highest numbered card of the suit first played is considered the taker of the trick. Most trick taking games will have players score points based on the tricks they take. Indulgence is different. The player who is the ruler for the round decides which edict he would like to enforce during the round. Each player will have the option to say no we wont play by that edict but instead by the edict on the other side of the card that will be in place for only the sinner. The sinner is the person who decides to not enforce the edict and rather take a chance at a harder challenge that could earn them florin. Based on the edict, either everyone will have to follow a rule and when broken will have to pay the ruler in florin or the sinner will be the only with an edict challenge that will either get a reward or have to pay the ruler. Usually in trick taking games you will keep taking turns and taking tricks till all the players are out of cards. Indulgence is different in that once the criteria are finished for edict, the round is over. For example if the edict is to not be the first player to take 3 tricks, and player b takes 3 tricks. Player b will pay the ruler florin based on the card and that round will be over. Likewise if the sinner at anytime fails in their objective, the round is over. The player attempting the sin challenge receives the Indulgence ring. That ring changes the value of a card to 10 of that same family or suit. This ring can only be used once per round. Indulgence ends when either each player has been ruler 3 rounds or one or more players do not have enough florin to pay what they owe to the ruler. The player with the most florin at the end of the game wins.
Indulgence has cards for an expert mode which I recommend always playing with. The difference between the two is that some more challenging edict cards are added to the edict deck and each player is given a papal bull card at the start of the game that they can use once during the game. The papal bull card can be used at two different times during the game. Either you can play it as the ruler, this causes all 3 displayed edicts to be in effect during the round. The other way it can be played is as the sinner. All 3 edicts will flip over to their sinner side and you will have to complete all 3 challenges during the round. This is near impossible, but someone told me I should never be told the odds. If they complete the 3 challenges during the round, they automatically win because that is crazy impressive. Other than that the expert mode is played just like the regular trick taking game.
Indulgence is a very fresh take on the trick taking genre. I have not previously played the games that it was restored from, but I am glad to have played Indulgence. I like how different it plays from other trick taking games like Hearts and Spades. Indulgence will have a different feel depending how aggressive your group plays. If you have a bunch of risk takers and everyone is very cutthroat, it will be a very high scoring, drastic point change type game. If your group is more careful and generous to each other, it will be a closer game but less drastic point shifts. I think that plays to the benefit of Indulgence that it can cover a variety of play styles. The components are very nicely done, though I am not a big fan of the shininess of the coins and edict plate. I love being able to try and risk everything to take a crazy challenge and have 2 to 3 players against me. If you are down big towards the end of the game and you play that papal bull card to try 3 sinner challenges to win the game is intense and a fun catch up mechanic. There is luck of the cards, but that can be said about most card games. I highly enjoyed Indulgence, though the theme was pasted on and feel some will be turned off by sinner label. Indulgence is staying in my collection and I see this being a game you can play with just about anyone from your game group to your grandmother. If you are a fan of trick taking games then this is one to add to your collection and if you have never played trick taking games before, this is a good start.
+Easy to teach and learn
+Classic trick taking feel with lots of new twists
+Great component quality
+Rounds can end quickly once a rule is finished
+Wearing the ring that is included in the game
+Taking on the super challenge of 3 sinner goals for the win
-Theme is pasted on and may turn off some
-Coins are too shinny