GAME REVIEW: 3 Wishes

This got its debut at Gen Con back in August before getting a retail release a month or 2 ago.  This small card game was getting good buzz, with people saying that this could even replace the microgame hit, Love Letter.  I AM a fan of that game, so I was curious to see how this one would measure up.  Is the comparison with Love Letter valid?  Let’s find out!

3 WISHES (2016) Designed by Chris Castagnetto; published by Passport Games – for 3-5 players and takes less than 10 minutes to play. 

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This is a very quick deduction card game.  The objective for each player is to be the person who has the 3 best wishes at the end of the game.

There are 3 kinds of wishes.  Gifts (yellow), Superpowers (blue), and World Harmony (pink).  The symbol representing what kind of wish it is, is shown in the upper right corner of the card.

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In order to win the game, a player must have one of each kind of wish in front of them when the end game is declared.  Each wish is worth a certain amount of points, and you want your three wishes to be worth the most points.  But they MUST be all three different kinds, otherwise you lose.  And it won’t be that easy, because players won’t initially know what 3 cards are in front of them.  Success must come  through deduction and maneuvering cards.

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Each player begins with 3 cards face down in front of them.  2 cards will be laid out in the center of the table (one card is removed from the game, without anyone knowing which card it is).

Before the game begins, each player may look at ONE of their face down cards.  Then the game can start, beginning with the first player.

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On a player’s turn, they can perform 2 actions.  The actions they can choose to perform are:

  • Peek at a card – A player can look at any card, including their own, another player’s or one of the cards in the center.
  • Switch a card. – A player can move a card from one player to another, or the center.
  • Shuffle –  Shuffle the 3 cards in front of yourself, and look at 1 of them.
  • Declare end game –  This can only be done starting with the 4th round (a round consists of each player having a turn).

A player can do the same action twice.  But if they declare end game, that is the ONLY action they can do that turn.

Once the end game is declared, all players reveal the 3 cards in front of them.  All players who have one of each kind of wish will score their points.  Whoever has the most points is the winner of the game.

Also, since the game takes only 5 minutes or less, you may play the game in multiple rounds, in which case a player will be the victor if they win a certain amount of rounds.

That’s about it.

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The theme is pretty cute, which is brought to life with beautiful artwork.  Every card looks great, and gives the game a very whimsical feeling.

The gameplay itself is very easy.  You’re just moving cards and peeking at them.  There’s a lot of player interaction too, with players constantly moving each others cards.  That’s a lot of fun.  It reminded me a bit of the game Mascarade, which I love.  This one isn’t nearly as complex and doesn’t take as long, which is a plus.

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I like that it’s not as simple as JUST “getting all 3 kinds of wishes”.  There are some cards that will make you lose no matter what.  Like the Time Machine card, which will cause you to lose if it’s in front of you, so it’s funny to see that card being passed around during the game.  I love that I’m constantly guessing what is in front of me, and remembering which cards are where without flipping them over.  Sometimes, the end game result is quite surprising, which is half the fun for me.

Like Love Letter, this is a perfect game to play in between heavy games, or waiting for someone to arrive.  It’d also be a great ice breaker at a party or a family get together.  Fast, fun and easy to teach.  Is it better than Love Letter?  That’s hard to say.  Love Letter is a great design, but I’ve played it so much that for me, 3 Wishes is fresher at the moment.  So if I had a choice, I will most likely choose this one, but they’re both terrific.

Also, this is not an expensive game.  You can pick this up for 10 dollars or less easy, and I would say that it’s definitely worth the price.

If you are one that enjoys quick microgames, deduction games, and accessible family games, then I highly recommend 3 Wishes.  It’s been a hit for me with every age group I’ve tried this with.  I can’t imagine anyone who is a fan of Love Letter, NOT loving this game.

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