Of all the games we saw at the CMON Media Event yesterday here at Gen Con, the only one we got to play a full game of was Raise Your Goblets, and we’re all happy we did. This is a great and fun bluffing and deception game where the object is to simply live through a toast during a royal banquet. That’s not nearly as easy as it sounds.
As I mentioned, everyone is playing as various court members at a royal banquet. You’re given a personality card at the start of a round that represents who you are. Each character has a special ability pertaining to the goblets of “wine” that are out on the board. The goblets are actual plastic cups that must stay an arm’s length from you out on the table. No peeking at what goes into it. Then you have the tokens that represent wine (red), poison (black), and antidote (white). Players are given 3 wine tokens and 2 poison and antidote tokens. These are kept hidden away from the others, so nobody can see what you have left.
The game starts by taking a mix of the three tokens (it varies depending on how many people are playing) and randomly distributing them, one each, to the goblets out in front of the players. So you’ve got some token in your cup at the beginning, but you don’t know exactly what. Players are also given a random personality, and are also given a random opponent they are trying to kill. The player that most recently gave a real toast goes first. On your turn, you get two actions. The actions are: Rotate the goblets (everyone gives their goblet to the player on their left/right), swap goblets with another player, pour “wine” (take a token from behind your screen and place it, unseen, in someone else’s goblet), check your goblet (take a peek at what tokens are in your own goblet), or pass. Certain characters can potentially also perform their own type of special action.
Play continues around until someone calls for a toast. For that to happen, they have to be out of wine tokens (though, since you can’t see when someone pours real wine or one of the others, you never know quite when that will happen). When someone calls a toast, every player gets to make one last action, ending with the player who called for the toast. After that, everyone raises their goblets and “drinks.” That is, they turn over their cups and see what’s inside.
If you have more poison than antidote, you are dead. Wine is also good to have lots of. The game is scored thus: If you survived the round, you get 1 point. If your target was killed, you get 1 point. If you both survived and your target died, you get a bonus point (so, 3 points for that). The player with the most wine also gets a bonus point.
After scoring, the cups are reset. Players that died are given a new character. And play begins anew. After 3 rounds, the player with the most points wins.
This is a great game for small-group parties (seats between either 2-6, or 7-12 with some special additional rules). The entire time we were playing, we were all thinking of that one scene from The Princess Bride. You know the one, “so I can clearly not choose the wine in front of you!”
The bluffing aspect is great. The backstabbing is hilarious. I think you’re gonna like it. We should see it on store shelves sometime in the 4th quarter of this year.