Publisher: Victory Point Games
Game Design: Nathan Hansen
Graphics: Alisha Klein & Barry Pike III
Playing Time: 30 minutes
Retail Price: $17.95 for the boxed edition; $14.95 for the polybag edition
Category: Party/Family Game
- 4-page rule booklet
- 100 cards (18 Goal Cards & 82 Rule Cards)
From the VPG website: Ever wanted to make your friend bark like a dog three times, while rubbing their belly and slapping their knee? Then we have the perfect game for you! Rules Lawyer, by designer Nathan Hansen, is a hilarious, fast-paced, family-fun card game for 3 or more players with ever-changing rules (‘Laws’). Each player takes turns placing, altering and then obeying the current Laws of the game. Your goal is to fulfill three Goal cards in your hand, therefore you must change the Laws (or hope someone else does) to your advantage. But beware, if you – or someone you spot – doesn’t perform all of the Laws correctly or in order, you may lose some of your Goal cards, or players could steal Goal cards from you! Great for parties, family, and friends, see what Laws you can come up with in Rules Lawyer!
Rules Lawyer comes in a 9 ¼” x 5 7/8” box and I kind of like that Victory Point Games packages many of their games in a smaller box. It makes it easier to take with you to other people’s homes or on trips. Plus it makes it easier to store all the games you no doubt will accumulate if you’re an avid game player like we are here at The Gaming Gang. The box sleeve and the cards have visually appealing art. The designs look professionally done and fun and the only distraction is the art is all done in red, grey, and black. For a game which is marketed as a family or party game, I think the mark was missed. If the art was more colorful it would catch the eye and be more successful when sitting side by side with more bright and fun looking family/party games. I don’t know a thing about commercial printing but I do understand it costs less to print a few colors versus all the colors of the rainbow.
Let’s see how Rules Lawyer is played… Right off the bat, I like the rules booklet is small and looks uncomplicated. As a consumer, I don’t mind hundreds of pages of rules for an RPG because that’s the norm, but for a game you want to pull out and play at a party (at a moment’s notice) you don’t want long and complicated rules. My first pro is duly noted.
You set up by shuffling the cards and each player gets five cards. Three Rule cards from the deck are placed on the table in a vertical line and these cards are the first three Laws. If any of the three Rule cards say “Goal” at the top, discard them and replace with new cards. The deck is then placed to the left of the Rule cards and you randomly determine who goes first. Play will continue to the left of the starting player. What is each player trying to accomplish to win? Good question. The first player to complete 3 Goal cards wins. Before we get into the game mechanics, the rulebook defines a Law as “a string of Rules read left to right. Individual cards represent the Rules. A Law has a maximum size in Rules of 5. There are always 3 Laws in effect.”
When it’s your turn, you take the following actions:
1. Make sure you have no more and no less than five cards by either discarding or drawing more cards.
2. Perform two actions:
a. Move a card: You can move one Rule card already in play to a different sequence of the same Law or a different Law as long as you don’t eliminate a Law.
b. Place a card: You can take a Rule card from your hand and put it in any place within the sequence of a Law currently in play as long as the Law does not exceed five Rules.
c. Take a card: As long as it doesn’t eliminate a Law, you can take a Rule cad from a Law and put it into your own hand.
d. Swap cards: You can switch the position of any two cards already in play.
3. Place the discard pile at the bottom of the draw pile.
4. Obey the rules:
a. Perform each Law from the top Law to bottom Law. Each of these Laws is performed from left to right.
b. If any player has a Goal card in their hand which matches a Law that was played out, they can lay down that Goal card in front of themselves and claim their Victory Point. Remember that the first person to put down three Goal cards wins the game.
5. The person to the left of the current player now takes their turn.
You have to obey all the Rules which you are capable of obeying. If you fail to obey a Rule, you have to discard the last Goal card you claimed. Also if you fail to obey a Rule more than once, the player who catches you gets your Goal card and keeps it.
Rules Lawyer is a game I recommend for the party crowd. If you can get past the lack of colorful art, I think you’ll enjoy this one. It’s easy to learn and teach others and doesn’t take a lot of time to play. Plus, VPG put this game in a very portable box to take with you to a friend’s house or on your next vacation. The Rule cards are somewhat repetitive though and, in my opinion, this game would be more wildly entertaining with a greater variety of Rule cards or maybe a few blank cards which to create your own Rules.
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