Mascarade is a card game of secret identities, set at a medieval masquerade ball. The goal of the game is to progress from the initial six coins to a victory at thirteen. Each player possesses a character card which has a certain power: to gain coin, to trade totals with another player, to win at a mere ten coins, etc.
Each turn, a player may take one of three actions:
- Declare her card, and claim whatever benefits come from its power.
- Swap cards with another player at the table.
- Look at her card.
You see, in Mascarade, not only does the player often not know the identities of the other players, but frequently even her own card will be a mystery. The only risk-free way to find out the identity of her own card is to spend a turn peeking, but in the rest of the round, that card is likely to be swapped away from her. Mascarade is a game of knowledge and manipulation, where you can never count on anything to stay true for more than one or two turns.
Did I mention that the game begins with a round of pure swaps? Or that "swapping" itself is ambiguous, as the current player is free to mix the cards under the table and return them to whomever suits her fancy? Declaring too can be a giant bluff, as cards are only revealed if another player contests the claim.
Amateur card counters beware: this is not a game for the weak of mind.