I got a new game for Christmas called Antidote which I played for the first time today. It is designed for 2-7 players, although the above image says 2-6 players, the directions say 2-7. I will say up front I am not a fan of the 2 player rules, you basically build a mock player so you are really playing 3 players but the third player is dumb. I would suggest playing with at least 3 players ideally.
The game explains that you are in a lab and a dangerous virus has just fell to the floor and you have 30 minutes to find an antidote.
The game has 7 different color formulas (cards numbered 1-7) and one virus (card labeled X in each color). You start out by shuffling all the X cards and removing one card from the game (this is the correct color of the antidote). You then add in a number of syringe cards with the X cards based on the number of players.
You then take a number of each color cards and put them in a pile and shuffle them. The amount of each color used is based on the number of players. For 2-3 players you take cards numbered 1-3 and shuffle them all together for a total of 21 cards.
You then deal these out evenly to all players. If you are only playing two players, you need to deal to a third player that doesn't exist, this way it is harder to determine what the unknown toxic color is. You also deal the syringes and X cards to each player evenly. This gives each player a clue to what formulas will not work for the antidote.
The idea of the game is to use deception and deduction to figure out what color the toxin is and make sure you have that color in your hand at the end of the game. With a 2-3 player game you start out with 10 cards each.
Each turn you can either trade cards with other players by passing around either left or right, discard a card in front of you, or steal a card using a syringe.
The game will go on forever if you only swap or use syringes, only when you discard a card do you move closer to the end of the game. In a 2 player game, you can use the third fictional player to hand off cards without immediately revealing information to a real player, and this is where I didn't like the 2 player ruleset.
The game continues as you pass around cards and discard in front of you until one card is remaining in each hand. At this point you reveal the hidden card and whoever has the correct color wins the game by successfully creating and drinking the antidote. The number on the colored card determines how many points you win or lose. With more players it is possible more players can correctly guess the antidote color, the number will prevent a tie unless you play multiple games and keep score.
We only played the simplified game which is recommended for your first time around. There are additional cards such as clinical trials, placebo, ID badges, and even lab romances.
We didn't use the additional cards but they seem to give the game more complexity and
randomness. The next time we player the game we will add in the additional cards and see how that plays out.
I found the game fun, it only took around 15 minutes once we knew the rules. I didn't like the 3rd dummy player as it gives you an advantage to unload cards on someone that won't get additional information from. I think strategies in two player games wouldn't carry over to 3+ real players.
While it took me a few minutes to understand the game, I could easily teach a new player quickly. While I don't typically like simple games, I did find the deduction and deception part of the game fun. If you enjoy the card game Bullshit, you would likely like this game as well.
You can find the game for $15 on Amazon, and I think it would be a fun game if you frequently play games with 3 or more players.