Title: The Fox in the Forest
Designer: Joshua Buergel
Publisher: Foxtrot Games, Renegade Games
Players: 2 players
Recommended Age: 10+
Time to Play: 30 minutes
BGG Ranking: 7.2
My Ranking: 6/10
Game Level: Beginner
The Fox in the Forest is a card game very similar to Wizard. It’s extremely easy to learn and has little complexity. Your goal is to win tricks in order to earn the most points. Be sure to pay attention to the scoring system because that will determine your strategy. The game ends when either player has reached 21 points. The player with the most points wins!
Special ability cards
For each suit, the odd-numbered cards are fairy characters that have special abilities. You have the fox, witch, woodcutter, monarch, treasure and swan. The fox allows you to change the trump suit and the witch acts as the trump suit. The woodcutter lets you trade a card in your hand for one in the deck and the monarch forces your opponent to play a particular card. Finally, the treasure gives you an extra point at the end of a round and the swan lets you go first for the next trick if you lose the prior trick.
In The Fox in the Forest, your strategy is to win or lose tricks in order to get the most points. Win too many tricks? You are greedy and earn zero points. Win a very small number of tricks? Don’t worry – you’re humble and get six points! The scoring system is unique where you earn the most points when you have exactly seven to nine tricks or zero to three tricks. You also gain additional points by winning tricks where a seven is played because they’re treasure cards.
Would benefit from having more players
Because there are only two players in this game, it is very easy to determine what the other player has in her or his hand. This could be seen as a benefit because if you pay attention to what’s in your hand, you know what trump card would best help you and hurt your opponent. With that in mind… I prefer trick card games like Wizard where you can play with multiple players. There’s still a bit of mystery around what card each player could play next.
Not the best game for sore losers
In The Fox in the Forest, there’s no opportunity for deck-building or engine-building where you can be proud of what you’ve created even if you lose. It’s simply a trick card game with a highly competitive scoring system. Because your strategy can be to either win or lose the right amount of tricks, you can easily have a round where you earn six points for having zero to three tricks and your opponent gets zero points for having too many tricks. If you continue to play with that strategy of gaining the “humble” amount of points, you can easily put your opponent on the defense which is not the most enjoyable place to be.
I’m not the biggest fan of trick card games. I typically prefer engine building or deck building games where you have layers of strategy and complexity. But… as two-player card games go… The Fox in the Forest is decent. It’s quick, easy to learn, and adds some variety with unique cards.