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Jekyll vs. Hyde Game Review

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All board game reviews and ratings from “A Pair of Meeples” are entirely based on the game at two players. You can learn more about our rating system by clicking below.


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Jekyll vs. Hyde might be the two player trick taking game you’ve been waiting for, even if you haven’t been a fan of other attempts at this category of game. 

Jekyll vs. Hyde Review

8 out of 10
Jekyll vs. Hyde Two Player Review Block A Pair of Meeples

Is it Good For Two Players? : Yes, one of the best trick taking games for two!

Jekyll vs. Hyde is exciting, fun, extremely deep, highly replayable, and yet still has all the familiarity of any old trick taking game.  Where others have failed to hold our attention for even a full round, this one keeps us coming back for seconds and thirds and it doesn’t appear that will change even potentially after hundreds of play.

Theme: 8/10
Replayability: 7/10
Components: 7/10
Conflict: 7/10
Fun: 7/10

Husband’s Rating
8 out of 10
Wife’s Rating
8 out of 10

Pros

Excellent theme and art that perfectly plays into the gameplay

Asymmetric players and their goals add a lot to the game and make it very unique and highly replayable, while still feeling quite balanced

Quick and easy to teach and play, especially if already familiar with trick taking games

Feels like a truly modern take on trick taking

Cons

Mr. Hyde is a little more fun to play as, so multiple rounds are required for players to equally enjoy the game

Gameplay Experience:

Here we are reviewing another trick taking two player game.  You would think we would have given up on this genre after trying them again and again and failing to fall in love with any of them so far.  For some reason though I just couldn’t resist giving this one a shot, even if its odds of being a success with us were unlikely based on past experiences.

I don’t know if it was my inner Mr. Hyde who ordered this one or not, but thank goodness I didn’t learn from past mistakes because Jekyll vs. Hyde is almost everything we wanted from a two player trick taking game.  Where others had failed to grab us, this one had us stuck at the table all night playing round after round enjoying every minute of it. 

Jekyll vs. Hyde Two Player Board Game Review

The asymmetric characters and goals, unique suit (color ranking), and potion effects added so much to what was at its core a very simple two player trick taking game.  All the excitement and fun that we felt was missing from games like Fox in the Forest and its duet version are abundant in Jekyll vs. Hyde. 

Jekyll vs. Hyde truly feels like a modern take on trick-taking made specifically for two players.

Jekyll vs. Hyde Rules Summary:

This asymmetric trick taking game for two players has one player (Dr. Jekyll) trying to maintain order while the other player (Mr. Hyde) tries to cause chaos.  The game takes place over three rounds and Dr. Jekyll has to attempt to keep balance while Mr. Hyde tries to do just the opposite and take complete control of Dr. Jekyll’s identity.

If you are unfamiliar with trick taking games you can read more about them here: Trick-taking game – Wikipedia, as we aren’t going to cover the core mechanics very much in this summary.

First players decide who will play which character.  Each character does have different goals so it does make a difference who you play as.  Then the game board is placed between players with the identity marker on Dr. Jekyll’s side of the board representing his almost full control of his identity, at least for now.

Jekyll vs. Hyde board

Next, each player is dealt 10 cards with the remaining unused, but they must exchange a number of cards with each other equivalent to the round they are currently on.  If they have more than 1 potion card they must include one in the exchange.  Most cards are evil cards that fall under 3 different suits, but the potion cards change up the rules of the game a little bit. 

Jekyll vs. Hyde cards

After the card exchange players are ready to start the battle between identities.  Dr. Jekyll will go first as long as the identity marker is on his side of the board.  His goal is to maintain a fairly neutral number of tricks, keeping the number won fairly similar to his opponent.  

This is because whatever the difference in tricks won between the two players will result in the identity marker moving that many spaces towards Mr. Hyde’s side of the board and if the last space is reached before the end of the third round, Mr. Hyde has won and has fully consumed Dr. Jekyll.  Dr. Jekyll’s goal is to just survive the three rounds.  

In other words, Mr. Hyde will be attempting to win or lose as many tricks as possible to make the difference as dramatic as he can, while Dr. Jekyll will essentially be trying to win one, lose one to stay as close to his opponent as possible.  

While these asymmetric goals may seem fairly simple, there are a few more rules that make this trick taking game a lot more interesting.  First is that there is no set trump suit, the strength of each color card will change through the course of the game in accordance with the order it is played.  This means if red is played first, it will be the weakest, if green is played third it will be considered the strongest suit.

Jekyll vs. Hyde color rank

So players have to follow suit typically just like in most other trick taking games, but if the played cards aren’t the same color, then the highest color will win the trick.  This adds a very unique dynamic to the game especially since the color strengths are decided by the player’s actions and also can be shifted throughout the game.

On top of this unique color ranking system, there are the potion cards that we mentioned earlier.  These can be played at any time by players, even off-suit, and have various effects dependent upon the other card played in the trick.  The following are the effects of played potions:

  • Purple Card (Pride): The winner of the trick takes a previously won trick from their opponent.
  • Green Card (Greed): Players take two cards from their hand and exchange them with each other at the same time.
  • Red Card (Wrath): Remove the colored ranking tokens from the game, resetting each card color’s strength rank.
Jekyll vs. Hyde potion cards

These various effects will need to be utilized by players to achieve their goals but can be a little tricky, especially depending on the current color rank.  Also, when potions are played, the highest number wins the trick, with color not taken into account.  If two potions are played they neutralize each other.

That’s a general summary of how to play Jekyll vs. Hyde, it is very simple on the surface but quite deep in terms of strategy and gameplay.  

Expert Variant

There is an expert variant included in the rules which has an alternate scoring that will work better for those who are concerned about the two different characters being slightly unbalanced to play.  This mode has both players taking turns as each character and whoever achieves the most spaces as Mr. Hyde is considered the winner. 

Conclusion:

Jekyll vs. Hyde is one of many two player trick taking games but one of the only ones that hasn’t fallen flat with us thus far.  All the others were just missing something and almost felt as if they were just classic card games trying to fit in the world of modern board games, whereas this one feels like it really belongs.  

The variable suit (color) ranking and potion effects make a very unique trick taking game, and even more so given it’s designed for two players.  On top of this, the asymmetrical goals of each player make it even more special while really emphasizing the Jekyll and Hyde duality.

You have one player, Dr. Jekyll, trying to maintain balance by winning and losing tricks equally while the other, Mr. Hyde, trying to essentially cause chaos, going entirely against the former’s goal with each and every move.  This creates a constant tension between players as their goals are so drastically different, making it feel like a “game” the entire time.

Jekyll vs. Hyde is exciting, fun, extremely deep, highly replayable, and yet still has all the familiarity of any old trick taking game.  Where others have failed to hold our attention for even a full round, this one keeps us coming back for seconds and thirds and it doesn’t appear that will change even potentially after hundreds of play.

Is Jekyll vs. Hyde Good For 2 Players?

Given our past experiences with this category of game, at least for this specific player count, Jekyll vs. Hyde should have been dead upon arrival for us, but actually, it was just the opposite.  It was an instant hit at our table and lightened our preconceptions quite a bit about two player trick taking games.

Other more standard trick-taking games like the Fox in the Forest or its duet version weren’t our cup of tea, this one was, but that just muddied the waters a bit more on who this game and even other two player trick taking games are for.

So while we recommended the other games only for those who were absolute fans of trick-taking, Jekyll vs. Hyde is a little different.  This one we think could appeal to a much wider audience of players.  It doesn’t feel like a plain old classic card game and plays much more like a modern board game.  

If you are a fan of trick taking games all the better but you don’t have to be to enjoy this one in our opinion.  Being familiar with them will make it easier to learn how to play but it’s not a necessity.  If we’re any sort of indicator, even if you typically hate two player trick taking games, this one might still be worth a try as it very well could change your entire perception of them. 

Pros:

  • Excellent theme and art that perfectly plays into the gameplay
  • Asymmetric players and their goals add a lot to the game and make it very unique and highly replayable, while still feeling quite balanced.
  • Quick and easy to teach and play, especially if already familiar with trick taking games.
  • Feels like a truly modern take on trick taking

Cons:

  • Mr. Hyde is a little more fun to play as, so multiple rounds are required for players to equally enjoy the game.

Mandoo Games Madoo Games: Jekyll vs. Hyde, Trick Taking Game, Based on the Famous Novella Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, 2 Player Game, 20 Minute Play Time, For Ages 14 and up
Mandoo Games Madoo Games: Jekyll vs. Hyde, Trick Taking Game, Based on the Famous Novella Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, 2 Player Game, 20 Minute Play Time, For Ages 14 and up
Mandoo Games Madoo Games: Jekyll vs. Hyde, Trick Taking Game, Based on the Famous Novella Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, 2 Player Game, 20 Minute Play Time, For Ages 14 and up

We hope this Jekyll vs Hyde two player review has helped you.

Our reviews are not paid reviews, but some games are given to us, we do not let this affect our opinions in any way. This post may contain affiliate links so we might receive compensation if you sign up for or purchase products linked to. As an Amazon Associate, we can earn from qualifying purchases. This helps cover our site's costs and allows us to continue reviewing games.


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