Mascarade, 2ème édition
Mascarade, 2nd edition

Paru en 2013, Mascarade est, avec Citadelles, Diamant et Le Roi des Nains, l’un de mes jeux qui s’est le mieux vendu. Suite à ce succès, Repos Production avait, un an plus tard, publié une extension dont je suis particulièrement fier. Les personnages de l’extension ne sont en effet pas ceux qui auraient été « mis de côté » lors de l’édition initiale, mais des idées qui me sont venues plus tard, ou qui m’ont été suggérées par des joueurs. Quelques uns sont plus intéressants et plus amusants que les personnages de base. Marionnettiste, Princesse et Mendiante sont parmi ceux que je sors le plus souvent.  

Malheureusement, comme cela arrive pour bien des jeux, les ventes de l’extension n’ont été qu’une infime fraction de celles de la boite de base. Cela fait maintenant quelques années que l’éditeur avait renoncé à la réimprimer, et la plupart des joueurs sont donc passé à côté de certaines des cartes les plus intéressantes. Je suis donc très heureux que Repos Production ait finalement décidé de faire une édition totalement nouvelle de Mascarade, permettant ainsi de reprendre la sélection des personnages, qui viennent pour deux tiers de ce qui était le jeu de base et pour un tiers de l’extension. Les discussions pour savoir qui garder ont été assez tendues, chacun ayant ses personnages préférés. J’ai fait un peu le forcing pour le marionnettiste, car je trouve vraiment drôle de voir les joueurs changer de place autour de la table. En contrepartie, j’ai dû accepter de laisser partir le Maudit, qui rendait plus méchant un jeu auquel nous voudrions à l’inverse donner une image plus légère ; on en fera peut-être un goodie, comme le joueur, si cette nouvelle version a du succès.

Les règles pour deux et trois joueurs, qui relevaient un peu du bricolage, ont été abandonnées, et c’est tant mieux – il y a plein de jeux plus intéressants à deux ou trois.

Quelques personnages ont changé de nom; les anciens devront, comme moi, s’y habituer.
Le roi et la reine de Mascarade sont devenus l’impératrice et le roi, ce que je regrette un peu car j’aimais bien le gag un peu féministe de la reine qui gagne un tiers de moins que le roi. J’ai eu un peu la même histoire avec un autre petit jeu de cartes qui sort bientôt, Les petits lutins du Père Noël, j’en reparlerai un de ces jours.
L’évêque est devenu un escroc et l’inquisiteur un gourou, parce qu’il est facile de se moquer des sectes mais que l’on a de plus en plus peur de se mettre à dos les religions établies, qui ne sont pourtant que des sectes qui ont réussi. De même, lorsque, il y a quatre ans, l’éditeur américain a refait les illustrations de Citadelles, ils ont laissé l’évêque mais ont pris bien garde de représenter la religion par un symbole bizarre et vaguement fantastique, et non par une croix chrétienne.
Il faudra que j’écrive un de ces jours un article pour expliquer aux éditeurs qu’ils ont généralement tort de penser à priori que les joueurs sont susceptibles, un peu bêtes et sans humour. Même si cela ne change en fait rien à un jeu qui n’a rien de politique, je regrette un peu que les deux clins d’œil un peu progressistes qui j’y avais glissé, moquant gentiment le sexisme et la religion, aient finalement sauté.

L’autre raison qui a sans doute poussé l’éditeur à relancer ce jeu est son look un peu daté. Les boites allongées comme celle du premier Mascarade ne sont plus à la mode, et donnaient au jeu un côté un peu vieillot. Les graphismes étaient magnifiques, mais peut-être un peu sombres pour ce qui est finalement un jeu grand public, assez rapide, aussi proche des Loups Garous que de Citadelles. La nouvelle édition a donc un format plus classique, et est illustrée dans un style absolument adorable et beaucoup plus léger, plein de couleurs sur fond blanc, par Things by Diana. Le nouveau carnaval a l’air plus vaudou ou mexicain ou brésilien que vénitien, et plus du tout Renaissance. C’est plus joyeux, plus lisible, et sans doute plus dans l’esprit du jeu.

Mascarade
Un jeu de Bruno Faidutti
Illustré par Things by Diana
4 à 13 joueurs – 30 minutes
Publié par Repos Production
Parution 2021 (1ère édition 2014)
Boardgamegeek


Mascarade was first published in 2013  and has become, together with Citadels, Diamant and The Dwarf King, one of my best selling games. After its initial success, Repos production, one year later, published an expansion with new characters. The characters in the expansion are not, like often, stuff that was discarded from the base game, but new ideas which came to me later when playing, or which were suggested by the first owners of the base game. Some cards are more fun and interesting than the basic characters. The Puppet Master, the Beggar and the Princess, for example, have been very popular with my gaming group.

Unfortunately, as it always happens, the sales of expansion were only a small fraction of those of the base game and, for a few years now, the publisher had stopped reprinting it. As a result, most Mascarade players ignored some of the most interesting cards. I am therefore really happy that Repos Production decided to revamp the game, and we seized the opportunity to make a new selection of characters, more or less ⅔ from the basic game and ⅓ from the expansion. The discussions on which characters to keep and which to discard were tense, every character having a few fans. I insisted on adding the puppetmaster, because it’s really fun to see players move around the table. As a counterpart, I had to give up the Damned, which made the game more nasty when the idea is to make this new edition lighter and more family friendly. If the game sells well, may be it will be a goodie some day, like the Gambler.

The two and three player rules have been deleted, and it’s better so. There are so many better games for 2 or 3 players.

A few characters changed name; the old gamers will have, like me, to get used to it.
The King and Queen have become the Empress and King, which I regret because I liked the feminist quip of the woman making one third less than the man. I had a similar problem with another joke in a small card game to be published in the coming months, Santa’s Little Elves – more about it soon.
The Bishop has become a Crook and the Inquisitor a Guru, because it’s safe and easy to mock sects but we don’t dare anymore to mock established religions, which are only sects that got lucky, successful and powerful. Similarly, four years ago, when FFG made a new edition of Citadels, they kept the Bishop but represented religion with a strange fantastic symbol and not the good old Christian cross.
May be I should write a blogpost explaining to publishers that they are probably wrong in thinking the average gamer is touchy, a bit stupid and completely devoid of humor. Anyway, it doesn’t affect the gameplay, and Mascarade was never a political game, but I’m still a bit sad that the two progressive quips I have hidden in it, mocking sexism and religion, have finally disappeared.

The main reason for revamping the game was that, while the art was great, its look was a bit outdated. Long and thin boxes have mostly disappeared from game shop shelves. The art was gorgeous but a bit dark for what, after all, a light and fast paced game, something between Werewolves and Citadels. The new edition has a more balanced rectangular shape. The art, by Things by Diana, is adorable and much lighter, lots of colors on a white background. This new Masquerade looks as much like a Mexican or Brasilian carnival than a Venetian one. It’s more fun, easier to read, and fits better with the game.

Mascarade
A game by Bruno Faidutti
Art by Things by Diana
4 to 13 players – 30 minutes
Published by Repos Production
2021 (1st edition 2014)
Boardgamegeek

4 thoughts on “Mascarade, 2ème édition
Mascarade, 2nd edition

  1. What a horrible idea to remove some of the cards. Beyond the scope of any sane person’s capability of understanding…

    Why not simply include ALL the cards and leave it to the players to decide which cards they want to use and which they don’t want to use in their games? Why patronise the players?

    Just inconceivable…

    • Why have players lose their time trying everything until they find the best characters ? Some are better than other, so let’s make a choice.

      Putting everything in would have made the game more expensive, and would have it restricted to hardcore gamers who have the time and will to try everything. The idea is the opposite, make it lighter and more mainstream.

      And why design games ? Why not let gamers make their own ?

      • As you have written yourself in this blog, EVERY character had its own fans – it is totally subjective, just a matter of personal taste.

        You could have still made it “easy” for players fo find the characters which are “best” according to YOUR taste, by recommending a certain set of characters to start with for beginners, while at the same time not unnecessarily patronising players.

        Players who have played both the original game and the expansion will be VERY sad and disappointed when they learn that their favourite character has been removed from the game.

        Why make everything light and more mainstream? Your goal is not to earn money, but to create great games. You get enough money through Citadels alone. The new artwork is enough to make it more mainstream, removing characters was not necessary for that.

        Why not let gamers make their own? Well it is not their job. Everybody has his own job and he should act responsibly within his own job.

        Again: The cards were already there. Nobody wanting to tell you how to create NEW games. But removing the already existing cards was just totally unnecessary. NOBODY would have been hurt if those few cards had simply been added. How much more would one copy cost now if ALL the cards were included? 1 oder 2 €? This is ridiculous, it does not make a relevant difference.

        Again: Write in your rulebook: Here you have a set of character cards that is best suitable for beginners. Start playing with these only. These are also the characters that the designer likes best. HOWEVER, here some other cards to add some variety. Use them as you wish and according to your personal taste.

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