SNAP Review – Jekyll vs. Hyde
“In each of us, two natures are at war – the good, and the evil”
“Hm. That’s true. I suppose.”
Robert Lewis Stephenson explored this dynamic in his 1886 novella “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde”. Most people know the general story of Jekyll and Hyde and these two personalities in one man. And many of us have even played games featuring these two characters – or is it one?
We’re at it again.
This is a SNAP review for Jekyll vs Hyde, a two-player trick-taking game by Geon-il published by Mandoo Games and distributed by Flat River Games.
It plays in about 20 minutes; the box says ages 14+ but we think it can go quite a bit younger.
[Andrew] Anybody who knows me, knows that if I say “Vincent Dutrait“, I’m going to say, “I love it!”
The art here is excellent. It’s dark and sinister in a Gothic style – but it’s not graphic or frightening. (
I love how each suit depicts the change from Jekyll to Hyde as the numbers get larger.
The mysterious potion bottles get larger as their numbers increase, too.
There’s also a really cool metal double-faced figurine (the Identity marker) that moves down the board. It’s an arrestingly visual presentation of the struggle between our two characters.
How do we play this game?
One player will take on the role of Dr. Jekyll, and the other as Mr. Hyde.
At the same time?
Set up the board, with the Identity marker on the first space of Dr. Jekyll’s side. Then deal 10 cards to each player.
Players exchange one card on the first round, two cards on the second round, and (you guessed it) three cards on the third round. If a player has two or more Potion cards, they must include a Potion as one of the cards they exchange.
Now it’s time to play! The leading player puts down a card face up. The following player must follow suit if possible, or they may play a Potion card.
Compare the two cards – if they are the same suit, the higher number wins. But get this, if they are different suits, the higher color wins.
So let’s talk about that. When someone first plays a color, that color’s token is added to the ranking, from weakest to strongest. This means the third color (third suit) played in a round is the strongest one.
Playing potion cards has the potential to change everything. When a potion card is played one of three things happens:
If the other card is red (Wrath), remove the color rank tokens from the board. You’re going to reset and start the colors over again.
For purple (Pride), the player who won the trick takes another trick from the other player’s completed ones.
If it’s green (Envy or Greed), the players swap two cards.
If the leading player puts down a Potion, they state a suit that their opponent must play instead.
These potion cards can really mix up the flow of the game especially if you play them at the right time.
Winning the Game
The goal of the game is to get the identity token to all the way to the other side – but only if you’re Hyde. If you’re Jekyll, you want to keep that from happening by the end of the third round.
The number of spaces the token moves after a round is equal to the difference between the won tricks by each player. This means Hyde wants to make that difference as big as possible, either by winning or losing as many tricks as they can. But Jekyll wants to keep them in balance.
Let’s talk about our expectations for this game.
I didn’t really have any? It’s two player trick-taking, which seems like a tricky (hah) thing to get right.
The idea of balance vs. extremes was really interesting and seems to fit this theme really well.
You know what’s really cool, especially if you lose – you know that feeling you get when you finish a puzzle and think “I can do better, I want to do it again”? I feel that way about this game. Usually because you beat me.
And the art is just fantastic.
We also expected it to be a relatively quick game. It’s a small box – a very small box – and it’s a two player game.
Let’s talk about what surprised us from this game.
Well it was fast. But we were still surprised with just how fast it was! This has already become one of our favorite quick two player games.
Like many trick-taking games, a lot of the interest in Jekyll vs. Hyde is all in your mind. “If I play this, I can force him to play that… but is that really what I want to do?”
As Jekyll, it’s incredibly challenging to win just the right number of tricks. And as Hyde, you need to be ready to pivot your strategy to either win as much as possible – or – give away as much as possible.
This is a great game for older kids and adults. It’s thinky without being long or complicated. It’s got a theme that’s just a tiny bit creepy and I think it would be an awesome choice to play around Halloween.
[Andrew] The watercolor art is gorgeous and the two-faced bust (I love that piece) is a nice statement piece on the board.
[Anitra] We really can’t get enough of this game. It has quickly become a game that the two of us play a lot.
[Andrew] I’m really struggling to come up with things that even bother me about this one. What do you think we should rate Jekyll vs. Hyde?
I agree with you. We’re going to give Jekyll vs. Hyde a perfect rating: 5 potions out of 5.
And that’s Jekyll vs. Hyde in a SNAP.
Find it on Amazon or ask for it at your local game store.
The Family Gamers received a copy of Jekyll vs. Hyde from Flat River Games for this review.
This post contains affiliate links, which do not change your price, but help support The Family Gamers.
SNAP review music is Avalanche, provided courtesy of You Bred Raptors?
Jekyll vs. Hyde
Number of Players: 2
Age Range: 14+
Playtime: 20 minutes