The Princess Bride: Miracle Pill is a card game for two to six players ages 10 and up. It is designed by Phillip duBarry with illustrations by Felicia Cano.
In Miracle Pill, you are trying to collect ingredients for Miracle Max so that he can revive the mostly dead Man in Black.
How it works:
The game is played in three rounds. Each round, players are dealt four cards. They choose one and pass one to the player on their right or left, depending on the round. Players pass cards until each player has four cards.
Then each player chooses a card and plays it to the table. If the card is played face up, its instructions are followed. If it is played face down, the player can use it later to “pay” for potion cards.
The last card in each player’s hand is discarded.
Cards have different effects, and most are worth points at the end of the game. To buy a potion, players must sacrifice one or two cards from the cards they have already played.
Some cards multiply points when collected in sets. Others attack opponents, some are wild, and some give special bonuses at the end of the game.
The player with the most points wins.
Why you might buy The Princess Bride: Miracle Pill:
The game works especially well with two players, since in the card passing, you will get to see what your opponent took and perhaps snag a card you wanted the first time around.
I try not to compare games in my reviews, but there is no denying that Miracle Pill gets inspiration from the award-winning 7 Wonders. It’s like a shorter, lighter, more random, less expensive version of that game.
The artwork is charming, and there are a few quotes from the movie interspersed throughout the cards.
Why you might not buy The Princess Bride: Miracle Pill:
The game tries to fit the movie, but you don’t feel like you’re in The Princess Bride world. The art, while charming, doesn’t relate. And having players attack one another doesn’t make sense thematically, given that the movie characters would all be after the same goal.
Some cards are much more powerful than others, and some are virtually unstoppable. That does fit the miracle theme, but it makes the game frustrating.
Getting a card that gives you immunity to attacks early in the game (like I did) practically hands you the game. Unless you get a 60-point card and then a card that triples any one card. (That happened, too.)
The folks I played with didn’t like sacrificing cards, even for better ones. That may be because they had all played the aforementioned 7 Wonders, where you get to keep using the same cards throughout the game.
I didn’t think that was a huge weakness, but it made it hard to strategize. I would choose a card for its value, but then if I wanted greater value, I had to give it up.
The drafting mechanism (where you choose cards and pass them) helps, but there aren’t many choices, so usually one card is clearly optimal.
Miracle Pill is fighting a hard battle. It’s similar to a beloved, well-known game. The question, then, is whether a lighter version of 7 Wonders is needed, and if it is, whether Miracle Pill can fill that void.
I can’t answer whether a lighter version is needed. What I can say is that the people I played with wanted the game to last longer and offer them more choices. They also wanted their strategy to build rather than shift.
So they wanted 7 Wonders instead of Miracle Pill. Would that have been different if they had never played 7 Wonders? I don’t know.
For me, the imbalance of the cards is a larger problem.
I like the game quite a lot with two people, but with more players, the powerful cards take over.
Full disclosure: I received a review copy of The Princess Bride: Miracle Pill from Game Salute. I wasn’t required to write a positive review. These are my honest opinions.