Review: Fox in the Forest Duet (Renegade Game Studios) – English

When two get lost in the forest, it is best to leave breadcrumbs to find your path back to the entrance/exit. In the Fox in the Forest Duet, talented fairy tale characters are lured into the woods by elves who take a little too much inspiration from Shakespeare’s works. To escape the forest, players try to collect gems and walk the path correctly. Will you stay on the right path or will your fairy tale come to an end?

Background and objective

The Fox in the Forest is a popular trick taking game for two players. I can probably largely explain this popularity by its elegant yet simple twist on the concept of a trick taking game and its fairy-tale design and setting. The twist: in the Fox in the Forest, many cards have special effects to influence the outcome of a trick and players try not to play too greedy or modestly, because if you win too many or, on the contrary, too few tricks, you earn fewer points. This creates a super competitive game, where you also occasionally have to let your opponent win a move.

The availability of two-player trick taking games was a rarer phenomenon in 2017 than it is now. In recent years, after the rediscovery of the genre – perhaps partly due to the Fox in the Forest – there was a tidal wave rushing to the games market. As a result of that tidal wave, a lot of two-player trick taking games washed up (some actually washed up…), as well as cooperative trick taking games like The Crew, with the cooperative trick taking game almost becoming a genre of its own. The Fox in the Forest is still an elegant, smooth and competitive game, but the competitive element of the original game has been replaced by a cooperative one in the reworking. The Fox in the Forest Duet originally came out in 2020 in the English language and has since been released in different languages. As the name of this new edition suggests, the Fox in the Forest Duet is an actual duet in which two players search for gems in the forest, without leaving the forest path. If they step off the path too often, it’s the end of the game and they receive a grim ending. Do they manage to pick up all the gems from the forest in three rounds? Then they win the game together and live happily ever after.

Setup and gameplay

In the middle of the table, players place a board with the forest path. On the forest path they place the joint movement token and along the forest path they place gems at the indicated spots. The cards are shuffled and each player is dealt 11 cards. The total of 30 cards are in three different suits. Each card has a suit and a value. Some cards have a move value and/or a special ability. Special abilities allow players to influence the course or outcome of a trick or the game. From the pile of remaining cards, one card is flipped face up. This is the decree card and this card determines the ’trump suit’ for the round.

Once players have 11 cards on hand, starting with the leader, they can play tricks. As in traditional trick taking games, the leader plays a card and the other player (the follower) must play a card of the same suit, if possible. The player that played the card with the highest value (taking into consideration the trump suit) wins the trick. After a trick, any movement value of the cards played is added together and the movement token moves that many steps towards the ‘winner’. If the movement token lands on a spot where a gem lies, this gem may be placed back in the supply. If you get off the end of the path, a forest token must be placed on the board and the path is shortened. If you cannot place any forest tokens after you got off the path, it is game over. A maximum of three rounds are played in total. A round is over once players have played all cards in hand. At the beginning of a round, the path is shortened and new gems are placed. It is also game over after the end of round three. If players manage to remove all gems from the board during a round, they have won.


The Fox in the Forest Duet is a fantastic duet between two players. The design is beautiful and fairytale-like, but the theme is largely unrelated to the gameplay concept. I don’t really understand why players collect gems in an enchanted forest, but oh well. The concept and twist on the trick taking game is simple but, like the first game, extremely elegant. The concept of using tricks to move a certain amount feels refreshing and intuitive to me. The intuitive nature makes the game easy to pick up if you are already familiar with trick taking games, but it is also easy for newcomers to learn and play. Players must be able to sense what cards the other player has in hand, and players must collectively (without being allowed to communicate) plan well in order to walk their proverbial and actual path in the woods.