When the iguana steals the coveted fire, it’s up to the possum to steal the fire back! However, like Fast & Furious, it’s all about family, so then you prefer to keep the heat source within that circle as well. Like wildfire, victory spreads once the pyromaniac opossums bluff each other out. For you, is it a bonfire or a bunch of smoldering coals?
In Tails on Fire, players try to collect the most fires. They do so by bidding and bluffing each turn on the fire card currently face-up on the table. Players all receive a set of opossums in ascending numbers (as well as a special possum that is always worth one point more than any other opossum), their own bonfire to start with and a card with a hiding place.
At the beginning of the game, each player places his bonfire in front of him and places a random opossum on it. This is this player’s first fire stack. Each different opossum can own a fire pile with multiple fires. These stacks players will also steal from each other during the game.
Each turn, each player chooses three available opossums from their hand to play with that round. The other opossums are placed in the shelter and are not available. Starting with the player who won the previous round (or the oldest player during the first round), players now “bid” for the fire card.
The first player may play a card that is equal or exactly 1 point higher in value than the fire card (or in the case of a 9, also a 1). This player may also pass. The next player can now play a possum that is exactly 1 higher or this player may pass. So there is an opossum that is always one higher than the other, but they may not be played in immediate succession.
If it is a player’s turn and his opossum is already on top of the pile, that player wins the fire. That player places the fire card in front of him and places the last played opossum on top of it. This player also steals all fire cards from stacks of other players with an opossum of the same value. So pay close attention to which stacks of yours are at risk.
Players take back all cards in front of them and all opossums used to bid this round are exhausted and will sleep for a while. The next round they will be fresh enough to steal fire again. When all fire cards have been dealt, the game is over. The player with the most fire symbols on their stolen fire cards wins!
Tails on Fire has an interesting game concept and game play. Over time, players have fewer cards and fewer possibilities to bid with. Players must therefore plan well and cleverly capitalize on other players’ bluffs and opportunities. By planning well, you can easily steal, but beware that you can also be easily robbed. As a result, Tails on Fire is a funny and quick game with a dynamic gameplay element that managed to surprise us. The game has interesting tactics despite the limited amount of cards per player and players can know how to play each other well.