Raise Your Goblets tabletop game written review:
First appearing on Kickstarter as the simply titled “Toast”, party game Raise Your Goblets was picked up by Horrible Games and publisher CMON. It was given a facelift, a few other tweaks and then re-released to retail.
So what is it I hear you ask? Well, let me tell you. It is part memory game, part bluffing, part deduction and part variable player power. If it sounds confusing, it isn’t. It’s a family game for 2-12 players (2-6 single, more in teams) and the rule set is super simple.
In Raise Your Goblets you are all trying to survive being poisoned by the other players, all whilst trying to poison someone allocated to you. If you’ve seen the movie The Princess Bride, you’ll be very familiar with the Dread Pirate Roberts and Vizzini goblet swapping scene. If you aren't, why that's just… inconceivable!
Each player has their own adorable plastic goblet - a colored ring attached to the bottom to make remembering specific goblets easier - an amount of glass beads for wine, poison, antidote (and a couple for specialities), a shield to hide your nefarious activities and cards. You take on the roles of nobles at a fancy banquet, each with a special ability. This could be peeking in a goblet, moving goblets more than once, using special beads etc.
On your turn you have a few choices. You can peek into the goblet in front of you (goblets are all placed at arms length from players so in a seated position, no one can see inside them). You can place a wine, antidote or poison bead in a goblet or the goblets can be moved (rotated or swapped). Eventually someone will call for a toast (when they’ve used all their wine tokens) and whatever goblet is in front of you is used in the toast and you discover your fate by looking at what concoction you got. Kill your target means you score points, as does surviving the round. If you die, no points for you.
So is Raise Your Goblets a good tabletop game? Well it depends on your thoughts on game mechanics. For me Raise Your Goblets was far too random. Even with the best played strategy things can go awry simply by other player choice, with someone moving the goblets in such a manner that you miss your target, or indeed swig the poison yourself.
As far as components go Raise Your Goblets is superb, six beautiful ornate plastic goblets, sturdy player shields, nice quality cards, those glass beads. There’s really nothing to dislike. It’s just a shame that gameplay is so damn random. Special player abilities too seem to only add to this randomness, with some seeming unweighted when compared to others, it’s a real shame.
Having said all of that, my group did enjoy Raise Your Goblets for what it was, an extremely pretty, silly, well made “memory” game where randomness and luck play a huge role in the overall outcome. I will be keeping it in my collection for those games nights when non board gaming friends want to play something silly.
Buy it if you love pretty, pretty things and just silly fun with family and friends.
Avoid it if a lot of randomness / luck in games drives you crazy.
"But it's so simple. All I have to do is divine from what I know of you: are you the sort of man who would put the poison into his own goblet or his enemy's? Now, a clever man would put the poison into his own goblet, because he would know that only a great fool would reach for what he was given. I am not a great fool, so I can clearly not choose the wine in front of you. But you must have known I was not a great fool, you would have counted on it, so I can clearly not choose the wine in front of me". - Vizzini: The Princess Bride