Article Card Games

Illusion Game Review

More Than Meets the Eye

Read Kathleen’s review of Illusion to learn if this small-box game is more than meets the eye.

Disclosure: Meeple Mountain received a free copy of this product in exchange for an honest, unbiased review. This review is not intended to be an endorsement.

Illusion is a card game for 2-5 players that tests your spatial reasoning. It is designed by Wolfgang Warsch who is known for such hits as The Mind, Ganz Schön Clever, and The Quacks of Quedlinburg.

How to Play

To set up the game, the deck of 92 Color Cards is placed face-up on the table, one of the 12 Arrow Cards is flipped up, and the top Color Card  from the deck is placed next to the Arrow Card on the table. Gameplay is very simple, you’re attempting to correctly place new Color Cards based on how much of the Arrow Card’s color it has. On your turn, you either take the top card from the Color Card pile and place where you think it belongs in the row of cards, or you challenge the validity of the entire row. It’s important to note that the top Color Card is already visible, so you know before you make your choice whether or not it’s going to be an easy card to place.

In this example, the player has decided the card has more green than the first, but less than the second.

When a player challenges a row, all of the cards in the existing row are flipped over to reveal their color percentages. If the cards are not in ascending order of color percentage for the current Arrow Card, the challenging player wins the current Arrow Card (which acts as a point). If, however, all of the cards were in the correct order, the Arrow Card goes to the player whose turn was directly before the challenging player. After a challenge is complete, all the remaining Color Cards are removed and a new round is set up with a new Arrow and Color Card.

The game continues until one player has three Arrow Cards. Once that happens, the game ends and that player is declared the victor.


With such a simple game, players find themselves filled with confidence before they start. After all, you just need to look at some cards, how hard can it be? Well, it’s trickier than you might think. While some cases are obvious, there are others where the percentage difference is so small that it’s very hard to tell. And when challenging a row could lead to another player getting one of the three Arrow Cards they need to win, you want to be sure.

Would you challenge this row? What if the player to your left already had two Arrow Cards? From left to right the percentage of red on the cards is 30%, 28%, 27% and 32%, so a challenger would have won the Arrow Card.

Given the current state of the world, it’s worth noting that this game could very easily be played over video chat. All players have the same information, so a single camera aimed at the playing area is all you’d need.

With Illusion, Warsch has created a quick and simple game that almost anyone can play. I say almost anyone, because there is one fatal flaw in the game’s graphic design. For anyone with red-green colorblindness this game is almost unplayable. Just take a look at what a row of Color Cards would look like to them.

But that’s really my only complaint. While it certainly can’t compare to The Mind or That’s Pretty Clever, Illusion does exactly what it sets out to do. It’s a quick, easy to understand game that gives you a chance to tell your friends that they’re wrong.


About the author

Kathleen Hartin

Kathleen's love of board games started at a young age, and has only grown over the years. Her favourite style of games are those that involve a lot of beige, and wooden cubes.

1 Comment

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  • This looks like a lot of fun. My wife and I like to play THE MIND EXTREME as a quick filler game, or at the table at a restaurant as we wait for our food. Fund stuff. And colors are her thing (she has a degree in textiles and worked as a color matcher at Gear for Sports and Under Armor for a while). This could be just the thing for us.

    Thanks for the excellent review.

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