Northwood desires peace with all surrounding fiefs. But only one can be trusted to visit them all, engage their rulers in dialogue, and forge everlasting alliances with all the woodland creatures. Are you up to the task? Go forth! For Northwood!

What Is It?

A solo, precision trick-taking game where the player visits 8 fiefs over 8 rounds in an attempt to win the favor of each one’s ruler. The player will have to hit an exact score at each location (0 – 7 points) by winning that number of tricks in order to succeed have have the ruler cry out “For Northwood!” Failing will cause the ruler to turn hostile, which could result in a loss for the player. In addition to playing cards from their hand, they will also have some allies with abilities they can use to help them succeed. When they turn a ruler friendly, they can recruit them as an ally once per game at another fief to help them succeed.

If at the end of 8 rounds the player is able to unify all 3 fiefs that have a star on their back, they will win!

Who Is It For?

  • Solo Gamers
  • Ages 10+ (Maybe 12+ for the advanced mode)
  • Fans of trick-taking
  • Players who like puzzling out best moves/when to use abilities


Advanced – This variant adds more variability by adding more potential rules to ally with/use the abilities of. It also changes the win condition from needing to succeed at the fiefs with the stars to needing to succeed at the 4 outermost fiefs; failing any of those results in an immediate loss for the player.

I loved the new ruler abilities this added, and the variety since every game started with a different set of allies, and 8 different rulers out at the fiefs. I also much preferred this win condition because it let you know right away if you lost, whereas the basic game does not. Personally, I think I’d always play the advanced game to have those extra cards in there to vary the set up, but it’s also plenty of fun, and you can replay it to really try and learn how to best familiarize yourself with certain abilities.


  • Aesthetics – Super cute art; different symbols in different colors is a nice touch
  • Rules – Simple rule set; well-written
  • Plays smoothly once you get started
  • Different powers are cool; fun to try and optimize them and choose when to bring new rulers along as allies, since they are one time use
  • Lots of variability when you add in the advanced cards
  • Advanced win condition works really well because you know immediately if you lost and you can clean up or restart without wondering
  • Hitting an exact score is tricky, but a really cool concept that works well for the style of game to make it more of a puzzle


  • There is a lot of shuffling; I recommend sleeving it to reduce wear on the cards
  • I thought the basic game win condition was odd because you don’t flip the fief cards until the end, so you don’t know if you’ve lost until you visit all 8, even if you may have lost on your first attempt. I think flipping over failed fiefs as soon as you fail them, and knowing it is a loss if there is a star on the back, would be a better approach

Final Thoughts

Trick-taking games can be super hit and miss for me, but I’ve been digging solo games a lot more recently, so I really wanted to give this a try. And … it’s a winner! I love the look of it, very cute and approachable, and I think it works really well.

At first, I definitely didn’t realize just how important it is to really use your allies; without them, it comes down to pretty much just luck of the draw, so don’t neglect them!

If you’re a solo gamer and like trick-taking, you’ll definitely want to check this one out!

Additional Information:
My Final Rating – 8/10
Designer – Wilhelm Su
Artist – Wilhelm Su
Publisher – Side Room Games
MSRP – $16

*I was provided a prototype copy of this game to do this preview*
*All components shown are subject to change*

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