Originally released in 2017, The Fox in the Forest quickly became a highly regarded trick taking game. To try and capitalize on the success of the original game, three years later in 2020 a spinoff/sequel was released called The Fox in the Forest Duet. What is unique about The Fox in the Forest Duet is that it takes your typical trick taking gameplay and turns it into a cooperative game. Instead of trying to win the most tricks, players need to work together to alternate winning tricks in order to collect all of the gems in time.
Year: 2020 | Publisher: Foxtrot Games, Renegade Game Studios | Designer: Foxtrot Games | Artist: Roanna Peroz
Genres: Card, Cooperative, Trick Taking
Ages: 10+ | Number of Players: 2 | Length of Game: 30 minutes
Difficulty: Light-Moderate | Strategy: Light-Moderate | Luck: Light-Moderate
Components: 30 game cards, 2 reference cards, Forest Board, 22 Gem Tokens, 4 Forest Tokens, Team Track, instructions
Objective of The Fox in the Forest Duet
The objective of The Fox in the Forest Duet is to collect all of the Gem Tokens from the gameboard before you run out of time.
Setup for The Fox in the Forest Duet
- Place the board in the middle of the table between the two players. Each player should sit at one end of the board. If you want to play the easier game, make sure side A is face up. Side B offers a harder challenge (see the Difficulty Levels section below).
- Place twelve Gem Tokens on the squares located next to the path. The number of tokens you should place on each square depends on the number of small square icons inside it. The Gem Tokens not added to the board are set near the board to create a supply.
- Place the four Forest Tokens near the gameboard.
- Place the Team Tracker on the center space of the path.
- Shuffle the 30 cards.
- Choose one player to be the dealer for the first round. They will deal eleven cards to both players. Players can look at their own cards, but they may never look at their teammate’s cards. The rest of the cards form a draw pile.
- Reveal the top card from the draw pile, and place it next to the board. This card will be the Decree Card for the round. The suit of the card will be “trump” for the round.
Playing a Round
You will play The Fox in the Forest Duet for three rounds (can be less if you do really well or bad).
Each round consists of eleven turns known as tricks.
Playing a Trick
Each trick will begin with one of the players playing one of the cards from their hand. For the first trick in a round, the player who did not deal will play first. In all other tricks, the player who won the last trick, will start the next trick. The first player will play the “lead” card. The player can play any card as there are no restrictions on what card they play.
The other player will then follow with a card of their own. This player has a rule that they must follow when choosing their card though. All of the cards in the game will have a suit (dove, rose, star). If the second player has a card of the suit played by the first player, they must play the card. Should they have multiple cards that are the same suit, they can choose which of the cards that they want to play.
When a player does not have any cards that match the lead suit, they can play any card they want from their hand.
Determining the Winner of a Trick
After both players have played their card for the trick, you will determine who won.
First you will see if one or both of the cards match the trump suit (the suit of the Decree card). If only one of the cards match the trump suit, the player who played that card automatically wins the trick. When both players play a card of the trump suit, the player who played the higher card will win the trick.
Should neither player play a card matching the trump suit, you will then look at the suit of the lead card. The player who plays the higher numbered card of the lead suit wins the trick.
Moving the Team Tracker
After you determine the winner of a trick, you will proceed to move the Team Tracker along the path towards the player who won the trick.
You will look at the movement values of both cards that were played. Each card will have a number of paw prints in the corner. You will count up the number of paw prints on both cards. You will move the Team Tracker towards the winning player a number of spaces equal to the total number of paw prints.
If the Team Tracker should land on a space that has a Gem Token connected to it, you will take one of the tokens. This applies even if the Team Tracker moved no spaces this turn. If the space has multiple tokens, you will only take one of them. The one exception to this is if you moved beyond the path (see below).
If you remove the last Gem Token from the board, you immediately win the game.
Moving Beyond the Path
When moving you will occasionally move too far, where you will move past the end of the path or onto a previously placed Forest Token.
When this happens you will move the Team Tracker to the center space of the path. You will place a Forest Token on the last space on the side of the path that you were on.
If the space you placed the Forest Token on had Gem Tokens connected to it, the tokens will be moved one space closer to the center of the board.
Should you be forced to place a Forest Token and have none left, the game ends immediately. The players have lost the game.
After you have played cards and moved the Team Tracker, the current trick ends.
You will discard all of the cards played during the trick. Players may never look at cards discarded in previous tricks.
End of Round
A round ends after eleven tricks are played. After the third round, the game moves onto the End of the Game phase. At the end of the first and second round you will follow the steps below.
Look at the gameboard and place one Gem Token from the supply to each space which has a + symbol on it.
The players will have to place one Forest Token. If there are no Forest Tokens left, the players will skip this step. They can choose to place it on the last uncovered space on either end of the path. If the Team Tracker is on the last space on one end of the path, they must place the Forest Token on the other end of the path. Should the Forest Token cover up a space that has Gem Tokens on it, the Gem Tokens will be moved one space closer to the center of the board.
Gather up all of the cards and shuffle them. The player who didn’t deal the last round, will become the dealer for the next round. They will deal eleven cards to each player, and a new card is revealed as the Decree card.
The Team Tracker will stay on the same space that it ended the last round on.
End of Game
The Fox in the Forest Duet can end in a number of different ways.
If at any point all of the Gem Tokens have been removed from the gameboard, the game ends immediately. The players have won the game.
You will score points for your victory as follows:
- 10 points for Level 1, 20 points for Level 2, 30 points for Level 3
- Add one point for each card left in each players’ hand.
- Add 10 points if you won in the second round.
- 3 points for each Forest Token that wasn’t added to the board.
If you ever move past the end of the path and have no Forest Tokens left to place, the players immediately lose the game.
If the third round has been completed and there are still Gem Tokens left on the board, the players lose the game.
While playing the game there are rules for what you can say to your teammate.
You may never tell the other player about the cards in your hand. This includes their suits, numbers, movement values, or special abilities.
You may not ask questions that may give you information about what cards the other player holds in their hand.
Finally you may not discuss your strategy which includes who you want to win a trick, what cards to play, etc.
Special Cards in The Fox in the Forest Duet
The odd numbered cards in the game have special effects on them which activate when they are played. What these special effects do are detailed below.
#1 – The player who wins the trick gets to decide which direction to move the Team Tracker. They can either move spaces equal to the paws on both cards towards their end of the board or the other end of the board.
#3 – The player who plays this card can either choose themselves or the other player. The chosen player can keep the Decree card that is still in play. Otherwise they may choose to exchange the current Decree card for one of the cards from their hand. If this impacts the trump suit, the effect applies immediately.
#5 – The player who wins the trick can choose to ignore the movement value of one of the two cards that were played. They may choose to use both cards if they want. If two #5s are played, the winner can choose to use both cards, one card, or neither card for their movement value.
#7 – This card’s effect is applied immediately. Both players will choose a card from their hand and give it to the other player. Both cards should be passed at the same time so neither player knows what the other is passing.
#9 – If the #9 is the first card played in the trick, the other player can choose not to follow the lead suit. They can choose to follow suit if they want to though.
The Fox in the Forest Duet Difficulty Levels
Before you play the game you should choose which difficulty level you would like to try.
- Use Side A of the gameboard.
- Place 12 Gem Stones as shown on the gameboard.
- Use 4 Forest Tokens.
- Use Side B of the gameboard.
- Place 13 Gem Tokens as shown by the small squares on the gameboard. Ignore the diamond symbols.
- Use 3 Forest Tokens.
- Use Side B of the gameboard.
- Place 16 Gem Tokens as shown by the small squares and diamonds on the gameboard.
- Use 3 Forest Tokens.