Players strive to become the city’s greatest Magician by acquiring the most Fame points. But there is much more at stake than prestige alone. The audience’s favourite wins the contest for the mighty Trickerion Stone, a relic that grants supernatural powers to its owner, making him a true Legend of Illusion.
Behind every great magician there is a team of helpers: a gorgeous Pretty Assistant, a cunning Manager, a resourceful Engineer and some diligent Apprentices. Using these characters and their resources, players will be able to sculpt their own repertoire of Tricks from 40 available magic illusions in 4 different categories, prepare and perfect them on their very own Workshop that can be expanded during the game, and finally perform them at the Theater. How these Performances shape up is entirely up to the players: they build them from the ground up with the tricks of their choice, and they can perform them alone, or choose to temporarily cooperate with others in a co-performance for mutual benefits.
On top of managing their team and trick repertoire, players can also improve their magician’s skills by collecting shards of the mighty Trickerion Stone and learning new abilities using its power. If they are willing to get their hands dirty, they can even visit the Dark Alley location to obtain some insidious extra actions, or change their fate by dabbling into the supernatural at the fortune teller.
Check out our latest rule book for further information!
The core mechanism of Trickerion is rooted in worker – or Character, as they are called in the game - placement, but we wanted to give it an extra layer of strategic planning. A quick turn phase is dedicated to planning the “who goes where” part of the character placement simultaneously in secret, using face-down cards. Since the effectiveness of the different characters vary, this is a very important part of the strategy. This phase typically takes about 3-5 minutes, but greatly reduces player downtime in the subsequent phase: when the cards are revealed, and players place their Characters, one at a time, they only have to choose the order in which they are placed.
In order to keep player downtime minimal and the planning decisions quick, we wanted to have a relatively low number of locations where characters can be placed. Each of these locations, however, has several different available Actions. Initially, players could choose freely from these Actions when placing their Characters, but after some tests we felt that some of them should be harder to take than others. This led to our Action point system. At every Location, each Action has an Action Point cost, while the Characters have different Action Point values. Furthermore, the character slots at the Locations themselves also have modifiers to these points – players who ‘arrive’ at a Location earlier have access to better spots, therefore more Action Points.
All in all, this system added an interesting new layer of decision to the character placement: players have to consider not only which character to place where, but also when to place them.
In the early days of designing our game, one of the first things we’ve agreed upon, and the main source of inspiration all along, was its theme. We both love movies such as The Prestige or the Houdini films, and we felt that the mysterious world of the 19th century stage illusionists is unique and engaging enough to be the background of a board game. As we delved deeper into the topic, we learned that these magicians usually had a team, with well-defined roles, to work with. This realization led to choosing worker placement as the core mechanic of Trickerion – a decision we were happy to make, since we’re long-time fans of worker placement games and we feel that it is one of the best board game mechanics out there. That said, we felt that the classic formula could be improved in many ways, such as providing more room for player interaction, and more complex decisions.
With that in mind, after having gone through a few early concepts, our design goals slowly took shape. All in all, we tried to evolve the concept of worker placement with additional layers of strategy while keeping the gameplay intuitive, thematically flavourful and not overly complicated.
Amabel Fae was the only daughter of a wealthy family. The furniture manufacture ran by her father used to prosper for decades, but eventually it has become but a money sink. An influential suitor would have solved the family’s problem, but Amabel’s heart belonged to someone else: the son of the local blacksmith. When she found out that her hand was secretly promised to a rich nobleman, she unwillingly agreed to marry him for the sake of her family’s well-being. But her lover simply could not cope with the thought of losing her: he showed up on horseback at the wedding, intending to elope the bride from the ceremony. The groom was furious: he took the handgun of one of the military guests and shot the insolent boy in the back.
Her family never saw Amabel again. The person she used to be died that day together with the blacksmith’s boy, but she never gave up getting in touch with the love of her heart again. She turned to spiritualism, delving into it deep beyond comprehension. Her power seemed to grow day by day. Some even accused her of cursing her ex-fiancé when the poor man came down with a mysterious disease that slowly consumed him. Nonetheless, people started visiting her, some asking her to bind them with their loved ones passed away, others to bring doom upon their enemies. Her fame grew with each satisfied visitor - the Priestess of Mysticism was born.
The talented escape artist was born as Frederic White. Escaping has always been in his blood as he never spent much time at the orphanage where he was raised. Once he was old enough to stay on the streets without getting caught, he joined the local mob as a courier. As promising as he was, his ‘career’ ended quickly one winter night: he saw something he was never supposed to, and was considered an acceptable loss. He received the common treatment in mafia circles: he was tied up and thrown into the river with a block of concrete. With incredible effort, he broke free of his fetter and reached the surface, but as he couldn’t swim, he was only wobbling desperately, sinking over and over.
To his great fortune, a burned out street magician who planned to drown himself in the river that day witnessed the scene from riverside, and helped the poor boy climb out of the freezing water. Saving the youngster gave him a new meaning in life: he offered the talented boy a job as his apprentice. Frederic quickly learned the profession of illusionists. He mastered the techniques of escaping any restraint, be it chain, padlock, straitjacket or coffin. Soon he became the Master of Chains, the incredible escape artist the world knows him as today.
Gerhard von Liebenstein inherited the love for machines from his father, a rich nobleman from Germania, and an iconic person of the country’s industrial revolution. The Liebenstein family manufactured state-of-the-art industrial equipment for the largest corporations in peace time, and deadly war machines in war time. The proud Liebensteins also played their part in shaping the history of Germania: the Liebenstein boys all served in the army during the devastating continental war. While his brothers prevailed, the final battle changed Gerhard’s fate forever: he lost his left arm in an explosion and was discharged from the military.
Fuelled by anger and denial, he spent years working obsessively on a mechanical prosthesis that could replace his missing arm, and eventually, he succeeded. This incredible accomplishment quickly elevated Gerhard among the greatest inventors of his time, but his ambition was limitless. He kept on building intricate machines and honing his mechancal skills. First he took them to science exhibitions, where he met and learned from the greatest minds of physics. But soon, knowledge was not enough: he wanted prestige too, so the idea of a stage show was born. Keeping his Germanian identity, he started performing his scientific magic as „The Mechaniker” – something the world has never seen before.
The Sanderberg dynasty’s youngest talent, Leo Sanderberg was the fourth generation of magicians in his family. His father, his grandfather, and his great- grandfather were also masters of optical illusion, so following his lineage and becoming a magician himself was an obvious and seemingly easy path for him. The pressure, however, was great on him, and no matter how hard he tried, he never felt good enough for his family’s name. Sadly, his demanding father all but strengthened that feeling in him. His anxiety led to him failing his first standalone performance – a disappointment after which he decided to go into exile to find peace with himself. For years he was wandering, living off performing cheap tricks on the streets. His journey eventually took him to the Far East, where one day he heard of the monastery of the silent monks high up in the mountains. He decided to join them in tranquility.
Five years have passed in silence, contemplation and practice, until he felt ready to return to his life. He was filled with desire to show his great talent to his family and the world. So he returned to Magoria, only to find out that his father passed away in his absence. As he was standing stricken at his father’s grave, he promised him that he will honor his memory by becoming the most famous optical illusionist of all time. Leo proceeded to create his own circus of optical illusion and started performing as The Great Optico
Even as a child, Eleanor has always been a little...eccentric. She never cared much about dolls, games - or the company of others. There was but one thing that could excite the moody and silent girl: thunderstorms. When others hid behind locked doors and windows, she watched the raging storm without the slightest fear, fascinated by its sheer power. Her habit of „storm hunting” lasted till her adulthood. After witnessing a bolt of lightning utterly destroying old Turner’s rickety mill one night, she became obsessed with harnessing the unspeakable power of lightning. She dedicated her life to the research of the emerging, unexplored concept of electricity as she was convinced that with it, she can bend the power of lightning to her will. The people of Magoria both feared and admired her obsession, and as she learned to both control and tame the power at her disposal, she realized that she can turn the admiration into fame. Electricity was nothing short of magic at the time, and in Magoria, good Magicians have an easy way to success. While many illusionists in the city were more skilled, Electra’s lightning-enhanced performances were unmatched spectacles that left the audience breathless.
Jay Mac Shonzo, or „The Gentleman” as you may know him today, has always been an inscrutable type: you could never know what he was really up to. Ever since he ran away from home as a wayward teenager, he used that ability very well to fool people - first as an extremely talented card-sharper. He earned fortunes in various forms of gambling, only to spend them right away on his impetuous lifestyle. He traveled around the country to avoid suspicion and lived the life of his dreams built on other people’s misery. His journey in the world of fraud ended the day when a tradesman lost all his wealth to him on a bet and committed suicide in his desperation, leaving his wife and two children behind. Jay’s perfect world was destroyed in a blink of an eye by his guilt. He realized that all his life he left nothing but misery and sorrow in his wake. In an attempt to redeem himself, he decided to change his ways by giving people joy and happiness. As a talented card-sharper it wasn't hard for him to master the tricks of close-up magic, and he used them every day to give people a good time, wherever he went. It wasn't long until a manager discovered him and offered a contract to perform in the theaters of Magoria as The Gentleman.
Fleeing the harsh law enforcement of her home, the mysterious woman known as the Red Lotus arrived from the Orient hiding in the trade cargo of a Magorian nobleman in a rather unusual way: by folding herself into an unbelievably small vase. Once in Magoria, she quickly realized that her incredible flexibility makes her capable of escape stunts the city has never seen before, and she quickly became one of the city's most respected escape artists.
Few Magorians know the true tale of the Spiritmaster, the city’s most renowned mentalist. He is of royal blood; prince of a mysterious country in the Far South. His father was a good man, but a weak king, merely a puppet of the country’s corrupt Advisor Council. Things started to change, however, as the young prince gradually discovered his gift: the ability to influence the thoughts and actions of others. Through bolstering his father’s soul, from the background he resisted the Council’s tyranny for months, but eventually his machinations were discovered. He barely escaped an assassination attempt, and fled the country. After a long journey, he settled in Magoria, where he could put his mentalist skills to good use. As much as he likes to amaze and entertain, his true goal is to gain enough fortune, fame and influence to eventually return to his homeland and claim the throne that’s rightfully his.
The city of Magoria has not always been a place of magic and mystery. Decades ago, it was just another ordinary trade center loaded with shameless courtesans and greedy merchants longing for more and more wealth and prosperity.
But, as we have already learned from history, a single man’s will, if strong enough can change the world. It wasn’t different with Magoria either; it only took one person, with immense talent and ambition, to change things forever.
A talented young boy inspired by the enigmatic world of illusion tried his luck on the street with his revolutionary acts of magic. It didn’t take long for people to take notice, and within weeks, he was already considered to be a genius by the public. The acts of even the greatest illusionists of the time seemed shallow and mediocre compared to his talent. In less than a year, the youngster became one of the greatest magicians of his time, a true legend of illusion who became known as Dahlgaard the Magnificent.
During the following years, Dahlgaard travelled and amazed the world his stupendous attractions, but he never forgot where he came from. At the apex of his popularity, he decided to return to Magoria, and used his wealth and fame to bring prosperity to his hometown. As the first step, he built the theater of illusion, „The Grand Magorian” next to the old city theater. With an excellent venue to perform at, and the best tutor to learn from, illusionists from every corner of the world gathered to learn from the master and try their luck at the city. Dahlgaard’s dream was slowly taking shape: Magoria was becoming the Capitol of Illusion. As more and more people were flocking from all over the world to see the great mysteries, the construction of The Magnus Pantheon, a new, truly world-class theatre began, where only the world’s greatest illusionists would perform week to week. The Broadway of Magic was born.
At that time, Dahlgaard was so deeply respected by the community that the town elders had a statue raised in the Downtown to honor the great magician. The artist portrayed him with his beloved treasure, a talisman he never left his home without. A shiny, amber-shaded stone he claimed to be his fortune charm.
At one time Dahlgaard gave unusually great publicity to his newest performance, promising a magic act he claimed to be his ultimate masterpiece. Thousands of people arrived from around the world to see the master magician’s great act. The show was simply breathtaking. Even his greatest rivals admitted that the performance in itself would have opened a new chapter in the book of magic, but Dahlgaard had a big twist in store for the final act. He promised his audience to disappear in front of their eyes without using any instruments. And so he did - the audience watched breathlessly as their favorite magician vanished into thin air like evaporating water.
Sixty years have passed, without anyone seeing, or hearing about the great Dahlgaard since this final act. Magoria’s theaters were still hosting magic performances, but the golden days of the Capitol of Illusion seem to have passed. But one day, four talented Illusionists received a special invitation. The short letter contained only a date and a location, but a small shiny stone was lying next to it in the envelope, similar to the one adorning Dahlgaard’s talisman.
The four rival magicians met that night on the huge auditorium of The Magnus Pantheon. Just before an intense quarrel was about to break out, an elegant man appeared on the stage, and invited them to follow him. They went after him through a secret door behind the orchestra, leading to a narrow, dimly lit corridor. After a few minutes of walk, they arrived to in a huge hall filled with a wide variety of items and relics of magic. As the man stepped forward, a ray of light illuminated his face.
To their greatest surprise, the living model of the magician’s statue from Downtown greeted them cordially.
As they stood there, speechless from the shock, Dahlgaard, the great magician began to tell a story. A story they all wanted to hear.
„As a young man, I used to be a servant of Lord Jensen, a wealthy merchant. He raised me after my mother died, who also served him, and he loved me like I was his own child. Serving him was the least I could do to return his kindness.
Lord Jensen was travelling a lot and he always took me with him. One day, we decided to visit the Cascade of Erion, famous for the rich flora and fauna of the area, but as we arrived, I immediately felt something else in the air. Vast sculptures of unrecognizable creatures were standing all around, and I was excited like a small child to see them for myself. I was thoughtless and incautious, so when I tried to leap over the stones at the feet of the waterfall, I slipped and I was swept away by the water under the rocks. As I regained consciousness, I found myself in an underground cave bathing in a strange, amber glow. I was looking for the source of light, hoping to find a way out. More sculptures proved that I was not the first to enter this cave. I was stunned by the energy of the place and suddenly I ran up against a beautiful shrine that held a huge, shiny stone, the source of the effulgence that filled the place.
The stone was huge, way too big to take it home by myself. As I was contemplating on what to do, I tried to lift it up. To my greatest surprise, it suddenly began to shrink until it was small enough to fit in my pocket.
Once I returned to Magoria, I was planning to to sell the stone hoping to get a fortune for it. I made my way to the Market Row, but after strolling aimlessly for hours, I realized that I couldn’t take the idea of losing the stone. I slowly became obsessed with it. I concluded that I found it for a reason, and in time, it will bring me great luck. So I kept it and named it Trickerion after the place where I found it.
It didn’t take long for me to find out that the stone was slowly changing me in ways I could only dream of. I was filled with energy and I started to see the world differently. My imagination was soaring, and everything looked so clear and obvious. As Lord Jensen was infatuated by the world of magic at that time, we’ve seen the performances of many illusionists, and I was deeply impressed by their craft. Through the power of the stone, I could understand even the most intricate and professionally presented magic tricks at a glance, and I also knew right away how I could perform them in a much more impressive way.
So I started to work on my own magic tricks and soon I found myself on the street performing magic acts to the passersby. At first they didn’t seem to pay heed, but once they saw me doing the impossible, their indifference turned into amazement and the rumor quickly took wind that there is something extraordinary about a young boy in Magoria.
The rest, as they say, is history.”
As the four illusionists were sitting silently, stunned by the amazing, but still somehow credible story of their idol, Dahlgaard finally got to the point. He needed someone to restore his beloved city, Magoria, to its former glory as the Capitol of Illusion. And for this purpose, only the best Illusionist would suffice.
And so, the idea of the grand Trickerion Contest was born. The Illusionist who manages to become the Magorian audience’s absolute favorite in seven weeks will ascend to be the rightful heir of Dahlgaard, obtaining his whole legacy including the mighty Trickerion Stone that will make the victor the new Legend of Illusion. Dahlgaard would help the competitors by sharing some of his most successful Tricks during the contest, and even by handing out small fragments of the Trickerion Stone to the most worthy competitors. But the heritage itself would be awarded to only one Illusionist. The very best.
It was no surprise that all four Magicians accepted the challenge without hesitation. They were already bitter rivals before rising to the challenge, and with so much at stake, they knew that they would stop at nothing to overcome the others – not even if they have to get their hands dirty.
The struggle for fame and fortune is about to begin.
Only one question remains.
Who is going to be the next Legend of Illusion?