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Poison Card Game

Poison Card Game

Playroom Entertainment

The Bottom Line

With just 50 cards and three cauldron boards, master game designer Reiner Knizia has developed a clever and addictive game.

Poison is a very light, quick game that works well for families. A typical game takes less than 15 minutes, so it fits easily into busy schedules. The game can be played with 3 to 6 players, but in my experience it's best with 4 to 6.

The components are absolutely terrific: this game is designed to last for many years. The rulebook includes English, Spanish and French.


  • Simple to learn, quick to play.
  • Clever rules lead to some interesting choices.
  • Top-notch components.


  • Some will find it too simple.
  • Overly large box for what is essentially a card game.


  • For 3 to 6 players, ages 10 and up.
  • About 10 to 15 minutes per game.
  • Designed by Reiner Knizia.
  • Published by Playroom Entertainment in 2005.

Guide Review - Poison

The goal of Poison is simple: Avoid collecting toxic poitions, and thus avoid collecting points. At the end of the game, the player with the fewest points wins. Getting there is the challenge.

The 50 cards come in four colors: red, blue, purple (all known as potion cards) and green poison cards. The green cards are each worth 4 points; the other colors each have cards ranging from 1 to 7.

All the cards are dealt to the players, who then take turns adding them (one at a time) to one of three cauldrons. Potion cards cannot be mixed with each other (e.g. blue cards can't be played in a cauldron that already has red). Green poison cards can be played in any cauldron.

When a player causes the total value of a cauldron to exceed 13, that player takes the cards in the cauldron and keeps them face down. At the end of each round, the face-down cards are scored. If you have more potion cards of a color than any other player, you discard them. But you always keep green poison cards. Players then count their cards. Each potion card is one point; each poison card is two. Play one round for each player and then total up the scores. The player with the fewest points wins.

In Poison, the choices are often more complex than they initially appear. For example, if a cauldron already has 13 points in it, should you send it over the top with your 7 or your 1? The answer depends on what cards remain in your hand -- so choose wisely.

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