Brave Hand is a simple, single player card game like solitaire. I found myself enjoying it immensely. It also makes me incredibly angry when I get a push interrupted by a random high card. I have yet to find a card game that can make me tilt off the face of the planet and this game has managed to accomplish that rare feat. That is some high praise.
The goal of the game is to clear all the piles of cards while scoring as many points as possible. To do this, you take the first card in your draw pile and place it on any of the piles in the playing field. The rules are simple, your card needs to be higher than the first card in the pile you chose. After that, you have the option to end that turn, gain points, and draw a card from the draw pile or you can choose the risky path of continuing to push. When you push, you move on to the next card in the pile you chose. If your card is still higher, you can end that turn or continue to push. If the pile card is higher, you lose all your points for that push and you do not get to draw a card.
There are other small mechanics as well. Sometimes the piles in the playing field have the top card face down. You can sacrifice your card to attempt to flip the top cards on two piles. It’s a random process so flipping a card is not guaranteed. The two card also beats aces. These small mechanics add strategies you can use to your advantage.
The game has a lot of depth and it feels pretty fast paced. For example, you can sacrifice low value cards to remove a high value card on the playing field. Remembering which cards were on the field also helps you calculate the rough probability of high cards remaining on the field and you can play accordingly. The general strategy is to remove very high cards and then use one of your high cards to push through an entire pile and gain massive points.
The game has enough randomness to it that you can’t predict when and where a high card will show up, leading to some hilarious and infuriating situations where you lose your entire push. Never have I been so angry before when I’m pushing through a pile with a demon card, the highest value card there is, and I get stopped at the very last card in the pile with another demon card.
Overall, Brave Hand is a simple but fun game. It has the same qualities of solitaire that makes it attractive to me. The rule set is simple to understand, I can take my time playing it, and I don’t need other players. The barrier to entry is pretty low for this game so if card games are your thing, you may want to check Brave Hand out!