I put a spell on you because the Trick is MINE!


Tome Cover

Tome: The Light Edition
Designer(s) Anthony Thorp Artist(s) Lauren Yu Publisher

Reversal Games

3-4 14+ 30m

Tome 1There are a lot of Trick Taking games in the world; 1,794 according to Board Game Geek, which is probably missing a plenty of standard card based ones. It is a genre that is very easy for most people to learn and is popular across age groups. Each game has their own unique twist while others just re-use the same concepts. Tome is one example of a Trick Taking game that adds in some unique twists to make an enjoyable game with a fair bit of strategy while also reducing the reliance those precious trump cards since the trump suit is always changing. Toss in a little magic on each card, and you have a truly spellbinding game.

Box and Components 

This is a prototype of the game so I won't be directly discussing the quality of the components since it will be a bit different in the final production run; though, it is a pretty impressive prototype with nice cards and tokens. I am very eager to see what the final product will look like if this prototype is any indication. The prototype included:

  • Tome 230 Spell Cards: In the base game, there are four Basic element spell sets and one Special element spell set. All sets contain six cards beginning with 1 going to 5 and ending with the Flux card; Flux cards have no numerical value but are the highest value card of their respective set. 
    • Basic: Basic cards each have an element, a power value (upper left), and provide a unique effect that is triggered by continuing the spells chain (essentially following suit). These cards have a black border around the card. 
      • Fire
      • Water
      • Wind
      • Earth
    • Special: All cards in a special element suit share the same property unlike the basic spells that vary card to card. These cards have a white board around the card. 
      • Light
  • 8 Score Cards: Used to track points in team games. 
  • 4 Life Tokens: Used for the survival mode variant. 
  • Rule Book

The rulebook covers the rules very well. There were a few rules I had to return to after reading another section, but once you get through a few rounds, it is pretty straight forward. The only negatives I found was one section headings was a little difficult to read because of their custom font having a strange 'X' and a few very minor typos here and there. Also, they didn't explain how to use the scoring cards, which was likely an oversight. Luckily, since this is a prototype copy, I imagine these minor issues will likely be caught before the mass production begins. 

We were also provided copies of some additional cards that are planned as stretch goals. Let's chat about those now. They are...

<Muted by a silence spell>

...how great do those spell cards sound? I really enjoyed the unique effects they introduce and how they change things up. 


There are variant rules players can decide to use; I will focus on the standard team rules here and will touch on the variants in their own section below.

A few terms that are used in this game I will point out now. I may go a little more into detail than needed this early, but use this as a reference as you read on. Element Sets is basically just unique themed Suits like Hearts, Clubs, Spades, and Diamonds are in traditional cards. 

  • Each Round, players will start with six cards in their hand. Rounds have six Chapters, which consists of each player playing a card; in other Trick Taking games, Chapters would essentially be referred to as Tricks.
  • Title spells will determine what the Trump suit is that Chapter. Trump suits change often unlike many traditional Trick Taking games. Trump suits are more powerful than any other suit unless stated otherwise by a card effect. 
  • Chains are started once the first Basic element card is played during a round and continues as long as players continue playing the same element (basically following suit). Chains allow spell effects to be used and penalize the player who breaks it by playing a basic element that is not following the chain element. Unlike other Trick Taking games, you are not required to follow suit if you have a card of that suit in your hand, but your spell will be silenced causing its effect not to be triggered. Special Elements do not start or break chains.  


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  1. Split into teams of two players. As with most Trick Taking games, teammates site across from each other (alternate seating so it is Team A, B, A, B).
  2. Select a dealer at random who will take the cards being used in that game, shuffle them together, and deal each player 6 cards facedown.
  3. The remaining 6 cards will remain in the middle of the table to be used as the Title Spell each Chapter determining the Trump element; this deck is called the Element Deck.
  4. Provide each team with a pair of the scoring cards (only one teammate will need it). 

The player left of the dealer will be the initial lead player. 

Player Turns

  1. Each Chapter begins with the dealer flipping over the top card from the Element Deck; this card is the chapter's Title Spell. This is placed on top of existing Title Spell cards, if present. 
  2. Tome 5The lead player plays a card from their hand followed by the player clockwise and so on until all players have played a card. 
  3. Determine the winning spell based on the element, power value (modified by any spell effects), and spell effects. (explained below)
  4. The winning team earns 1 points or 2 points during the final chapter of each round. 
  5. The dealer takes the cards played and adds them to a face down discard pile (do not discard the Title Spell card). 
  6. The lead player for the next Chapter is the player who won that Chapter.

The steps above are repeated until all cards are played from players hands (6 chapters). Additional Rounds are played the same way until the End Game condition has been fulfilled. 

End Game

Once a team has earned 15 points and is ahead by 2+ points, the game is over. That team has won! 

Determining a Spells Strength (Winning a Chapter) 

There are a number of factors that play into which card is the strongest in the spell; you have to consider the effects that are triggered, the Trump suit, the spell's Power value (which may be modified), and the Flux card. 

The order of element is determine as shown below (weakest to strongest) and whichever card has the highest Power wins: 

Basic Element (non-Trump) < Special Light Element < Basic Element (Trump)

Basically, if all the cards played are not a special Light Element card and are not part of the Trump set, the highest Power value wins. If there are no Trump cards but there are Special Light Element cards, the highest Special Element card wins. If there are cards part of the Trump set present, the high Trump set card wins. Future cards could impact the order of this; this is assuming the Light Special Element is used due to its property. 

Some special rules to consider: 

  • Special Elements cannot be the Trump and will result in no Trump on Chapters Special Elements are the active Title Spell. 
  • Flux beats all numerical values within its own set if it is the strongest set; Flux cards also have no Effects and, therefore, don't result in a penalty when breaking chains. They can still start and break chains though. 
  • In the case of a tie, the first of those tied cards played in the Spell wins. 
  • Most Basic Spell Effects have Timings for when their Effect trigger typically starting with "When;" sometimes the timing is immediately upon playing the card and other times when certain types of cards have/are played. If there is no Timing condition, the Effect is likely Continuous and always in active during that Chapter, if not silenced; there will be an infinity icon at the bottom of Continuous cards. Some effects could alter a cards set type. 
    • Spell effects are also only triggered if they started the Chain, are following the Chain, or are played after another player has already broken the chain. 
    • Players who break the Chain have their spell silenced preventing it's effect from being triggered; silenced cards, otherwise, play the same. 

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 This seems like a lot of conditions, but it is really straight forward once you play a couple rounds. 

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Score Tracking

I believe this is something that isn't clearly explained in the rules since it is probably assumed everyone has used a type of the provided score tracker cards before. For those who haven't, it is really simple. One side of the card represents the 10 units and the other side the 1's. Take the 10's side, rotate it so the 0 is at the bottom and slide it over top of the other card revealing number of points you currently have; rotate to the 10 side onto the bottom once you have 10+ points.  Below shows a score of 4 points on the left and 14 on the right. Notice how the highest 1's number shown on the right is the current value. You can do this on the left or right side as long as you are consistent. 

Tome 4


Survival (3-4 players)

Tome 9Instead of teaming up, each player is out for themselves. The game is played mostly the same except players don't earn points for winning each Chapter; they are trying to stay alive and knocking other players out. Players will start each round with 2 Life as tracked on health tokens (one side will represent 2 life and the other side 1 life). The weakest spell cast results in its caster losing one health; once a player has lost both health, they sit out the rest of the current round and return at the start of the next round. Points are awarded as players are knocked out (remaining players earn one point), the winner of the sixth chapter earns one point, and if there is ever only one player remaining in a round, they earn one point. Each round, players restore to full health and continue until one player reaches 10+ points and is not tied with other players. That player is the winner!

Spell strength is based on Spell Power and the Trump suit. So it follows the same logic as the basic rules. I won't go into the full details as the rules does a good job of that, but that is the high level view of how the Survival Variant works. Just like most Trick Taking games, there is typically a team variant and a free-for-all mode. 

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Using New Elements

Beyond using the base game elements, you can use the awesommm...

<Put to sleep by a slumber spell>

...hmm...um...oh yeah, you can use those stretch goal elements along with the base elements by mixing and matching until you have the necessary number of element cards for the player count. 

  • 3 Player Game: 3 Basic Elements and 1 Spell Element
  • 4 Player Game: 4 Basic Elements and 1 Spell Element

The rules outline a way of deciding which elements to use, but really, you can use the included method or any other means that results in the final count as shown above. I would encourage playing multiple games with a unique combination to find some really fun setups. 

Final Thoughts

I would love to say I am unbias, but I can't since I love Trick Taking games. I have reviewed quite a few and have played probably over 20 different games in the genre. I love when a new game comes along and creates something unique with such a simple genre its the core. Taking a genre that most people have played at least one game of its type opens the doors to a wide audience that may be interested in the game. Tome seems to take the Trick Taking genre and adds some elements of Trading Card Games (TGC). At the core, it is simple yet offers a lot of strategy due to the most cards having unique effects.

I love that the game is modular and allows for new Element sets to be added as expansions or variant boxes. As long as they can keep the game balanced by not including too powerful of card effects, I think this is an excellent approach to take. I think it is very clever to have ever changing Trump suits as well each Chapter because it prevents card counting and players from holding onto powerful cards until the very end expecting a cheap win. I think the theme suits this game very well since magic has so many potential branches to take and is not limited to basic numbers that may Trick Taking cards depend on. 

The Kickstarter goes live on March 23rd, 2021, and if you like what you have read about this game, certainly give their Kickstarter a read through and decide if it is a game for you. 
Tome 11


Tome: The Light Edition -- Kicktraq Mini


Tome: The Light Edition Board Game Geek Page

Publisher Product Page 

Tome: The Light Edition Kickstarter Page


We received the prototype of this product in order to write an honest review; all reviews reflect the honest opinions of the writer.