ToysBulletin.com takes a look at a new card game from U.S. Games Systems, Inc.


“HeartSwitch” is the perfect game for those who love the game of “Hearts.”  Ken Fisher, the co-creator of “HeartSwitch,” is also the author of an old favorite of ours, “Wizard”.


In “HeartSwitch,” there is a 60-card deck, including a regular 52 card playing deck, 4 witch cards (one in each suit) and 4 magician cards (no point value or suits).  The rank of the witch cards falls above the 10 of the suit and below the Jack of the suit.   There is also a cleverly designed scorepad and a short instruction booklet included with the game.  “HeartSwitch” is generally a game of winning and losing the right tricks and carefully following suit.  The game can be played by 3-6 players, with a suggested age of 10 years old and up.

To begin play, all 60 cards are shuffled and dealt out such that each player receives the same number of cards.  Next, a certain number of cards are passed between players, generally 2-4 cards, depending on the number of players in the game.  This pass allows players to better formulate a plan regarding their intended strategy.


The player to the left of the dealer starts things off by playing any card from his hand, keeping in mind that his opponents must follow suit, if possible, or discard another card if not.  The highest card of the suit takes the trick and all of the cards.  That player then plays the next card, and the hand continues.  Points are totaled after each hand is completed by counting the number of hearts each player has taken (1 point each) and locating which player is holding the Spade Queen, and each of the four witch cards.  Because the object of the game is to accumulate the lowest number of points before the end of the game, it is generally the best strategy to avoid taking any trick with a heart card in the mix.  The Spade Queen and witch cards can also alter the point totals (some good, some bad) at the end of a hand.  A regular game ends when one player accumulates 70 points over several hands.  The player with the lowest total at that point is declared the winner.

The magician cards can be played at any time, and will allow a player to avoid following suit with a card in his hand, perhaps avoiding an undesirable trick and several hearts.  From time to time, a player also has the option of catching his opponents by surprise by “Shooting the Moon.”  In this scenario, a player makes a decision to try to capture all of the hearts rather than avoiding them.  If a player successfully “Shoots the Moon,” substantial points are added to every opponent’s score.  It is a daring move, and very difficult to pull off, especially in a 5 or 6 player game.


This is another fast-moving game that provides a great option for regular players of Hearts.  The newly added witch and magician cards create a great twist to a game that is certain to become a family favorite.
-- RJ Cullen,