Everything You Need to Know About Enchanted Plumes

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Everything You Need to Know About Enchanted Plumes

When new game designer Brendan Hansen brought his idea for a card game about peacock courtship to Calliope Games, we knew he had a winner. Enchanted Plumes is one of those games where you can watch a game of it being played on a table, and after 2-3 rounds you already know how to play. For such a small box it packs an impressive table space and impression, making it ideal for game conventions, outdoor tables, and taking to someone else’s game night.

Enchanted Plumes card game Calliope Games

The goal of Enchanted Plumes is to create the most impressive peacock plumage by playing the highest scoring colored feather cards before the Peahen card arrives and ends the game. You’ll do this in descending triangular rows where each row is one less card than the one before it, and can only use the colors of the previous row. One more added caveat is that the first row of each plume is worth negative points, so it might be worth it to hang onto a few low-valued cards in case you have to start a new plume when you don’t have any of the colors you need.

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How to Play

Quick Start Guide

Game setup for Enchanted Plumes

Set the Peahen card aside, then shuffle and deal 9 cards to each player. You’ll choose 6 to keep and 3 to return. Quick tip:You might want to keep cards of the same color to build a plume, or you might want cards of low value for your first row.

Shuffle in the rejected cards, then take the top 7 cards and shuffle in the Peahen card. Place those 8 cards at the bottom of the deck, so that they Peahen is shuffled somewhere in the bottom. When she appears, the game is over.

Last, create the Train by revealing the top 5 cards in the deck in the middle of the table.

Note: you’ll remove certain card numbers based on the number of players

Gameplay for Enchanted Plumes

On your turn, you’ll play 1 or 2 cards to create peacock plumes in descending rows. They don’t have to be played on the same plume or row. Once you play a card on the next row, you can’t go back up, and each row will have one less card than the one before it. All cards must match the colors of the preceding row, but you can repeat colors within a row (though that does limit your color choices later on).

If you make it to the bottom row, you’ll play that card facedown to hide the card’s color and value from the other players, but it must still meet the color criteria.

Enchanted Plumes Blog Swapping

After you’ve played your 1 or 2 cards, you’ll start the Replenishment phase. You have 3 choices:

1: Draw 2 cards from the deck

2: Swap 2 cards in your hand with 2 from the train

3: In either order, draw one card and swap one card


Keep in mind that your hand limit is 6 and you can’t draw a 7th card, so if you already have 6 cards in your hand, you have to swap.

As soon as someone draws the Peahen card the game immediately ends. So every time someone draws a card, you’re one step closer to the endgame!

If you managed to finish any of your plume triangles, flip over the last card so everyone can now see it. Score the top row of cards as negative, and all subsequent rows as positive. If you finished a plume, you get a bonus equal to the number of cards in the bird. So in the given example, you would get an extra 10 points.

Score all of your birds this way, and the player with the highest score wins! If there is a tie, the player with the highest score and the most amount of separate birds is the winner.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I ever choose to not play cards/draw cards/swap cards?
Nope. You always have to complete all the actions.

What is the benefit of only playing one card per turn? Wouldn’t I want the most cards out at once?
The more cards you play, the less you have in your hand, and the only way to get that number back up is to draw cards (remember, swapping cards keeps your hand amount the same). So every time you draw a card, you get closer to ending the game. Plus, sometimes it’s worth it to have a card you know you can play, just in case you don’t get a card you want and you’re not forced to play a value 6 card in the top row of a new peacock.

Can someone who is colorblind play this game?
While every individual’s color-viewing experience is different, Enchanted Plumes was created with colorblind players in mind. Each card color has a unique design in the middle of the card, which can help distinguish between similar colors.

Is this a good Gameschooling game?
Yes! In fact, we have a lesson plan for Enchanted Plumes that helps mathematicians showcase exactly how they score their plumes and what mathematical strategies they use (grouping, repeated addition, negative numbers etc.)

Reviews and Playthroughs

Calliope Games- Social Jockey Risa and her friends play a game of Enchanted Plumes
Jamey Stegmaier- Game Designer Jamey Stegmaier (Stonemaier Games) talks about Enchanted Plumes in his “my favorite mechanics” series
Board Game Barrage- Gaming Podcast
Casual Game Revolution- Written Review
The Tabletop Family- Written Review with an emphasis on family gaming

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