As always I share my recent gaming experiences with you and use this article as a sort of collection of mini-reviews of board and card games! I’ve played some great games over the last few weeks, some new to me and some old. One game in particular was very surprising to me and I hope if you get the chance to play it you will. We got a lot of laughs!
We Didn’t Playtest This at All
I had seen this game on the shelves of my Friendly Local Game Store and I have to admit that I wasn’t impressed… at all. The box looks bland and the name was slightly off-putting. I have played games that I suspect weren’t playtested properly and the idea that this one blatantly and openly announced that didn’t strike a chord with me. I didn’t think that this inexpensive, small-box game would appeal to me at all.
Boy, was I wrong…
I don’t know that I have concentrated as thoroughly or laughed as hard at a game as I did when we played WDPTAA before. The game is simple and very fast. Players take turns drawing a card to add to their hands and playing a card. Cards include making players make silly statements before playing a card of their own, like ‘Comic Sans is Awesome’. That particular card is printed all in said font and played on the table in front of the player who fielded it on their turn. For this example, forget to say it and you’re out of the game, and while I normally do not like player elimination I can forgive it in WDPTAA because the games are so quick.
Cards that caused us considerable casualties are ones that forbid players from saying certain words. What words? How about ‘You’, ‘Your’, and ‘Yours’. Couple with with a card that declares that players ho point at cards or other players are eliminated and communicating is very difficult. During some games I had my fingers laced together and my lips pursed so as not to speak.
Every sentence was carefully considered, and many times there were double K.O.s. During one game my friend, Sarah, said something against the rules and I stated ‘I almost did the same thing’ to console her. Little did I remember that saying the word ‘I’ was ALSO against the rules. We were both eliminated to much laughter.
The win conditions are simple and equally absurd. One card grants victory if it is played and you are the shortest person left in the game. Another let’s you win if you have a pony. Next time I will bring a toy pony with me… just in case. Tired of Cards Against Humanity, or want to have a ton of laughs in a crowd that game might not be appropriate in? Try out We Didn’t Playtest This at All!
Outcome – I won the first first game because it was down to 2 players and we were both wearing blue. Hey, that’s what the card said! I lost every game after that by various means. Usually I uttered a forbidden word, but I was also eaten by a dragon and chose incorrectly when another player offered me a gift per a card’s instructions. I should have chosen ‘cake’!
Ashes: Rise of the Phoenixborn
I have owned Ashes for a couple of months but just now got around to playing it. I normally try to avoid games that require planning before the actual game time these days, but luckily Ashes comes with pre-made decks: six pre-made decks to be precise. Ashes promised a unique card game experience and I was not disappointed.
In Ashes players take on the role of one of six Phoenixborn and use a variety of weapons at their disposal to defeat the other player; this includes spells, allies, and summoned creatures. Each player has a main deck which contains spells and allies (comparable to creatures in MtG), and another smaller deck which contains creatures which can be summoned (comparable to tokens in MtG, but more powerful) by spells. This second, smaller deck is not shuffled but instead is searched freely as spells summon the creatures found within.
It’s hard for a competitive card game to feel unique after playing a lot of mainstream card games, but Ashes does a fair job of it. The game rules allow players to go through their main deck and choose 5 cards to start with in their hand. Another big difference is the inclusion of high quality, etched dice. These dice are central to the game play and the faces represent the currency for the cards’ casting costs and ability activations. To further set itself apart players can use one of their actions to discard cards and change the faces of their dice. Still need more convincing? Players draw back up to their starting hand size at the beginning of each round.
All of these deviations from traditional card games allow the player to avoid that feeling of being “mana screwed” or losing because they got a run of bad random pulls from the deck. I thoroughly enjoyed playing Ashes and look forward to trying some of the other decks.
Outcome – I won my first game because the other player, my wife, was completely confused about the symbols on the cards. After I corrected her, she trounced me. To be fair though I didn’t care for the play style of the deck I chose… and I was really tired… and something was in my eye.
Kittens in a Blender
I have to admit that I avoided KiaB because of the cruel-sounding name and what I assumed would be a cruel theme. Once again for this edition, I was wrong. While I’m sure there are people out there who would be offended by the game after seeing/playing it, I am not one of them. The game is quite harmless and meant to be in good fun. Even the instructions poke fun at itself and says everyone will be extra nice to their real cats after playing this game.
In Kittens in a Blender players try to get their own kittens to the safety of the box and the other players’ kittens into the blender. That sounds so horrible, I know! How could this game be harmless!? I said the same thing, but trust me, the game goes out of its way to make the theme less about killing cats and more about saving them. I know, I know, there’s still a freaking blender that can blend the cats… just… trust me, it isn’t as bad as it sounds.
While I thought that this game would not be very engaging, by the end I was yelling “NO! Not Buster and French Fry!!!!! as my cats were led into the blender.
Outcome – I came in last place as very few of my kitty cats made it to the box and the safety it represented. I know… I know… just try the damn game!