Turds: The Card Game

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Well, we’ve been swamped in real life with work, but I (Dave) just managed to come off of hiatus to do a Kickstarter (p)review at the request of the designers, whom I do not personally know.

Disclaimers:

1. No money has changed hands for the purposes of this review.

2. The purpose of this review is to help you make an informed decision about the project in question.

3. The components are a print-and-play version printed on my home computer and taped to the back of a cardboard box to add durability. Obviously, this is not representative of the final quality of the product.

Feel free to judge my lack of print-and-play prowess, but don’t hold it against the company.

Anyway, let’s get on with the show!

The Basics

Let’s get the basics out of the way:

Theme

The game is called Turds: The Card Game

Think of this like a Rorschach test for the game...

Your reaction to these card images should tell you whether this game is for you…

I personally don’t care for the theme, but you might. My older brother finds this sort of thing absolutely hilarious. Some of the cards even got a chuckle out of my generally reserved wife.

Theme aside, what I really want to know in the case of games with attempts at humorous themes–from Exploding Kittens to Cards Against Humanity–is whether or not the game mechanics actually justify the game’s existence.

In short, if the game is all theme and no game, then it’s no good.

So, let’s take a look at the experience of the game.

Players

There can be 2-4 players. But, even the designers, in their communication with me, acknowledged that 3-4 is better.

Really, I’m gonna say that for this take-that style game, 3-4 is necessary to have much fun. Otherwise, it’s just a back-and-forth between two people without any of the chaos of shifting allegiances or attitudes toward other people that make this sort of game any fun.

The Object of the Game

You feel a pressing need to get rid of these four cards before anyone else.

You feel a pressing need to get rid of these four turds before anyone else.

That’s it. You’ve got four turds that you need to dispose of as quickly as possible.

Unfortunately for you, there are up to three other people dedicated to not letting you–err–relieve yourself of your burden. Will you be able to fend off their attacks and succeed?

Well, let’s see what some of the helps and hindrances are on your path to victory–oh, and be careful where you step.

Types of Cards

Play Immediately

You can't hold on to play immediately cards.

You can’t hold on to play immediately cards.

Some “play immediately cards,” like the one pictured above, can hurt your chances. Some can help you and/or your opponents.

Play Anytime

Play Anytime cards can change the course of the game if used correctly.

Play Anytime cards can change the course of the game if used correctly.

In this case,  “Not in my House” can cancel the effect of a card (except a “Play Immediately” card); of course, another player can cancel the effect of your “Not in my House” card–which reinstates the original card’s effect.

So, you could see how mayhem can ensue.

Base Cards

All your base are belong to us.

All your base are belong to us.

Base cards are usually pretty powerful, and are as good at making you a target as they are tempting to play. Think of them as a permanent bonus to you (assuming no one cancels their effect by using another card).

On the turn you play it, this can be achieved by another player disabling the card with “Not in my House.” On subsequent turns, only a card called “The Poominator” (can destroy the base.

So, What’s the Game Like, Already? Is it Fun?

For me, it took getting past the theme. I’m not gonna lie. But, yes: there is a game under the surface. And, what’s more, it’s actually a solid take-that style game. I’m not saying it’s introduced a host of new, innovative mechanics, but it does employ tried and true card game rules.

Which is useful, as well, because I think most people could pick this up and run with it if they’ve played anything moderately more complex than Uno. I’m thinking this is somewhere around the complexity of a Fluxx game, give or take a little difficulty.

Only, unlike Fluxx, you’re trying to get rid of cards in front of you. I did like that concept.

The other idea I enjoyed, as far as mechanics went was the permanent “Base Cards.” It’s a mechanic I’ve enjoyed in Star Realms (which is more complex, but shares the “take that” mentality), where having a base out allows you to have extra powers on your turn that carry over from round to round in most cases.

So, to summarize: are the mechanics new? No. Do they work? Yes. (Full disclosure, I’d want to play several more games of it before I’d feel comfortable discussing the overall balance of the game; but, come on: it’s balanced enough to be a light, fun game.)

O.k. So, let’s look at the humor as the last part here, before my final thoughts.

Is it Funny?

It certainly tries to be. I mean, the rules even require your friends and you to read the cards out loud. So, you’ll be talking about “flaming turds” and a contraption that looks like a whiskey still called the “diarrhea replacer” (eww).

The scatological is combined with food:

You are what you eat?

You are what you eat?

Historical figures in the form of “Napooleon” “Julius Poosar” and his wife “Cleoturda” (I could have sworn it was Marc Antony and Cleopatra, guys. Guess his name didn’t lend itself to “turdification.”)

A blast from the past?

A blast from the past?

And even pop-culture references like Winnie the Pooh, the Terminator, Back to the Future (“pooture”) and so on. All of these are light references that won’t make anyone feel uncool due to lack of nerdiness–which is for the best.

The aggregate effect of these jokes is a campy, offbeat feel that makes the game as quirky and odd as its mechanics are compelling. If I were to make a comparison, I would evoke the “Evil Dead” movies when trying to explain the theme. The movies aren’t good horror movies, and the last one realizes this and embraces the camp.

So it is with the theme: the designers realize that the theme is both gross and niche and exuberantly run with it.

Final Thoughts

The game could easily have been about almost anything that you might want to get rid of and defend against acquiring, with some mild rethinking: Annoying relatives, ticking time bombs, stock in failing companies.

Obviously, poop is what tickled the designers’ funny bones.

I said it at the beginning, and I’ll say it again now: if the theme doesn’t make you laugh, then it may be hard to look beyond it and just play the game.

To wit: I played “7 Wonders” for the first time tonight. The theme is goofy in that it combines a bunch of people from across history and a bunch of civilizations that may or may not have even co-existed or interacted, but the themes was so innocuous as to not be noticeable except as flavor.

Here, the theme is equally wide-ranging, but not innocuous.

It’s admirable that the designers were willing to go out on a limb to make the game they wanted to see. It’s up to you to decide whether the theme overrides the rest of the game’s positives.

— Dave

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Kickstarter Roundup 3/11/15

Dave, here.

We’re gonna take a relatively quick look at some of the Kickstarter projects we’re enthusiastic for this week. I’ve broken the games down by category if you want to skip ahead to what interests you.

My motivation for this post is that usually we make videos of games we’ve backed and you all have to track them down on the BGG market or through the game publisher’s website if interested, usually minus the extra content that makes the game that much better.

But what if you could get in on the ground floor with something big? *Flashes salesperson smile*

Seriously, though, no money from these designers or their affiliates has come to us; we just think these are some of the noteworthy games for this week:

Dice Games

Both games of this category are a bit of a nostalgia trip, for different reasons.

Bottom of the 9th

Bottom of the 9th seeks to replicate the feel of baseball, complete with a collector-card feel to the characters. I didn’t really follow baseball, but I did collect the cards. The game even comes with a “‘stick of gum’ batter ball and strike count tracker.”

Talk about nostalgia.

Anyway, Bottom of the 9th is a dice rolling game with special character abilities to try to mitigate the luck of the dice–either at bat or pitching. There are balls, strikes, and the like. There are special pitches–like a knuckle ball–that lend to the game’s theme.

For more concrete info you can watch an extended play through/review on the Kickstarter page and decide if you want to “play ball.”

Trainmaker

2-6 players

20 minutes

Next up is Trainmaker.

My dad used to take me on train rides and to see vintage trains at museums. So, this game’s theme is a trip down memory lane.

In this game, players roll dice to make trains with engines and cabooses. There are cars that deliver different types of goods represented on the dice. Station cards demand certain goods. If your train can deliver, then you have happy customers.

Win by completing a secret objective or by “collecting one of each station type” by delivering goods.

Strategy Games

From lighter to heavier, you are making decisions to influence the ultimate outcome of you or your team in these games.

Tesla vs. Edison

2-5 Players

20 minutes/player

A game where you are an inventor whose company is vying for the future of electricity. There is stock in your company, recruiting people to your company to boost your strengths in various categories (finance, propaganda, manufacturing, engineering), and apparently tech trees to research in: AC, DC, and Bulbs.

If you want a deeper look at the game and its mechanisms, Rahdo is a good person to turn to.

Between Two Cities

1-7 Players

20-25 Minutes

Simultaneous play choices; building a city with the player on either side of you in a semi-cooperative venture to build the most valuable city.

In a nutshell, this is a tile-drafting game, so far as I can tell.

Buildings earn points in different ways, such as having one of each type of the same building, or placing them next to certain other buildings for bonuses, or having a variety of buildings, etc.

The twist is that there is a semi-cooperative element. Color us intrigued.

Draco Magi (Deep Sea, Blood, Ice Dragon Expansion)

2 players

30 minutes

Basically, Draco Magi is an area control game where you are summoning dragons to fight for you over territories. This Kickstarter allows you to buy the previous expansions and the original game if you haven’t done so. It’s a reasonable price.

Check out our video here.

Co-op Game

Mistfall

1-4 players

30 minutes/player

Mistfall appears to combine elements of some of our favorite games: LoTR LCG, Sentinels of the Multiverse, The Pathfinder Adventure Card Game.

Note that I haven’t played this game, but these are play elements that I’ve enjoyed in other games that seem to be present here. I could be wrong though.

Similarities:

1. You have threat on your characters ala LoTR, LCG that draws monsters to fight you under certain circumstances.

2. There are also locations to scout ala LoTR and Pathfinder

3. There is a boss to defeat with heroes who use a fixed character deck ala Sentinels.

4. There is also a timer that you have to defeat ala Pathfinder.

Differences:

1. The travel is actually represented by tiles, which seems really cool.

2. The combat system of the game seems unique to this game. Also a plus.

3. The theme presents a new fantasy world with its own mysteries, which is a welcome change, in a way.

4. The heroes and their abilities provide slight twists on familiar archetypes and formulas

Anyway, that’s our round-up. If you think we’ve missed something major on KS, please add a comment. Also, consider backing some of these games. Hopefully, you’ve seen something fun in our list.

Hive Overview

I (Dave) took a look at Hive with all the expansions (The Pillbug, Ladybug, and Mosquito).

You can check it out here:

http://youtu.be/tDVMAZJnFxo

Thanks for watching!

Update: Erratum: The game’s creator watched the video and said that the mosquito could not have been moved by the pillbug on the turn right after the mosquito was moved.

I’ll try to make a corrected version of the video to reflect this.

— Dave.

Descent 2.0 The Desecrated Tomb with RedJak Automated Overlord Variant

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Hello everyone,

I’ve posted the 1st video from our playthrough of the Desecrated Tomb (1st encounter following the Interlude).  Note that we’ve decided to try the RedJak Automated Overlord Variant.  The rules book for this variant is located here:

http://boardgamegeek.com/filepage/104973/redjaks-automated-overlord-variant

And the video playthrough is here:

We welcome any comments/rules clarifications.  Thank you!

Joseph