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.
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!
Let’s get the basics out of the way:
The game is called Turds: The Card Game
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.
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
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
Some “play immediately cards,” like the one pictured above, can hurt your chances. Some can help you and/or your opponents.
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 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:
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.”)
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.
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.