This Game is a Disaster – risky title or what! But there’s no need to fear, this simple card game should end up being anything but, and here’s why…
I love small, portable card games; the ones that you can pop in your pocket ready to pull out and play at any opportune moment, and this one certainly fits the bill.
Not only is it small, it’s easy to learn and set up, seconds in fact, and it’s quick to play. But what’s it all about?
Remember all those disaster movies of the 90’s? Well, think of all those really bad things that happen in movies like that, and then imagine bringing those things down on your friends, or after a round or two, your enemies!
The cards are shared equally amongst the players to form their decks, from which they draw a hand of five. Now, think of this deck of cards as your population of survivors, when they’re dead it’s curtains for you too!
On each player’s turn they get to draw back up to five cards, play a card, and then draw back up to five – simples!
Playing a card is like taking on the role of a mythological God bringing disasters raining down on your opponent. Maybe you cause a great twister that rips through his hand and destroying two random cards, but a twister is difficult to control and so it also destroys one from your hand too! Or you could throw in a shark attack, where you get a glimpse of your targets hand before deciding which card to destroy.
There are lots of other disasters you can call upon: Tsunamis, Earthquakes, volcanoes to name but a few, and of course there’s the fallout from these disasters with cards like looters, rescue missions, and feral dogs, some of which help to replenish your ever decreasing supply of survivors.
When a card is played it goes into your discard pile, but when one is destroyed it goes into a central pile rather than actually removed from the game, and that opens up the possibility to bring some of these back from the dead!
Lead designer Ben Fasinski, who grew up playing iconic games such as Fireball Island, SolarQuest, and Magic: The Gathering, came up with a war-like game mechanism based around trying to make your opponents run out of cards. Bobby Fiorentino, the admin of The Board Game Club and close friend of Ben, then helped to base the game mechanisms within a theme, and using his board game expertise along with utilising The Board Game Club to crowdsource the design, they came up with this real-life card game. Anton Djamoos (self proclaimed Twilight Imperium fanatic) then helped sort out the logistics of getting the game to Kickstarter.
As far as Kickstarter goes their approach is pretty spot on; they chose this game for their debut specifically because it was simple, and more or less a complete game, so with the launch of the project they can get a feel and understanding of the whole kickstarter process, all without the hassle of having to manage a massive project that’s still in its infancy, and I think they deserve plenty of credit for that – the Kickstarter ends July 26th.
Having played a print-and-play version of the game (a black and white version is available on their kickstarter page), I can say that if you like fast, take that type of games, then you should check this out.
Here’s the rest of my thoughts after a few plays, and don’t forget the print and play isn’t the finished article…
Firstly the art – I actually really like it! It’s colourful, and the comic book feel fits the theme spot on. There’s also a clear sense of humour running through the cards and it pays to have a good look at each one; the woman taking a ‘selfie’ in front of a huge Tsunami; the man holding the door shut against all sorts of monsters, whilst in the foreground someone blissfully unaware continues working on a computer; and if you look closely at the Looters card, you can make out a certain Stonemaier game box in the background!
The artwork apparently features landmarks from around Bucks County, Pennsylvania, but that isn’t really going to mean much to the majority of people, but it’s a nice touch nevertheless.
The game is really easy to learn and you’ll have no problems playing this with the kids, providing you don’t mind getting picked upon, because you will – it’s all part of the game!
I felt it played better at higher player counts, and wasn’t so great as a 2-player game – some of the card abilities lose their powers and become too much like many of the others in the deck, such as Meteor, Earthquake, and one or two more. At higher player counts though there was a lot of fun to be had, especially when a player destroys half the cards in your discard pile, only for you to go and pick them up again, and maybe a few more to boot!
This isn’t a game with a great depth or skill to it, but then it never pretends to be, and it has player elimination, something often frowned upon these days, but hey, it gets away with it because it’s fast, furious, and above, all fun to play… oh, and for a pledge of just £10 ($13) to get the game, it’s a bargain!
This Game Is A Disaster! On Kickstarter right now – ends July 26th
All card images taken from the print-and-play courtesy of The Board Game Club and the, ‘This Game is a Disaster!’ team.