Monday, March 24, 2008

Catan Card Game

Catan Card Game (aka The Settlers of Catan Card Game) is a 2 player card game based on the Settlers of Catan board game.

The Giggling One and I are big fans of Settlers of Catan, and when she spotted it in Mind Games while we were perusing the shops of Melbourne's CBD she was unable to resist.

One of the main attractions to this game is that it is a 2 player game. It's easy to carry around, and if we're unable to drum up extra players for the board game version, we can always play this.

The basic concepts of the card game are similar to its more well known hexagonal island counterpart. Players have cards laid out in front of them representing settlements and cities, roads, and six different resources (brick, wood, sheep, ore, wheat, and gold). Each resource card has a number on it from 1 to 6, and when the dice is rolled, the resulting number generates one of that resource.

It's deliberately arranged so that each player starts with one of each resource, as well as one of every die number, so you will always produce something on a roll (well, unless you've maxed out that resource card).

You keep track of resources by rotating each resource card so that the number at the bottom of the card is equal to the number of resources you have. It's a nice mechanic and means that you can always see exactly how much of every resource your opponent has.

As each card is square, and thus has only 4 sides, the most resources you can store per card is 3 (each side of the card represents 0, 1, 2 or 3 of that given resource when rotated to face you). If you have 3 of a resource and that number is rolled again, you don't get anything for it.

There is therefore an inherent incentive to spend your resources before they are wasted. Additionally, like in the board game, if there's a brigand attack (equivalent to the robber) and you have more than 7 resources, you'll lose some.

Each player starts with two settlement cards separated by a road card. Each settlement has 4 resources diagonally adjacent. To extend your little piece of Catan, you need to buy roads and settlements and expand sideways.

Whenever you place a new settlement you draw 2 new resource cards to make up the 4 required (the new settlement will already share 2 resources with the previous settlement).

There are, of course, other cards you can have that assist your colony. You can play knights to protect you, fleets to assist with trading, factories to double production, and other beneficial cards. When you upgrade settlements to cities, even more cards become available.

All of these cards are placed directly above or below your settlement or city. Some of them may only benefit that particular town while others will benefit your whole colony.

There are also action cards that allow you to take a swipe at your opponent. In our first game, The Giggling One pretty much had a swipe-fest. I can say from experience that it gets rather frustrating after a while to have your strong knights and beneficial buildings removed all the time.

The Giggling One and I have played this twice now, for 1 win each. Our first game wasn't helped by the fact that once we got home (well, to Jason's home where we were staying) and opened the box, we found two cards were missing and another was duplicated.

Rather more bemused than amused by this, we stopped by Mind Games on our way to the airport the next morning and swapped the box for a new one. We decided to make sure the new version had all the cards and opened it up in the shop to count them.

Sure enough, this second set wasn't complete either. This one had an extra city and one missing road, so we switched the city for a road from the first set, and finally left complete.

The Catan Card Game is enjoyable, and has room for a nice amount of strategy. We've only got the base game, and I understand the expansions add a nice degree of extra strategy (more on that if - or rather when - we buy an expansion).

What I don't understand is why they haven't produced expansions for more players. After 6 or so expansions, it's still only a 2 player game.

Neither I nor The Giggling One can see why this game wouldn't translate well to a 3 or 4 player game, just like its board game cousin. Having more players would make inter-player trading a much more viable option as well. We've had a grand total of 1 trade between us in our 2 games, with all other trading being with the "bank".

If you're a Settlers fan and have that special someone who enjoys the game as well, then this is a worthy consideration of your hard earned moolah.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Ca$h 'n Gun$

Purchase number two on our mini shopping spree in Melbourne was Ca$h 'n Gun$. Note the humorous use of the dollar signs that may come across as a little tacky, but does actually suit the simple nature of the game.

I totally have The Spiel to blame for my purchase of this game. They had a great time with it in their 24 hour game marathon (now there's another idea I'll have to implement one day, along with the 40 beers in 40 hours challenge I've been considering for a long while (though undertaking both at the same time might be a little counter-productive)) and convinced me it was worth getting.

So, get it I did, and I have to say that I've never had so much fun pointing a foam gun at someone else's head.

While in Melbourne, The Giggling One and I were put up under two different roofs, so we utilised both our hosts in playing a few games of this baby.

That's one of the beauties of this game - it's nice and fast, and everyone has fun so you can play it multiple times in one sitting.

I think we played the game half a dozen times with Sandi and Danny (The Giggling One's sister and brother-in-law). Both of them are non-gamers but we figured they'd get a kick out of it. After winning every game between them on the first night, and most of the games on the second night (The Giggling One and I did manage to win once each), they had a (foam) blast.

Our last two nights in Melbourne were at the residence of our friend Jason. Two other friends - Mel & Tim - came around as well, so with 5 players, we gave the "Cop in the Mafia" variant a go.

This one features one player as an undercover cop, and unfortunately for Jason and The Giggling One, who were the cops in the two games we played, both were outted and died in a veritable hail of bullets before they could ring for reinforcements.

Of all the games we played, we probably had more fun just adding the Super Powers. They liven things up, and while the game isn't high on the strategy front (hey, I only won once all weekend), some of the Super Powers do add a little thinking to the mix.

Take, for example, The Insane. This player has a grenade. If they get hit by a bullet, the grenade explodes, and everyone still standing takes a wound as well. The player with this card will usually play it when there is a lot of cash at stake. This will normally happen when there is already cash on the table that couldn't be split last round, and a heap of $20,000 notes are then added.

The idea of the Grenade here is that it is a disincentive for people to shoot you, especially if they already have a couple of wounds. If no one shoots you, you stay uninjured and take a share of the nice big bundle of loot. And that's what usually happens.

However, let's say another cunning player (let's call him...Jeremy) happens to have the It does not even hurt! Super Power. This card allows you to take a share of the loot even if you've backed down or taken a wound that round. So...if this gangster takes a pot shot at The Insane, and in their smugness the insane one thinks the threat of a grenade will protect them and therefore he or she doesn't back down, then the grenade goes boom! Everyone is now either lying on the floor in shame or in blood. Instead of all the loot carrying over to the next round, the sneaky player plays the It does not even hurt! card and takes all the money.

Of course, you're then a marked man. A shame marker or two may be a wise move in the rounds that follow.

While we played with the Super Powers a lot, after the first few times we decided that The Kid and The Cunning, being ongoing powers, were too much of an advantage and took away a little from the game, so we ditched those two cards in later games.

It occurs to me I haven't really described the game play. So now I will. It works like this: 5 random banknotes go on the table; players play a bullet card face down in front of them; players aim guns at each other simultaneously; players either back down (and take a shame marker for doing so (each will cost you $5,000 at the end of the game - if you're still alive)) or stay standing; players who are still standing reveal their bullet cards; if the bullet card shows Bang! Bang! Bang! then the target is wounded and they can't shoot back (each player starts with just 1 of these cards); if the bullet card shows Bang! then the target takes a wound but can still shoot the player they were aiming at (each player starts with 2 of these cards); if the bullet card shows Click! then there was no bullet in the chamber and the target remains unwounded (there are 5 of these per player).

Those players still standing (ie. who didn't back down and were not wounded) split the loot evenly. Any part that can't be split stays for the next round when 5 new notes will be added. Once a player takes 3 wounds (and it's possible to take multiple wounds in the same round) they die. The rules say a dead player's money is discarded, but we thought it made more sense to divvy up the cash equally between the remaining players, with any remainder going into the pot for the next round.

After 8 rounds, the richest player still alive wins. Most players survive until the end, but having the most cash is the tricky bit. We found that the key to winning is to be a nice, innocent, naive girl. No wonder I kept dying.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The Pillars of the Earth

Our shopping trip to Melbourne went spiffingly. I came away with the three games on my shopping list (and was sorely, sorely tempted to increase the size of my luggage for the return flight even more).

The Giggling One managed to get in on the action after we visited Mind Games in Swanston Street in the city "just to see" what they had. Her eagle eye spotted the Catan Card Game so we added one more game to our collection. However, I'll get to that in a future post.

After shopping trip number one to MilSims in Bentleigh last Thursday, it took us no time at all to return to our lodgings at The Giggling One's sister's house (and the 39° day was most certainly an incentive not to spend any more time outside than was absolutely necessary) where we opened up The Pillars of the Earth to enjoy the cathedral building goodness I've heard such good things about.

Ken Follett's novel is my favourite novel ever so, you know, it was kinda always going to be a game I was going to buy. I was given the sequel, World Without End, for Christmas so I re-read Pillars recently before I started on the sequel. With the events of the novel fresh in my mind, it was a joy to play a game that made references to the events and characters within.

The object of The Pillars of the Earth is to gain as many victory points as possible during the 6 rounds of play. Whoever racks up the most VPs wins.

First up, The Giggling One and I tried out a 2 player game. It looks a little daunting to begin with, but once we got the hang of it, it's fun and most definitely strategic.

The game is designed to be played by 2 to 4 players, and with the same mechanics regardless of the number of "builders" (ie. players) it's a very different beast strategy-wise with 2 as opposed to 4 players.

The reason for this becomes apparent in the first phase, but much more so in the second. Phase I sees players choose resource and craftsman cards. Resource cards let you place a certain number of workers (each player has 12 workers) in either the forest (to produce wood), the quarry (to produce stone), or the gravel pit (to produce sand). These resource cards allow you to produce either 2, 3 or 4 units of each resource during that turn depending on what cards are available, and if you can (or wish to) allocate the required number of workers to the applicable resource field.

So, for example, one resource card will give you 4 stone later during that turn, as long as you allocate 10 of your workers to the quarry. If you want to do so, then you take that card and place it in front of you, and place your workers on the quarry section of the board. This card is no longer available for the other players to choose, so if they want to get stone on that turn, they'll need to take the production cards that give either 3 or 2 stone (using 8 or 5 workers respectively) if they are available.

Seven of the nine possible resource cards are randomly available each turn, and as you can take as many as you like (taking one card at a time in turns with the other player(s), and as long as you have workers available to place on the applicable resource field) you have more opportunities to take the cards you want with 2 players than with 4.

Along with the 7 resource cards available in Phase I, there are 2 craftsman cards. There are 4 craftsman cards per round: 2 are available for purchase in Phase I, and 2 are available for free in Phase II. Which pair are available in which phase is chosen randomly (ie. the cards are shuffled before they are placed).

The benefit of craftsman cards are that they allow you to convert your hard earned resources into victory points (VPs). Some also convert resources into gold, or gold into VPs.

As the game goes on, the craftsman cards get better, so there's the dilemma of taking an available craftsman now, or holding out for a better one later on (and hoping no one else jumps in to get it before you).

Each player can only have a maximum of 5 craftsman cards (though there is a privilege card that lets you have 6), so you have to be careful which cards to discard if you get more than 5. To further complicate matters, if you discard certain craftsman cards, you may lose certain functions associated with those cards (eg. you need a mortar mixer in order to earn victory points with masons).

Phase II involves placing master builders on locations on the board. Each player has 3 master builders, and there are 17 places they can go. Simple maths and logic tells you that with 2 players (and thus 6 master builders), there are going to be more options than with 12 master builders in a 4 player game.

I'm not going to go through all 17 options (because this post would drag on for far too long), but they include Kingsbridge which allows you take a privilege card (2 of these are randomly available in the first 5 rounds (the 2 cards for round 6 are always the same) which give you certain benefits (eg. extra resources, extra VPs); the King's Court which gives a tax exemption and may also allow you to obtain metal - the fourth and most valuable resource); Shiring Castle which gives you 2 extra workers for the next turn; and Shiring Resource Market which allows you to buy and sell resources for gold.

As an aside, I should point out that gold is a not a resource but the game's currency.

Finally, Phase III kicks in. This is where players receive the benefits of the master builder placements, as well as where you use your craftsman cards to convert those long, grueling meeple...I mean worker hours in the forest, quarry or gravel pit into victory points.

The way the conversion works is a clever little mechanic. Each craftsman converts a certain number of resources into a certain number of victory points, up to a certain maximum number of times each turn.

For example, the stonecutter that each player starts with converts 2 stone into 1 VP up to 4 times per turn. Therefore you could convert a maximum of 8 stone into 4 VPs during your turn (though you're unlikely to have that much stone during the game).

Later in the game you can obtain a sculptor who can convert 1 stone into 2 VPs, so you have the choice of whether to hold off on using your stone until you can get your hands on a sculptor.

In the two 2 player games I played against The Giggling One, my strategy ended up being on obtaining the cheaper sand to begin with, and focusing on stone later in the game when sculptors became available. I won the first game convincingly, but The Giggling One came within 3 VPs in the second after she streamlined her wood production.

Interestingly, in both of these games, the Prior Phillip privilege card became available in the first round, and I snapped it up both times. Placing a master builder in the priory produced 3 VPs for me almost every turn and was a great little VP earner. I'll also mention that in the 4 and 3 player games we've played since then, it's been The Giggling One whose tried the Prior Phillip strategy, but it didn't prove anywhere near as advantageous with more players fighting over the board.

Our hosts Sandi and Danny joined us in a 4 player game on Saturday night and I soon discovered how important a malleable game plan is with resources and master builder spaces at a premium. My plan to obtain sand to start with was scuppered by Danny so I went into stone from the word go which I supplemented with wood and sand throughout the game.

Sandi and Danny picked up the game quickly, and it was very even up to the end of round 4. At this point, privilege cards were giving The Giggling One 1 extra wood per turn, Sandi 1 extra stone per turn, and myself 1 extra sand per turn.

I led by 1 VP going into round 5. Sandi, having retained the advantage of going first by placing a master builder on the cathedral space in round 4, scooted ahead while I dropped to last.

I had, however, bought another sculptor in round 5 that converted 1 stone to 2 VPs up to 3 times per turn. Not having any stone production in round 5, I decided to ensure I went first in round 6 in order to grab myself the best quarry resource card.

I also managed to place a master builder on the Bellmaker craftsman card which allowed me to convert my 2 metals in to 4 VPs each. Ultimately, this won me the game. Danny and Sandi were also metal-rich and were eyeing the Bellmaker.

Utilising all 5 of my craftsman cards, I tallied 19 VPs from craftsmen in round 6 and took my final total to 44 VPs. The others couldn't catch me, and they all finished up on 39 VPs. We all enjoyed the game immensely (though I have a sneaking suspicion that The Giggling One was a little frustrated to be beaten again, but what can you do???!).

To complete the set, on Monday night The Giggling One and I played a 3 player game with our good friend Jason at his house in Yarraville. The Giggling One went with wood as usual; I went back to my sand first - stone later strategy; and Jason went with stone.

The Giggling One obtained Ellen (a privilege card that allows a sneak peek at the upcoming event card) early on which proved to be a good move. With one master builder placement allowing you to avoid a bad event, she used this placement very effectively during the game.

Once again it was the Bellmaker that got me over the line. Leading by 8 VPs over both myself and Jason going into the final craftsmen stage, The Giggling One could only earn 9 more VPs to finish with a total of 48.

Jason and I both utilised craftsmen that converted metal into VPs to earn 17 and 18 VPs respectively. This gave me a 1 point win over the other two - the closest game yet.

So what have I learned about The Pillars of the Earth Board Game?
  1. It rocks.
  2. It's very well balanced.
  3. The limited choices and level of strategy grow with more players.
  4. It rocks.
  5. It's clever and well implemented.
  6. It's fun.
  7. I really, really want to get the 5-6 player expansion (it doesn't appear to be released in English yet).
  8. It rocks!
If you enjoy board games, then this is a great game to play. Easy enough for board game novices to understand and enjoy, and deep enough for veterans to have fun with as well.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Wits & Wagers

A good, fun family game wrapped up the march HoGS gaming night.

Wits & Wagers involves trivia and betting. It's not a likely combo but it works and it's great fun.

The thing is, you don't actually need to know any trivia. It's probably more fun if you don't know the answers. I was hopeless at the questions and still had a lot of fun, even though I lost all my chips both games we played.

The idea is that every team (up to 7 teams of however many you like can play - for our two games we had teams of 1) writes down an answer to a trivia question, reveals that answer, and then teams bet on who they think has the closest answer.

All answers are numbers, but can be anything from measurements, to ages to years. Some of the questions we got included the number of SUVs sold in a particular year in the US (over 2 million), or the year the sound barrier was first broken in a plane.

When the answers are revealed, they are placed in numerical order on the table and everyone places bets on the answer they think is the closest without going over (Price is Right style).

The correct answer is then read out and whoever bet on the closest answer wins chips. The team who wrote down the closest answer also win 3 chips for obtaining that honour.

The amounts that are paid to the bet winners vary for each answer, which is a cool mechanic. The lowest answer pays 5-1 if it is right, the second lowest 4-1, then 3-1, 2-1, 3-1, 4-1 and 5-1 respectively up to the highest answer. If any teams give the same answer, the identical answers shuffle down to the same space on the board.

There's also a 6-1 option teams can bet on if they think all of the answers are too high.

All teams start with two chips and you can never lose these. These starting chips are in the colours of each team to help keep track of the betting.

As you have two chips in your team colours, you are allowed to bet on up to two answers. Even if you ar correct and win more chips (the chips you win are red or blue (blue chips are worth five)) you can still only bet on a maximum of two answers (though you can plonk down as many of your chips as you like on those two answers), and in fact it is generally better to do so.

If you're feeling confident, you may still place all your chips on one answer. If you lose all the chips you've won, you still get to keep the two you started with.

The game ends once 7 questions have been answered.

We found that 3 or 4 of the 7 players finished each game with only the two chips they started with, and that included me both times. The thing is, it's easy to fall behind if you don't bet on the right answers, so you throw all your chips in to try and catch up.

Even though I came equal last both times, I still had fun. With only 7 questions, the game is over very quickly, and I think it could benefit from having more questions to lengthen the game and give players who drop behind early (ie. me) more chances to catch up.

As I said, it's a good, fun family game. If you can muster up at least 7 players, you're going to get the most out of it. Even those stick-in-the-muds who hate trivia games will enjoy themselves, and that's got to be a good game.

Monday, March 10, 2008


Another quick card game filled in our time as the third offering on Friday night.

Set! is a very simple yet fun and frustrating card matching game.

It's very simple to understand but can be difficult to master if you don't have a fast eye for detail.

Twelve cards are laid out face up on the table. The object for each player is to grab a set of 3 of these cards before anyone else does.

Each card has either 1, 2 or 3 matching objects on it.

Each object has 3 properties: shape, colour and filling.

There are also 3 different types of each property.

In this game the 3 shapes were an oval, a rectangle and an S-shaped squiggle; the 3 colours were green, orange and purple; and the 3 fillings were empty, solid or patterned.

The object is to collect a set of 3 cards such that for any given property (including number of objects on the card), none of them are the same or they are all the same.

For example, a valid set can comprise cards that show: 1 empty green rectangle, 2 solid purple squiggles, and 3 patterned orange ovals. This is valid as all the properties on the cards are different.

Another valid set would be; 2 solid purple rectangles, 2 solid orange squiggles, and 2 solid green ovals. This set is valid as all cards contain 2 solid objects, while the other properties are all different.

Perhaps the easiest way to recognise a valid set, and the way my brain finally understood valid sets, is to learn to recognise invalid sets.

If you find a property (remember these are number, colour, shape, and filling) that is present on two cards but not a third, then it's invalid. That is, if you have a pair of properties instead of singles or triples, then it's not a valid set.

So if I tried to pick up three cards comprised of 1 solid orange squiggle, 2 patterned purple ovals, and 3 empty orange rectangles, it would be invalid because two of the cards are orange.

When the cards are on the table, it's a free-for-all grab-a-set-athon. Once a set is removed, 3 more cards are dealt to replace them.

Once all the cards have been dealt, and no more sets are available, the game ends and the person with the most sets wins.

Generally speaking the dealer is at a disadvantage because often people will start grabbing sets before all the cards are dealt. You can implement a rule that prevents this, but the dealer is still disadvantaged.

I say "generally speaking" because this did not apply to The Giggling One. She has an astonishing eye for sets, and even when we made her be dealer to try and slow her down, she just beat the other three of us by even more.

Mark this down as another game I suck at. I'm the sort of gamer who likes to ponder things, and pondering in Set! will see you slaughtered.

It's a lot of fun though, and can see a lot of d'oh-ing as another person grabs a set you missed after you've been staring at the cards for a good 30 seconds. Certainly a worthwhile diversion for the whole family.

Sunday, March 9, 2008


In my 36th year on planet Earth (I'm not telling how many years I've spent elsewhere) I have finally played that stalwart of board games Carcassonne.

The crowd goes wild.

Yes, I am no longer a Carcassonne virgin.

The crowd goes wilder.

And you know what? It wasn't as good as I thought it would be.

The crowd suddenly goes deathly quiet. Them's fighting words.

Maybe I was expecting more. No, I take that back. I was expecting more.

I never expected Carcassonne to be so...simple.

The Giggling One and I joined in a game of the original Carcassonne with Ian and René. The latter was a Carcassonne veteran. The rest of us were noobs ripe for pwnage. And pwnage is exactly what we got.

Carcassonne is one of the most popular board stategy games around. Along with Settlers of Catan it is seen as one of the more friendlier strategy-lite games - more of a gateway game to the titles with more depth.

The idea is cleverly simple. Taking it in turns, players place a square tile on the table. One or more sides of the tile must touch the sides of at least one other tile. This effectively forms a grid.

Each of the four edges of a tile is made up of one of three things: farm land, a city, or a road. When you place the tile, it must match the tile(s) you are connecting to. So if you place at the end of an existing road, you must connect the road on your tile to that edge.

In this way, you can build roads and cities of various sizes, with (sometimes extensive) farmland surrounding them.

There are also cloister tiles that allow you to place, well, a cloister which sits in the middle of a tile.

The idea of the game is to score as many points as you can until the tiles run out. You score points by placing little followers (known colloquially as Meeples) on the tile you've just put down, though whether you place a Meeple on your turn is up to you.

If you place the Meeple on a road or a city (and you can't place one on a road or city which another Meeple already occupies), he (she/it?) will score points for you when that road or city is completed. The number of points you get depends on the number of tiles the road or city stretches across.

You score 1 point per tile for a road, and 2 points per tile for a completed city (though only 1 point for a two-tile city), with 2 bonus points per banner in the city (as some city tiles include a banner).

If you place a Meeple on a cloister, then when that cloister becomes fully enclosed by surrounding tiles, the Meeple's owner scores 9 points.

You can also place your Meeple on farmland where it remains until the end of the game when it scores points for the number of completed cities that the farmland borders.

While you can't place Meeples on features where a Meeple already sits, it is possible to have two or more Meeples on the same feature if they are later joined.

As you have limited Meeples, you have to choose where to place them, though you get them back once a feature is completed. One of the key strategies is recycling your Meeples to rack up the points.

At the end of the game, when the last tile is placed all uncompleted features are scored, along with the farmer Meeples that score for every adjacent completed city.

I'd love to give Carcassonne, or one of its expansions, another crack, if only to learn some of the strategy and not suck so badly as I did in that first game. Even the two other noobs beat me, and that's a crushing blow.

I must have my revenge. I just wish I didn't keep having to say that.


The Giggling One and I made our second trip to the HoGS games night, and played another four new games.

For one reason or another we both came away a little disappointed from the evening. We didn't have quite as much fun as last time. Perhaps it was because there were too many people there, or we didn't get enough time at some of the games.

Like last time, a quick game was produced for folks to play while we were waiting for more people to turn up so the serious gaming could begin.

So first on the table was Democrazy, a fun, quick game.

Except it was over so quickly that we almost didn't have any fun. I'll explain why later.

The concept of Democrazy is quite intriguing. Each player starts with a certain number of chips (five each in this case as we had seven players). Chips come in four different colours: red, green, yellow, and blue, and are drawn at random from an opaque bag.

We all received eight cards: 5 law cards (randomly dealt), 2 vote cards (a "Yes" and a "No") and 1 random wild card (a "Definite Yes", a "Definite No" or a "Scam").

The idea is that on your turn you draw a card from the top of the law deck, and then choose to play either that law, or one of the law cards in your hand.

The idea is to score points by passing laws that will benefit you.

The laws come in two types: those that are enacted immediately and are then discarded, and those that remain in play.

The first type include laws like "The players lose all of their yellow chips." or "Each player passes all their chips to the player on their left." or "All players draw two chips."

The second type of law are those that, if voted in, remain in play until they are either superceded or the game ends. Some of these won't take effect until the end of the game, but some will have a continuous effect while they remain in play. As well as affecting the number and value of chips, they tend to include some sillier laws like "Players must play their vote card with their left hand. The penalty for failing to do so is to lose a chip." or "Players with beards score 5 bonus points." Needless to say, with only three bearded men on the table, that vote was shot down by the rest of us.

Of course, none of these laws come into play unless they are voted in. When a player proposes a law, all the players vote either "Yes" or "No". If there are more "Yes" votes than "No" votes, the law passes and is enacted.

Players can try to force a law to succeed or fail with their wild card. A player can play their "Definite Yes" card (if they have one) to force a law to pass. However, this will only happen if no one else plays a wild card. Should any other player play a wild card of any type, all wild cards played that hand are immediately nullified.

The "Scam" wild card has the effect of swapping the outcome, again as long as no other wild cards are played at the same time.

Once the game has ended (and this happens when either the "End" card is drawn (this is shuffled into the last ten cards) or a player tries to draw a chip and none remain), and the final laws are enacted, the winner is the player with the highest score (number of chips plus any bonuses).

Sounds like it could be a laugh right?

Well, it is.

So what's my beef?

As I mentioned earlier the game was over very quickly, and we've found that on these games nights, it's often a case of play the game once and move on.

The issue we had was that after a couple of minutes, a law was passed that effectively killed off the game. That law was "Each time a law is adopted, the players who voted in favor draw a chip, and those who voted against lose a chip. Each time a law is rejected, the reverse happens."

What then happened was that everyone tried to second guess the most popular vote (which wasn't too difficult) and voted that way. With five or six players on the winning side each time, the chips ran out in no time at all and the game was over.

In fact, it was over so quickly that I only got one turn for the entire game. And even though I had 10 chips, and finished equal first, it's always going to be a let down when your interaction is limited to voting on other people's laws.

Mark this one down as another game I want to play again. Preferably with fewer players. I like a laugh, and this one was more of a brief chuckle.

Overall thoughts? If you play it, laughs will come. It doesn't take itself seriously, and neither should you. A fun diversion.