This week’s Monday Night Gaming: Penny Arcade The Game–Gamers vs. Evil.
If you’ve followed my weekly tabletop reviews, you know I’m a fan of deck-builders. For those who aren’t familiar with the term, Deck Building is a mechanism where players begin the game with a pre-determined set of cards and add & change those cards over the course of the game. Most deck-builders give some form of currency used to “buy” other cards for your deck. The new cards tend to expand the player’s possibilities/strategies and allow the player to build an “engine” to drive their course in the game. Because most deck builders randomize which cards come into play, each game is different depending on which starting cards are used and which cards the players choose to “buy.”
Penny Arcade, the famed web comic due of Tycho and Gabe, created a deck builder called Gamers vs. Evil. (They are also behind the wonderfully awesome charity, Child’s Play, which donates games to children’s hospitals around the world, so that kids fighting cancer and other evils, have something to distract them from their pain.)
This deck builder is very much themed around the idea of gamers fighting evil creatures such as an evil version of Santa Clause.
Gamers can start out as one of 10 characters, each with their own powers or perks. For example, Gabe gets an extra token per turn (tokens are used to buy cards). The game consists of 7 “gamer” card stacks and 7 “evil” card stacks, plus two boss stacks. Players play their cards, buy new ones, discard cards, and then draw new ones like typical deck building games.
The focus is on gaining the most victory points, but beating the boss cards ultimately gives the most points. The non-boss cards you buy tend to do one of three main things:
a) give you Cardboard Tubes, which gives you Power to purchase “evil” cards
b) give you Quarters, which gives you Tokens to purchase “gamer” cards
c) allow you to attack the other players (there’s a ton of PvP in this game)
or give players the “PAX Pox” card, which removes points
The idea is to balance the evil and gamer cards in your deck, though I’ve found going one side or the other does just fine. Winning boss cards often gives you loot cards with seriously awesome effects such as +5 to Power or drawing extra cards.
It’s not as strategic as some deck-builders and as such, would work as a great intro in to deck building games. We enjoy playing it for the LOLs because we get the references.
The artwork is very Penny-Arcade style and fitting with the theme of the game. It’s a 2-4 player game that is simple enough that a casual gamer can play it as easily as an avid gamer. However, it is not a game I’d recommend for young kids or the easily offended. It’s a game by Penny Arcade–enough said.