But it's fun.
Now, I've demoed this game at several conventions and walked away underimpressed. It's Apples to Apples with a little bit more.
Each player has a hand of four cards - two each from two different decks. One deck has white backs - those are all characters. One deck has black cards. Those are modifiers. Each turn, you will play one white card and one black card and then draw one additional black card off the top of the deck for a bit more randomness.
And then you argue over who would win in a fight to the death.
It's not great. And - the basic game - is not very fun. But there are about six million expansions, each is color-coded. Want a bit more Cards Against Humanity in your game? Mix in the Red Deck. Want to play with kids? The Green Deck. Anime fan? Pink deck. But there are three decks that can change the game to fun.
The Blue Deck adds locations, the Yellow Deck adds different competitions, and the Purple Deck adds conditions to the scenario. Any of these alone could be fun. Or would be if they included rules.
The back of the Purple Deck box says (in all caps):
THE PURPLE DECK IS AN EXPANSION TO SUPERFIGHT THAT ADDS 100 SCENARIOS TO THE FIGHT, SUCH AS "KITTEN STAMPEDE" AND "NO GRAVITY." DRAW THEM WHENEVER YOU LIKE, EITHER BEFORE FIGHTERS ARE CHOSEN TO GIVE PLAYERS A CHANCE TO ADAPT, OR DRAW THEM AFTER TO TAKE THE BY SURPRISE.That's all the rules it has.
When I dug the game out, one of the players had played the game before. "I'm out," she said.
"Hang on," one guy told her, "Eric dug it out, so he probably understands the rules better and it's probably fun. Eric doesn't bring lame games." I'm paraphrasing, here, because I don't remember his exact words, but that's the gist of what he said.
We played in "Super-villain Mode" which means one player serves as judge - and sets out the villain for everyone else's hero to defeat. It means everyone is playing at all times and there's no table voting for a winner. The Villain also got to draw from the variant decks. I didn't have Purple with me, so they drew two Blue and two Yellow cards each, chose one or two of them, and played those after the other players had selected their heroes.
It was ridiculously simple, but just that little bit of rules structure turned a box of random cards into something fun that people were willing to play.
It got me thinking a bit. No, a lot. About Good vs Fun vs Simple and how too many people conflate all of these. It's something I need to think on so I can write more about it later. Because Good and Fun are not the same.
It's not a good game. Even with the modifier decks, the rules as written are badly incomplete and in need of house rules to make it playable. But, with the barest shell of rules added, it became a fun game.
I wonder how many unfun games are only a rule or two away from being fun. I'll be thinking on that, too.
In a personal note, I'm now out of the March Crazies. An oddly-high number of my friends have March birthdays - and that includes my wife. Then, just past the end of March is my wedding anniversary. So that's time with family that needs to be spent. Both families, actually. And somewhere in there most years is Norwescon. So the end of March through the middle of April is usually ridiculously busy for me. But now things are settling back into their usual level of busy.
So here's a list of things I still need to post about, hopefully in the coming weeks, unless I get distracted or shipping is delayed or something:
- Hero Forge
- Good vs Fun vs Simple
- Contests and Awards
I'm sure there are other things I'm going to be writing about, but those are posts I have partially-written that should be coming over the next few weeks.