Jill Seale

PAX 2011: Penny Arcade The Game: Gamers vs Evil

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Ever since I moved out of the south to a place where people do cool things like playing nerdy tabletop games and not beating up people who play nerdy tabletop games, I’ve had a newfound interest in nerdy tabletop games. I decided to check out the Penny Arcade card game knowing that the game would probably be pretty funny, at the very least. Little did I know that after a 20 minute demo of the game, I would be compelled to buy it, and that it would end up being one of the highlights of my PAX trip this year.

First off, let me just say that this game is hilarious. It is not uncommon to be asked to Touchweiners with your opponent, or to be asked if it is legal to “Twisp your Scrotuum.” Don’t worry, it’s even funnier with context, but the “I touched wieners” button I got for trying the game was a source of constant jokes and funny looks from passersby.

The game doesn’t lean on it’s humor for a crutch, either. It’s a solid game that has been just as fun every time I’ve played it. I’m told it takes its cues from another card game called Dominion (which I’ve never played), so if you’ve played Dominion, you should be in familiar territory. If not, the PA game is a deckbuilding game. 14 pools of cards are laid on the middle of the table, 7 of which are the green (gamer) cards and the other 7 of which are red (evil) cards. At the beginning of the game, you’re given an allotment of quarter cards and cardboard tube cards based on which character you’ve chosen. You shuffle these into your deck, then draw 6 cards and use them to purchase the cards in the middle. The main goal of the game is to kill one of the two bosses, which are also in the middle of the table. Once you can amass enough tokens or power (given to you by the cards in your hand) you can take a whack at one of the bosses and take one it its loot cards, which are always super devastating. Once one of the bosses runs out of loot cards, the game is over and the players count the victory points on the cards in his deck. The player with the most victory points wins. This all seems super complicated, and there’s no doubt that there’s a lot of subtle strategy in building your deck, but grasping the basics of this game takes hardly any time at all. The game’s release is set for October of this year, and you can get it at Cryptozoic’s website or wherever cool tabletop games are sold.

If tabletop games are your thing, you’re definitely going to want to check this one out. If tabletop games aren’t your thing, you should try this one, because it’s a lot of fun. Either that or move to the south. You might like it there.

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