Friday, April 22, 2016

The Game: Are you ready to play? - a review

While we aren't totally settled into the new house yet, I've started unpacking my game supplies and games and came across my copy of The Game: Are you ready to play? published by IDW Games.  This is probably the worst name ever for a game.  Good luck finding it with an internet search.  If you try I suggest adding "Spiel" to the search, that helped me.

The theme of this game is very thin, but the back of the box says that the only way for you and your friends to survive is to successfully play the game.  In my mind, I picture a scene from the movie Saw; me and the other players are trapped inside some run down house and this game is sitting on a card table in the middle of the room.  This is, of course, just in my head, but hey, whatever works.


There is very little art in the box.  The rules are a 1/3 page with mostly text.  The cards look decent, but they are all the same.  They kind of have a creepy vibe, which fits with my Saw idea.  I'm good with the art that is there and I'm glad the numbers on the cards are easy to see and read as they are important to the game mechanics.

Component Quality

This game uses a deck of cards numbered from 2-99 and 4 discard pile cards; 2 counting up from 1 and 2 counting down from 100.  The cards are of decent quality.  I would suggest sleeves if you plan to play this much and I'm guessing that after one game, you will plan to play more.
The box is sturdy enough, but the cards will not fit in it once they are sleeved.

Game Play

The goal of the game is to play all of the cards 2-99 onto the 4 discard piles.  However, you must play the cards in descending order on the 100 down cards and in ascending order on the 1 up cards.  Simple, right....  And frustrating...  And fun... And challenging...

You can not share specific information about the cards in your hand with other players.  You can offer general info.

Each player gets a hand of cards (hand size varies depending on the number of players).  Players collectively decide who should go first, then play moves clockwise around the table.  On your turn, you must play 2 cards from your hand, but can play more than that if you want, then draw back up to your starting hand size.  This gets challenging when you start the game with only cards from the middle (30-70).

The one thing that keeps this from being impossible is that you can play a card that is exactly 10 higher/lower than the top card on that card to move the deck back.  For example, if the face up card on a 100 down discard pile is 54 and I have 64 in my hand, I can play it even though it is a higher card.  If I also have a 74 I can jump the pile back 20 numbers.  Not likely, but possible.

Solo Game Play

This game works for 1-5 players.  I've played it both solo and multi-player.  The rules are the same for solo as for multi-player except, in the solo game you get 8 cards in your hand.  My best score solo so far is 23 cards left.  Not very good.  We got a score of 7 in a 4 player game.  The rules say ending with only 10 cards left to play is a great score.

Overall Thoughts

I was kind of surprised by this game.  I found it to be extremely enjoyable.  I want to play it again...  Right now... While I'm typing this, I'm wondering why I'm not playing The Game.  As I play it, I realize I should have done my last play differently and it stresses me out that it might mean someone's life (maybe my own) because I made a mistake.  (not really, of course)

It doesn't look like much and the theme is pretty light.  My imagination helps, but if you don't add that element, then there isn't much theme there.  In the end it is a very abstract, puzzle game.  I like abstract and puzzle, so good for me, but not everyone falls into that category.

I still think it is a fun game that people will like.  I would suggest you try this game out.  It plays quickly.  It is easy to teach.  It is engaging.  There isn't much time between players turns and you need to pay attention to what people are playing so you can make good plays and maybe be able to make use of the 10 back rule.

Blog update 4-21-16 Settling into the new game room (and the rest of the house).

We were finally able to actually move into our new house a few weeks ago.  We still have work to do and will be unpacking for at least the next decade, but things are coming together.

I have spent a little time working on my game space.  We won't be finishing my game space in the basement for a while, but I am still excited to have a dedicated game space in which I can have some game tables and the ability to leave board games left set up.

My gaming space is actually filling up quickly, but my 8' x 4' gaming table accounts for a big chunk of that.

I am setting up my painting area as well.  I used to have a narrow and wide card table that I would pull up to my chair to paint on, but I had an idea about getting a hospital table instead.  I found a small one on eBay for a reasonable price and ordered it.  I think it is going to work pretty well.  I kind of wish it were a bigger table, but for now I am happy with it.

Here is a close up of the new paint table.   I'm hoping to get lots of stuff painted with this new set up.

My wife bought me a game room warming present as well.  This is a drink holder and trash bag that mounts to any table surface.  I've added it to my paint table to keep my drink from getting knocked over and to have a handy place for trash.  Thanks, Amy!