Kickstarter is always awash with weird and wonderful board game concepts. Simply browsing through the many campaigns is usually the perfect way to find out what’s for you. However, in April last year I was directed to a specific campaign through social media when a much loved satirical Twitter account announced it was releasing a card game based on, well, itself. Introducing Awful Fantasy: The Card Game.
For the uninitiated, @AwfulFantasy is the alias of Justin and Mitchell Lucas providing “your best source for the worst Fantasy and Science Fiction” on Twitter. They teemed up with twins Adam and Brady Sandler – who had recently left Fantasy Flight Games to branch out on their own – to bring their unique taste of parody to the table. Recruiting the supremely talented Conor Nolan to devise the artwork for their vision, the team launched their Kickstarter on May 3rd 2016 and achieved $88,936 in funding from 2,994 funding with fulfilment complete by early July this year.
So how exactly does one translate a relatively popular, absurdly amusing Twitter account to a card game and does it work?
Well, Awful Fantasy: The Card Game is an easy to learn, quick to play hand management game for 2-6 players, with a splattering of take-that. Each player assumes the mantle of an awful author, with the object of the game to create a terrible tale by collecting a protagonist, antagonist and a plot from the fantasy deck. The twist comes through the awful card deck that dictates play through numerous cards all with unique abilities, many of which hinder your opponents. Each author card chosen at the start also comes with a unique ability. All very simple indeed.
As a game concept, it’s nothing to get excited about at all. Gameplay is very dull, repetitive and lacking any kind of depth. The take-that element is completely unbalanced, prolonging games unnecessarily with a loud gang-up-on-the-leader mentality that the game does little to quieten.
That all said, I’m am actually a fan of this game!
Not for the first time we have a game where the theme and design carry the actually gameplay, making it much more worthy than it has any right to be. For me, Awful Fantasy: The Card Game has some absolutely outstanding writing and such a wonderfully vibrant and engaging art design from Conor Nolan that when considered as a sum of its parts, the game actually works quite well.
The humour is so on point that even those not concerned with the world of fantasy or sci-fi will appreciate the satire, while the fanboys of the genre will bask in it. The variation in the cards, particular the author cards, is so widespread that the game stays fresh and fun for a while. By no means is this game ever going to be centre of attention, but as light filler it has merit thanks to first class art work and witty writing. As a first stab at a card game, it’s not a bad attempt at all.
As a case study in taking a popular Twitter account and translating it to a card game, it has replicated the feel and vibe of the source inspiration quite well. It is quick, easy to digest and very fun to engage with just like the Twitter platform. Unfortunately however, as with the famed 140 character limit, it feels restrained, lacking any sense of complexity and something that won’t be remembered forever.
For me? If you are a big fan of fantasy, looking for something to replace your family game of Uno or wanting something portal to play on the hop, then it’s worth having a look at.
Kickstarter Campaign of the Week
Although previously mentioned in my August news feature, there can only be one campaign this week and it’s Awful Fantasy’s second take on a board game with Awful Fantasy Adventures. This appears on the surface to be a more rounded game. Original titled Epic A.F. (which I think is a far superior title!) for a previously failed campaign, Awful Fantasy are looking to make it 2nd time lucky with a co-op “self-expanding” card driven dungeon crawler game. Maintaining the utterly sublime art work and stupid pun-filled humour of its predecessor, this could be the game that Awful Fantasy: The Card Game longed to be. With seven days to go on the campaign at time of writing, it’s still a wee bit off it $25,000 funding goal. Go check it out, and with pledges from $25, it could be money well spent!
NEXT WEEK: I’m going to look at a planet size game that fits in your pocket!