Squirmish

Game Overview: A card battling game that is affected by card location when played, character attack powers, and a single die roll.  The deluxe version of Squirmish comes with 108 unique character cards.  Plenty of humor is mixed in throughout the cards including their names, their battle cries, their attack powers, and the art associated with them.  Be the first to knock out three opponent cards in the Squirmish battle to be declared the winner.

Box Contents: Three different version of Squirmish can be purchased.  Two sets include 54 unique cards. The deluxe version, which we are reviewing, includes all 108 cards along with 4 dice, plastic damage markers, and smaller sized storage bag.  There is plenty of room within the deluxe box, even if you wanted to sleeve the cards.  The cards are well made.  The art on the cards is acceptable for what the game is trying to accomplish.  The bag is simply a storage bag for the dice and tokens.

Clarity of Rules:  The rules manual is just eight pages long and does an excellent job in explaining the rules. As with the game cards, there is humor mixed into the rules themselves.  It is mostly text but there are a few pictures for examples that are used.  The only complaint is that the text is very, very small.  However, the black font on the green background helps in reading the small print.

Game Play:  On the cards you will find the starting hit points for the character, its battle cry, its basic attack, its special ability, and any group ability.

·         Starting hit points range from 1 (Killgor the Conqueror) to 16 (Damagebot 2000).

·        The battle cry is a funny saying that if you get into character and say it when the card is played, you get a +1 damage or +1 healing if they attack on that turn.

·        The basic attack gives the results of a die roll if you are attacking with the character.  The lower the number rolled, the less (if any) damage that is done.  Typically, each card has multiple attack ranges associated with it.  For the most part, you want to roll high numbers.

·         Special abilities are unique to each card that you can use at different times in the game. 

·        Group abilities activate when more than one card of that group is in play, even if put into play by other players.

Players are dealt five cards each.  The first action that is allowed is that you can draw a single card.  You are not able to hold more than five cards in your hand.  If the draw places you over five cards, you must discard to get back to the hand limit.

You can then choose to place a card into the Squirmish battle (table).  You are allowed a maximum of five cards in the battle.  When placing cards, you place them so that they are facing you.  This is how you are able to identify who has played which cards.  You can also replace a card you previously played that has no damage on it, with a new card.

Next, you can choose to either move one of your cards or attack an opponent’s card.  If you choose to move a card, you simply swap its potion with an adjacent card.  When choosing to attack with one of your cards, you declare which card you are attacking and then you roll a single die.  You must then consult the basic attack chart that resides on the card.

If damage is inflicted, for the deluxe version, you use the colored plastic tokens to show how much damage.  The green tokens equal one and the red tokens equal three.  If enough damage has occurred that will knock the card out, you take the card and put it into your victory pile.

Sometimes there may be a benefit to attacking your own cards to add health to one of your cards or to defeat it before someone else captures it.  If you do knock out one of your own cards, it does not go to your victory pile and instead is discarded.  There is one lone exception when you play the Rapscallion card, which allows you to add them to your victory pile.

Once a card is knocked out, you must reconnect any cards that have become disconnected from the Squirmish battle to any card edge.

The final step in each turn is to resolve any abilities.  Some abilities come into play when you are attacking and others when you are being attacked.  This is also when you would initiate any group abilities as well.

The game continues until someone has three cards in their victory pile.  

Replay Ability: There is a ton of replay ability here.  With having 108 cards (deluxe version), it is not likely you will end up having the same cards in play.  Even if you do see some of the same ones, who they attack or being attacked by will change up the game.  After multiple plays, we are still running into cards that we have yet to see.  The website for Squirmish also provides some alternate rules that go beyond what the rules manual has to expand upon the replay ability

Appropriate Audience:  The game suggests 7+.  We agree with this as reading is needed to play the game.  Be aware that there is direct conflict within the game and at times, it may feel like all other players are out to get you.  If a younger player isn’t good at handling this it may not be a good fit for them.

What We Liked/Didn't Like:  All of the boys, including Dad, are fans of Pokémon and Squirmish has provided a fresh and simple take on card battling games.  The variety that is found within the game is really amazing.  There are so many unique things that can be done whether it is when you are attacking or when someone is attacking you.  With that being said, sometimes there is a lot going on that you have to keep track of with your cards in play and it can be overwhelming at times and things will be missed that you could have done.

There is strategy to the game that you don’t expect to see, from determining which cards you should keep and where to play them based upon their attack powers and what cards you have in play.  However, the game comes down to the luck of a die roll.  We have no problems with that but if you are not a fan of this, it may not be a game for you.

Holding your cards can feel a little awkward because the cards are printed in landscape format, it takes some getting used to if you want to hold your cards so you read them in your hand.

One aspect that we don’t care for is that even after playing the game multiple times, with so many cards you need to take time to read each one to understand its attack capabilities.  The rules say to draw a card at the start of your turn.  It can be very time consuming figuring out if you want to keep the card as part of your five card limit or if you should just get rid of it.  We decided that it was best to draw the card after your turn.  Even with this, you still lose out on what the other players are doing as you read through your card.

Another was that at times it can be frustrating when you may do most of the damage to one character only to have someone else come in and get the last one or two damage points to take the card for their victory pile.

Add-ons/Other Releases:  Starter Set A- 54 Unique Cards   Starter Set B-54 Unique Cards

          **A review copy was provided to us.