Monday, January 6, 2014

Game Review - Graverobbers III: Suburban Slashers from Sunnydale Street

Although this game has been around for some time, back from the ancient days of 2009, it makes for a good first game review on this blog for several reasons.  The first is that "The Rage Circus" owes its name in part to this game!  That's right, it was through the use of the game's first step of creating a movie title that your new favorite blog was named.  More on that in a second.  The second reason is that this is a relatively simple game that is good for various age levels.  Finally, there is the fact that this game is an overlooked gem that I did not see get much play even when it was fresh, despite the fact that the game was obviously popular enough to be the third in a series.

The game concept is a simple one.  You are creating your own "B" horror movie by assembling a location, a cast of characters, possibly some props, utilizing some special effects when they help you, and rolling the credits before your opponents can attack your set with too powerful of a creature (just like real movies are made!).  In order to win the game, you want to have the highest total "defense value" (or DS) by the end of the game when the "Roll the Credits" card is played.  There are six basic card types:  characters, locations, props, creatures, special effects, and roll the credits. 

First is the character card.  The characters are the crux of your movie.  You can add as many characters as you want and each has key words that interact with different things going on throughout the game.  These are the cards that are going to go if you lose against an attack, so make sure you have plenty of cannon fodder. 

The next card is the location card.  Location cards can add or subtract defensive value for a movie and also provide additional positive or negative effects.  You can play a location on any person's movie, so save those negative ones for the people who have really been pissing you off recently!
Props help your characters.  They are typically weapons and can give a defensive bonus as well as allow you to do other fun stuff.  I suggest equipping them as inappropriately as you can.

Ah, what fun would a horror movie be without the creatures?  These are the things of the night that you use to attack your opponent's movies with the hopes of killing off their cast one at a time.  Certain creatures get bonuses in certain locations, so watch carefully for that perfect opportunity to strike!
As with any movie, you want cool stuff to happen out of the ordinary, you need special effects.  These cards can raise or lower defensive and offensive values of other cards and generally really mess with your opponent until they want to swipe all of the cards off the table, flip said table, and run screaming from the room "I don't want to play anymore!"
Finally, when all is said and done, when victory is within your grasp, you can play the "Roll the Credits" card to end the game and claim sweet victory for all eternity!  (Or at least until you play again).
The game starts simply enough, with the creation of a title.  You take the top six cards off the deck and then you and the other players choose a title using the words.  You can add pronouns, prepositions, conjunctions, plurals, adverbs, modifiers, or whatever else your heart desires to make your title.  You then write down said title and shuffle the cards back into the deck.  At the end of the game, if you have any of the title cards in your movie or your hand, you get bonus points.  This is also a great way for creating blog titles, such as "The Rage Circus Vs. the Soulless Void!" 


Yes, that's right, that is where yours truly, with the help of some equally demented friends, got the title for this blog!  Now you know the secret and don't forget the blood oath you signed on the way in!  Oh, wait, you didn't sign the blood oath?  Here, take this scalpel and this sheet of fine-print paper.

Once you have your title, you are ready to play.  You draw six cards, and start to build your movie and prepare to attack your opponents.  At the end of the game, the person with the movie containing the highest defense value wins.  There is a little more to the mechanics of the game, but they are easy to pick up.  Also, don't forget to read your cards as you play them.  While it is not required, if you do not do so, you and fellow players may miss out on certain gems like the "Hobo" card with the text "That symbol's hobo code for 'good food,' that one means 'place to sleep,' and that one means 'Beware: Tentacles.'"  If the game has a flaw, it is that the fact that it is a card game with few expansions means that re-play value is not as high as it could be.  Given its low cost (you can pick it up for $5 on Amazon), I find this forgivable.  The humor is enough that even someone who is not a die-hard horror fan can enjoy the game and, as I stated earlier, the mechanics are pretty simple once you begin to play.

So, let's break it all down.

Ease of understanding rules - 5/5
Quickness of play - 4/5
Ability to hold gamers' interest - 4/5
Re-playability - 3/5
Value for Cost - 5/5

Overall - 4.2/5 - Worth your time and money!

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