Let’s be honest, there are a lot of board games out there that might as well double their ‘estimated time of play’ because of how long they take to actually start playing. The rules are byzantine, the pieces are better counted by the score than by the dozen, arranging everything on the table is akin to cartography, and shuffling the cards can count as a cardio workout. It’s almost as if the set up portion is its own game . . . hey, wait a minute, there’s an idea. And what if it was actually a really simple card game that’s easy to learn and full of tongue-in-cheek humor about all the board games we love to play and hate to set up? That’s how we wind up with Complicated Board Game the Card Game: Time 2 Play!
Brought to us by offcut games (Patrick Brennan, Alisha Wilkerson, and Ari David), Complicated Board Game the Card Game: Time 2 Play is for 3-6 players with a projected play time of 15 minutes. Players are attempting to set up a complicated board game by getting all of the ‘pieces’ onto the table, in this case with the pieces being represented by cards. Each player starts with five such pieces in their ‘Holdings’, and the first one to empty their Holdings wins the game.
A single starting piece is on the table to begin the game, and new pieces need to be place either vertically or horizontally next to the piece they’re played on in a specific order: Hats are worn by Soldiers, Soldiers ride Sheep, Sheep are abducted by Spaceships, Spaceships blow up Castles, and Castles, uh . . . Hat! Players get two Turn Points to spend every turn, and placing a piece on the table costs one such point, although you can only place one piece per turn. What do you do with that other point, or both if them if you can’t play a piece?
This is where things start to get ‘complicated’. Every player also starts play with a hand of four cards from the Deck of Complications, and draws another card from that deck at the start of every turn. These cards cost from 0 to 2 Turn Points (you can play as many per turn as you can afford), and come in five broad categories. Board State cards change how pieces are placed, such as Diagonal forcing pieces to land diagonally next to their target piece while also allowing pieces to be played on top of one another. Events are one-offs that do a wide variety of things to effect the table, such as Sharing With Friends letting you take a piece from your Holdings and add it to another’s. Rules are exactly what they sound like, such as Public Information requiring that all players must play with their hands face up for all to see.
Solo Rules are a little more complex in that they only affect a single player, and depending on what they do you might want to use one on yourself or you might want to dump it on another player. Hard Mode is definitely the latter, stating that if the player operating under the rule empties their Holdings of all pieces they still do not win the game. If that seems horribly overpowered, don’t worry, because that brings us to our last type of card: Win Conditions. Win Conditions are typically played face down in your Holdings, and quite literally give you a different way to win the game; if the card’s criteria is reached, you can reveal the card and claim your victory. Longest Lane, for instance, lets you win if there are ever eight or more Rules in play!
Now, part of the issue in backing any Kickstarter venture is whether or not it’s coming from a proven creator, and in this case offcut definitely is. CBGtCG:T2P will be their third Kickstarter project and fourth game release, and they’ve gotten slots at multiple PAX Indie Megabooths, the Boston Festival of Indie Games, the Bit Awards, and more. There’s also the fact that CBtCG:T2P is actually the second game in the Complicated Board Game the Card Game series.
I wasn’t in the board/card game reviewing game when the original CBGtCG came out, but the lads over at Delve were, and you can give their chat from back then with Brennan a listen here. I was one of the original backers, though, and I can heartily recommend that one as well. T2P is a ‘stand alone’ expansion that added new Rules, Events, Win Conditions, and new types of cards (Solo Rules weren’t in the original, and the Golden Meeple piece that can always be played wild wasn’t there either). While fully playable on its own, T2P could be mixed in with the original game at will; new cards have a little T2P marker below their art to signify which version they come from, but it seems that playtesting has revealed no problems in playing the two sets together.
In another sign that CBGtCG:T2P is a worthy game to pick up, the original game is actually out of print at the moment, all the copies having been bought up. A bittersweet accomplishment, meaning that if you don’t already have the original then mixing the two isn’t an option right now. However, I’m told that a potential stretch goal for the T2P Kickstarter is getting the original another print run, which strikes me as a much more reasonable and exciting stretch goal than most.
Complicated Board Game the Card Game: Time 2 Play is a fun little game, extremely easy to learn and play and great for parties, short game nights, breather games, or just a couple rounds of enjoyment with some friends. Anybody who has ever felt like throwing an actual complicated game’s rulebook across the room or looked at a box full of game pieces like a snakes’ nest will get a laugh out of it, and newcomers will still get a fun game out of the process. The Kickstarter runs until December 10th, and a $25.00 pledge will get you a full copy of T2P and any stretch goals that are reached.
Alright, time to start playing . . . wait, where’d the rulebook go? I saw it a second ago. What do you mean it’s not in the box? Ugh. Fine. No, really, it’s fine. I know all of the rules and exactly where all of the pieces go. Just pay attention. This is where it gets complicated . . .
Thanks to Patrick Brennan for sending me an Early Prototype version of CBGtCG:T2P to review, and for answering some of my questions about the game!