Thursday, November 9, 2017

A Blorg in the Midwest - oh, it’s quirky

I made a copy of A Blorg in the Midwest because it was a quick project of just nine cards and I was having fun crafting cards. However, once it was done, I decided to give it a try since it’s a solitaire game and doesn’t require any other components.

What I discovered was a remarkably quirky little game.

In the game, you are a juvenile alien who borrowed the family flying saucer and crashed it at a farm in South Dakota. Now you have to figure out how to get back to outer space before the FBI show up and vivisect you. 

The cards are all double-sided and come in two flavors: objects and locations. In addition, every card also has an event, most of which make your life a lot more difficult. 

There are basically three areas for cards. Your hand, which can hold one area and up to four objects. The draw pile. Aaaaand the time line which is four cards that you interact with and where events go off.  

Each turn, you can either move to a new location by either flipping your location card or swapping it with one on the timeline or pick up an object from the timeline if it matches your location. Then, resolve any events and move the timeline along.

There are a number of ways to escape but they all involve getting the right items and either taking them to your crashed ship or having them when the right event goes off. 

While I read that A Blorg in the Midwest was a nine-card deck builder, what it really is is a nine-card deck manager. What cards you have in your hand, which side cards are up in the draw pile, what cards are in the timeline. There’s a lot of interaction between all the cards and you have to manage all that to avoid vivisection.

What the game really reminds me of is one of Infocom’s text games from the 80s. You know, where you had to juggle inventory while going to different areas to solve puzzles. While there isn’t anything like getting the Babel fish from Hitchhiker’s Guide, the whole thing is a moving puzzle with the time line bearing down on you.

A Blorg in the Midwest isn’t a flawless game, although I’m pretty sure some of the quirky loopholes are intentional. And I think I will end up played out with the game pretty quickly. But it has been more engaging than I expected with the silly theme and art helping. I am glad I made it and tried it.

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