Friday, July 5, 2019

Sometimes, a game is smaller than its five cards

2019 9 Card Game Print and Play Design Contest - Animal Fight

I am a big fan of the 9 Card Design contests. I’m a lazy PnP crafter so one sheet of cards is something that I can get behind. That’s something I can get done even when Iife is complicated. And if it turns out to be trash, I’m not too put out. And sometimes, you can find some real gems.

Animal Fight is not one of those gems. In fact, it’s more of an oddity than an activity or a game. Despite that fact, it is a complete thought and isn’t broken. It’s one or two moving parts definitely work. Yes, I’m damning with faint praise.

In a sentence, it’s two-player Rock-Paper-Scissors with no draws. One player gets the wolf and mouse cards, which are also vertical pictures. The other player gets the cat and elephant cards, which have horizontal images. 

Pick a card. Reveal it simultaneously. Elephant beats wolf. Wolf beats cat. Cat beats mouse. Mouse beats elephant. First person to win three rounds wins the game.

Before I say anything else, the game is five cards including the instruction card. Isn’t this a nine card contest? Bravo for minimalism but this feels like it goes against the spirit of the contest.

Okay, let’s be brutally honest. There’s just about nothing there. The only thing it adds to Rock-Paper-Scissors is guaranteed no draws but at the price of limiting it to two players. There aren’t any holes or issues with the rules but that’s because there’s no place for there to be any. You can use Rock-Paper-Scissors as a good starting point but it’s also the ending point here.

I wouldn’t play Animal Fight as a game. I love me a good micro-game and I think that a five-minute game can be a fun experience. But there has to be something interesting going on and that’s not the case here.

I can see using it as some kind of decision maker, literally just like Rock-Paper-Scissors, but that’s the extent of it. Still, it’s cute and only five cards so I couldn’t resist making it.

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