Friday, January 3, 2014

Tommy's Take on Card of the Dead, Cardstock Cowboys and Horrors of the Weird West

Card of the Dead
You don't have to be the fastest...just faster than the person next to you.

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW: Card of the Dead is a small, light card game (56 cards) from AEG, in which you play people attempting to survive a zombie apocalypse. You have three kinds of cards you can draw: Action cards (which you can play for Movement Points to try to escape the city, or to perform the action listed on the card, like using Lure to sic a zombie on someone else, or Chainsaw to mow down the zombies in front of you), Zombie cards (which are trying to kill you), or Event cards (which come into play immediately, often to your detriment, like Fog which disperses the zombies in play among the players or Swarm, which causes everyone to draw two cards a turn going forward). If you get a certain amount of zombies surrounding you, you can no longer "run"...too many more on top of that, and you're dead. The round ends when a) there's one survivor, b) one person gets enough movement points to escape the city or c) no cards remain in the deck. From there, you get a number of Survival Points based off of how the round ended (but if you have the Bitten card, you don't survive, period). After 3 rounds, the player with the most Survival Points wins.

WHAT WORKS: It's a fun, light card game that a family can play. My wife, my son and I cracked it open and busted through the game with little problem. The cards all feel pretty thematic (like having a Slugger card to fend off Ruffians who want to take your stuff, or Hide, which forces a Zombie in front of you to wander to the next player). Affordable price point (retailing for $10).

WHAT DOESN'T WORK: Some complain that the art's a bit too cartoony. For a simple game, we made a couple of minor rules mistakes due to rough translation of the rules.

CONCLUSION: It's good, light fun that the whole family can play and play quickly, great for a quick, casual game setting. My son (Geek in Training), my wife (very casual gamer) and I (pretty hardcore, as I'm writing a blog about the game) all enjoyed it (even though my wife was a magnet for the Bitten card). A silly time filler for folks that don't take their zombies too seriously.

Deadlands: Cardstock Cowboys

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW: This is a printable PDF ($7.49) for figure flats covering most of the major Deadlands needs: Gunslingers, Texas Rangers, Men in Black Dusters, Blessed, Hucksters, Natives of all stripes, shysters, bandits, desperadoes, cultists, most of the previous also on horseback, walkin' dead, Hangin' Judges, wendigos, devil bats, Los Diablos, Mojave Rattlers and even Maze Dragons.

WHAT WORKS: This'll cover most of your Deadlands stand-ups needs. One of the biggest pains we've had is one PC that is a Native who has been Deputized...we managed to find a standup that did a pretty decent impression of him as well. It's cool getting different varieties of the same archetypes. Especially so I don't have to resort to, say, using Necessary Evil figure flats in a Deadlands game. You get 16 PAGES of printable flats, of various sizes as needed (the Prairie Ticks are tiny...the Maze Dragons are massive).

WHAT DOESN'T WORK: This was originally a print product, and the first page has a large trade dress/sidebar that you can't work around if you want to print that first page off. A lot of the art is good, but a bit too small, especially with the color, and it loses something. I've seen smaller images on printable figures that were just line art that printed better because of it. No Harrowed.

CONCLUSION: A really good purchase for a Deadlands fan that uses minis but needs something cheap and easy to fill up his battlefields (i.e. me). I would love a more fully featured product with clearer art and customized printing (like being able to select the figures you want to print off, instead of printing off three separate pages to get to the three figures my players were using, as I had to). I probably would have LOVED this in print, but working with a cheap printer, it is a less than optimal product...still a good purchase, just not a GREAT one.

Deadlands: Horrors of the Weird West

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW: The companion product to Cardstock Cowboys, this 8 page document covers pretty much everything from Rascals, Varmints & Critters 1 & 2, including nosferatu, Dracula, demons, the five unique Hangin' Judges, automatons, Paul Bunyan, Pecos Bill, John Henry and more.

WHAT WORKS: A really good selection, covering the bulk of the remaining official monsters.

WHAT DOESN'T WORK: The same limitations of being designed for a print product hinder the PDF of this as well. Running Night Train and want a legion of Nosferatu? Get ready to print page 1 - including trade dress that covers a quarter of the page, as well as a bunch of creatures you don't have an immediate use for - over and over again. You're also going to get a lot of dead space on some of the pages, which is doubly annoying when it's your ink and paper going into printing these.

CONCLUSION: A more specialized selection than the first set, combined with a sub optimal set-up for home printing, and my recommendation for this set is even more lukewarm than for Cardstock Cowboys. Right now, this is as good as it gets for Deadlands fans, but I would love to have newer sets that took advantage of the advances in technology. It wasn't a waste of money, but it wasn't my wisest purchase, either.

DISCLAIMER: Affiliate links used in the reviews may provide me with store credit to the given stores. None of these products were review products. They were all purchased by me for my personal use.