It is hard to take a step in the board game universe without tripping over a dozen card based combat games. This can make it difficult to stand out in the crowd. I get several requests for Kickstarter previews every week. Recently, I was sent a request for coverage for a game called Squirmish that was designed by a gentleman named Steven Stwalley. My heart sunk a little bit when I saw the words “card” and “combat” in his elevator pitch, but that all went away when I looked over the art assets he gave me. Squirmish’s art is juvenile, obnoxious, and maybe even a little gross. In other words? I loved it.
The game’s theme is a straight-forward concept. Two to four players lay out cards on the table one at a time adjacent to each other and take turns attacking their opponent’s monsters. The goal is to be the first player to capture three cards. We were concerned off the bat that the game would be confusing since we were laying cards out and had no counters or other ways to indicate who owned which creature. Fortunately, Steven thought of a solution to that problem in the design. As players place their cards on the table they do so in such a way that the rules text is facing them. The cards themselves aren’t square so this makes the play area evolve into a spiral of weird monsters as the game progresses.
I spent an evening playing this game several times with my wife and two sons and we enjoyed it a lot. There was a bit of a learning curve as we learned how to take advantage of the various monster powers. The vast majority of the strategy is found in the interactions between the different monsters and their special abilities. Some of them will heal, let you draw cards or let you deal extra damage under certain conditions. It is important that younger players be encouraged to read their critters’ abilities and make use of them because forgetting them will mean a quick and frustrating game.
The order of play is simple.
- Draw a card, if you wish.
- Place a card into the Squirmish, if you wish.
- Move or Attack
- Resolve any creature abilities
The simplicity in the turn orders definitely helps to make up for the chaotic Squirmish that builds up over the course of the game.
The Kickstarter campaign has just started and is already almost a third of the way to being successful. I definitely recommend this one so make sure to back it soon to help keep up the momentum!