Minneapolis, MN, June 27, 2016– Battling card-games like Pokémon and Yu-Gi-Oh are having a resurgence in popularity among the middle-school crowd. A new card game called Squirmish™ has been released that provides a unique alternative to the mainstream card-battling games.
Cartoonist Steven Stwalley created the game when his 10-year old daughter got into Pokémon… but had problems finding people who knew how to play it among her friends who collected the cards.
“I was surprised that so many kids collected Pokémon without playing it. Much of the reason for this, I think, is the game is overly-complex…and just not very fun. What I see as its failings inspired me to make my own game,” said Stwalley.
Squirmish is for 2-4 players, takes about 30 minutes to play, and, the box points out, is not for babies.
Each card has a different ridiculous character, with names such as “Mr. Bottom,” “Figboot,” and “Big Dumb Bear.” The game-play for Squirmish is very straightforward... you draw a card, place a card, move or attack, and resolve special abilities. However, the cards' wildly-varying special abilities add infinite variety and strategic complexity to the game.
“I wanted to keep the game simple enough the basics of it could be learned in a few minutes, but complex enough to reward repeated game-play,” said Stwalley.
Cards are placed next to each other in the middle of the table facing the player that places it (this makes it so everyone can keep track of their cards). The mass of cards is known as “The Squirmish.” Cards can only attack cards adjacent to them (unless a special ability lets them do otherwise).
The game also has some funny quirks. Each card has a "battle cry," which when said in a silly voice when the card is placed gives that card +1 to its attack. Also, some cards belong to groups (such as the "Spooner Valley Cryptids," "The Fraternal Order of Strange Fellows" and "The Biscuit Sisters") with group abilities that are activated when more than one member of that group is in play. Players are encouraged to use o-shaped cereal to keep track of a card's damage.
The first player to knock out three of their opponents' cards for their victory pile wins the game.
While it is a beast-battling card game, Squirmish has little resemblance to its mainstream inspirations. With bizarre, funny, and often grotesque characters like, “Boil Boy,” “Tackyosweatersaurus,” and “Old Picklenose,” Stwalley’s visual inspiration comes much more more from Mad Magazine than Pikachu.
Three different sets of Squirmish cards have been released. Sets A and B contain 54 unique cards each, along with a die. There is also a Deluxe Set that includes all of the cards from both sets A and B, as well as 4 dice, 50 damage counters and a cloth bag (at a lower cost than buying Sets A and B separately).
Unlike the mainstream monster-fighting card games, Squirmish is designed with the emphasis on playing rather than collecting... all of the cards needed to play are included in the deck.
“Squirmish is made for having fun playing the game… there is no focus on collecting. Save that money for college, kids!”
“Overall, I’ve had fun with Squirmish both with my kids and with adult players. I think it’s a lot of fun for families. The dice-based abilities mean that there’s still a good amount of chance involved, which gives less-experienced players a chance to take on more-experienced players, so gamers who want something with pure strategy may not like it quite as much. And don’t forget to shout your battle cries as you enter the fray!” – Jonathan H. Liu at GeekDad.
“It’s a simple card game, but it has a lot of meat to it… If you’re looking for a battling card game that you can introduce to people to maybe even get them into bigger and deeper games, this is a great introduction to do so.” – David Bray at Sit Down Standard.
“This game is made in direct response to collectible card games aimed at the pre-teen age group, such as Pokemon. There are battling monsters in this game, but unlike a collectible game, everything you need to play is included in one box. I’m a Pokemon Professor and Judge for the card game, so I was really very interested to try this out. It did not disappoint and actually exceeded expectations.” – Chandra Reyer at TSR’s Multiverse.
“I don’t know what to say other than you might like it and maybe others won’t. I am one of those who like it. I don’t think it will replace Pokemon for me, but it is much easier to carry around around than all my Pokemon equipment! It is not cute. However , there are some cute Squirmish monsters. Cawfeather, Opossrat, Killgor the Conquerer, Cupcake, and a few more. I say anyone 2nd grade to 9th might like it. The Battle Cries are really funny! But don’t attempt to make a Donald Duck voice for Pompaduck. Oh, and be sure to add Googly eyes. Heheheheheheheheh (^._.^)/ Keep on Gaming! Meow!” – Chandra Reyer’s Daughter at TSR’s Multiverse.
“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.” – Stephen Duetzmann at Engaged Family Gaming.