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Subject: The Cardboard Hoard: Review of Tag Team rss

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Eric Buscemi
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New York
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Tag Team is the latest offering from Button Shy Games, a publisher that specializes in micro-games. It is the second of their games that I've played. The other, You're Fired, plays similarly to Love Letter, where this feels like a successor to a different Seiji Kanai game, BraveRats. The game, like BraveRats, is a quick dueling game with simultaneous action selection and bluffing. But there are also some significant differences, which I'll detail below.

Tag Team comes in a vinyl wallet with fourteen cards, seven for each crew. Each crew member has a muscle value of 0-6, and a value of their territory of 1-5. There are two different Tag Team versions available -- Woodland Park Guerrillas vs. Back Alley Gators and Uptown Eagles vs. Downtown Bullies -- with each of these four crews having unique sets of abilities.

Each round, players will use all seven of their crew cards to try to win three encounters. First, each player sets aside one of their cards as an enforcer, which will not be used unless one of the encounters require a tie-breaker. Next, each player chooses two cards to play face down in front of them. Each player's first card, their leader, will be flipped up simultaneously and their muscle value and special abilities compared. At this point, either player can choose to retreat, losing the territory value of only one of their two cards in play. If neither retreats, the second cards for each player, their backup, is flipped, and their muscle is added -- but not their special ability. The highest muscle, after factoring in the leaders' special abilities, then wins the encounter and the value of both of their opponent's territory cards are awarded to them. This encounter phase is repeated three times until the players have no cards remaining, with the winner being whoever tagged more of their opponent's territories.

Pros: As a micro-game, the first and most obvious positive is portability, especially in the vinyl wallet case. As for the game play, it is easy to learn, quick to play, and has a cute theme with complimentary art. I also like that the four different crews each have unique abilities, that two cards are played at a time, and the enforcer tie-breaker, all of which add to the game's variety and replayability.

Cons: There are already many small, quick bluffing games, such as the already mentioned BraveRats, as well as the similar JurassAttack!, so owners of those may not necessarily want another in their collection. I am also curious to know how well each of the four crews balance against each other, and I cannot accurately answer that, having only played two of the crews. Of the two I did play, I suspect the Woodland Park Guerrillas are slightly more powerful, or at least easier to master.

Full disclosure: I received a preview copy of Tag Team: Woodland Park Guerrillas vs. Back Alley Gators from the publisher, but have no financial interest in the Kickstarter they are running for the game.

See more of my board game reviews here, and read my other board gaming thoughts on my blog, The Cardboard Hoard.
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Travis Morton
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I may get it down the line. But, put the gun to my head now for both sets, and I have to say "No".

The bluffing is not so much there as tactical play and trapping. And I think graphic design-wise, wierd choise referencing the "Strength" (veritcal fist) with a sideways fist in text.

Who knows, we may all be surprised, but taking on the likes of say Battle Line, it may struggle.

Also think there should have been a few more previews of the other 2 teams
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