I’m not here to give the details of how to play the game or what you get in it. I’m never first on the scene, so there will always be someone else who has already written a finely detailed description covering both the nitty and the gritty (and with this game, my favorite reviews are those by stormseeker75 and crobledo).
So why am I bothering to record this drivel at all?
Well, because another opinion couldn’t hurt, and because I’m here to give my perspective on the game rather than a classical review per se.
So let me begin with my purchasing experience…
I bought the game directly from Cole via eBay on a Wednesday afternoon and had my eager lunch-hooks around it by Saturday – just in time for a game night. Now that’s service. Your results may vary, but I was impressed (especially ordering directly from a schmo with a day job).
Eagerly tearing through the shrinkwrap, I opened the box and surveyed the contents…
The box has nice graphics with a pleasant, earthy color scheme. Yes, it’s a little too big for the cards, but having read in advance that the game is self-published I quickly got over it. The instruction sheet has nicely condensed rules on one side and a list of the cards on the other. Some may complain that the card reference is useless because it simply repeats what the cards say, but I will point out that the cards do not need elaboration (straightforward as they are) and the reference sheet serves the useful purpose of listing the cards for players who wish to play the Cricket Song (mimic any other card) and haven’t yet memorized the entire catalog of cards. A guest used the sheet for that very purpose that night and I was pleased that I didn’t need to make suggestions or allow him the time-consuming luxury of pawing through the discard pile.
Then I played a few games…
Gubs plays quickly and invites repeat play. Heck, it almost demands it. My first game, with my 8 and 11 year old children, took 34 minutes. We became familiar with the cards after one game and our subsequent 3-player games took us 24, 22, 13, 16 and 22 minutes. It’s rare that the time listed on a game is so accurate after only one game. My four 2-player games have averaged 17 minutes, and my two 4-player games averaged 22 minutes. Nicely consistent.
The cards are smooth and shuffle easily. Pretty much what you would expect from a standard bridge deck in quality. And the card distribution seems good, with plenty of interesting and powerful cards, repeats of the most necessary cards and plenty of Gubs to go around. It seems obvious to me that this game has been playtested quite a bit.
So how does it play…?
Having cut my teeth on the classic American games of the 80s, I felt right at home with Gubs right from the start. The wild and unpredictable gameplay is akin to Wiz War, Nuke War, or Munchkin (although I hesitate to compare Gubs to the often slow-moving and sometimes never-ending Munchkin games that I have had to suffer through).
To anyone who can chill the heck out and crack a smile, Gubs is a rocket ride of pure whimsical fun. The cards are simple and straightforward (once you figure out the Rings) and there is no need for endless chin-scratching. Strategies develop and decisions need to be made, but they don’t take up a lot of processing time. This keeps the game fast moving and fun – and that is the real key to this little gem. It’s fun. In fact, I haven’t played a game where the players have laughed out loud so much in a very long time. Even my temperamental son, who (from time to time) tends to get bent when things don’t go his way, has an easy time with the confrontational nature of Gubs. Why? Because the game moves so quickly that getting smashed doesn’t equate to a lot of downtime, and your fate can change just as quickly in your favor a turn or two later.
And one never need fear that the game will drag on and on because you are guaranteed to finish the game by the time you run through the deck.
One thing that really spoke to me about this game was that I could “feel” the homebrewed nature. It reminds me of a polished and playable version of what any of us geeks might have dreamed up in our youth but never made anything of. Gubs communicates a fresh and vibrant spirit that stands in stark contrast to the cold and mechanical nature of many modern Eurogames.
Leaning back and pontificating…
The curious few who take a moment to read my profile will see that I’m a huge fan of strategy games, and I’m also pretty competitive – but I understand that there is a place for lighter games, and so I have a lot of them in my collection. With that in mind, I must confess that there are few games that I want to play over and over as much as Gubs. It is strangely addictive and, with a minimum of effort, succeeds at drawing you into the miniature world of Toad Riders and Mushroom Cities.
Anyone who can’t handle the wild ride of a fairly random game need not bother with Gubs. If you don’t like games like Wiz War or Cosmic Encounter and prefer coldly deterministic games where the conclusion is foregone, then just walk away.
If, on the other hand, you appreciate a fast-paced and highly replayable card game that will keep you on the edge of your seat until the end, then Gubs is the game for you.
…and that’s my perspective.
- Last edited Wed Nov 14, 2007 11:19 pm (Total Number of Edits: 2)
- Posted Wed Nov 14, 2007 6:09 am
tim Tim TIm TIM TIMMY!!
Great reveiw, makes me want to get it, a lot of reviews say it is a game you want to play over and over , sounds great. I like a game that is under 30 minutes so I need this one for sure.
One Fat Pug wrote:
To anyone who can chill the heck out and crack a smile, Gubs is a rocket ride of pure whimsical fun.
My daughters and I enjoy this game. A great kids game, or a fun filler for grownups.
- Last edited Wed Sep 21, 2011 5:31 pm (Total Number of Edits: 3)
- Posted Wed Sep 21, 2011 5:30 pm