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Subject: A Thorough and Objective Review [Pimp: The Backhanding] rss

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Peter
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Carol Stream
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**Disclaimer** - I’m a serious game fan, but a casual board gamer. Examples and references below are based on my personal experiences and averages of the people I’ve played with. This review assumes you have familiarized yourself with the publicly available information about the game. (i.e. Advertised game descriptions, BGG game information entry, Possible publicly available rules, etc.) If you’re concerned about spoilers do not read this review. I try to limit details in my reviews, but some things have to be mentioned to give readers an idea of what is being discussed.

GAME:Pimp: The Backhanding

Components:

Design QualityThere isn’t much to this game. It’s a deck of cards, 100 to be exact, with rules. That said, the overall quality is rather good. Aside from a few durability issues which will be mentioned below, the game materials are of an average quality.

The art is a comical cartoonish type but is really well done. The images are clear and have a decent level of detail to them. The card layout is nice, though there is a few coloring issues with print on some of the cards. The backs of the cards are color coded for the different decks which makes sorting after a game much easier.

The box which the game comes in is close to being great, but falls just short. It is designed to look like a pack of cigarettes with a few quips on the outside. A problem I’ve noticed is the cover does not want to stay closed. For fastidious people this might be an issue, otherwise use a rubber felt covered hair hand or Amazing Tape to keep it closed.

Last point of note; the game requires a six sided die, d6, but does not include one. Of course, that shouldn’t be too much of a stretch for any geek.

DurabilityFor a White Wolf game I was expecting a little more here. The cards look great but are thinner than your typical collectable card game, CCG, type card. Also the coating for the cards doesn’t seem to be as high quality as your average CCG cards. The thinner cards tend to bend easy and the edges wear out faster than normally expected with a card game.

The images on the cards can rub off after several games of normal use. No, not meaning sticky soda and Cheetos covered hands but with just standard play. This coupled with the $15.00US MSRP price point, can leave one disappointed. Some players may want to get their cards into protective sleeves right away. If you choose to sleeve your cards, you should be aware they won’t fit into the original box afterwards.

FunctionalityAs mentioned the cards are laid out nicely. There is a coloring issue in which some cards have some small black printing on them. Cards with dark colored backgrounds can be difficult to read for some without glasses or perfect lighting. Otherwise most information needed is on the card. As with many card games these cards have special abilities. Not all the special abilities are spelled out in the rule book, and sometimes you can run into situations which abilities don’t seem to work clearly with each other. Regardless, the game is simple and the intention of the ability is usually pretty intuitive.

The biggest functionality issue I’ve run into is card placement while playing. As cards are placed down by players, confusion may set in and people can forget which cards belonged to whom. I’ve found the easiest solution is to make sure you have enough room to place the Ho cards diagonally across the middle of the table. Make sure the corners of each Ho card point at each other. Players then place their Pimp cards next to each Ho card and keep the Pimp card oriented so it’s obvious who it belongs to.

Finally most cards which modify a Pimp or Ho have the relative bonuses on the bottom portion of the card. This allows modifier cards to be placed under the modified card with just the bonus showing saving on space.


Rules:

Brain BurnThe rules fill two sides of a single folded up sheet. The colorful use of thematic language to describe game play is entertaining and makes reading them aloud a tad less painless. Understanding the rules is child’s play, figuratively as I wouldn’t recommend this game for kids. If you ever find yourself going “huh?” while reading the rules, just play a game and I assure you you’ll have an “a hah” moment.

As far as concentration during the game, you needn’t worry. The game is light enough to allow you to let your mind wander while playing.

InterpretationThe rules are very clear with only a few exceptions. Some special abilities and rules combinations will end up being vague or confusing. But I found this to be very minor as the intention is usually pretty obvious and simply needs to be followed, or a quick house rule clears things up.

An example is; Card X causes a player to loose a contest immediately and can only be countered by Card Y. Yet Card A says after losing a contest you may force the contestants to re-roll. It can be argued that Card X disallows Card A from being played, but it also seems Card A is played after the contest is resolved, and therefore Card X should no longer be a factor.

The rules don’t specify the solution but it can be house ruled either way, just pick the answer you like and stick with it.

RetentionThe game has enough phases and steps in each phase that you’ll find yourself spending a few minutes refreshing the exact order before you sit down to play. This can be done in the few minutes it takes to set up the game and you should be good the rest of the night. Otherwise the overall game play is simple enough you should have no problem recalling the general rules.

Implementation:

Set UpIt’s a deck of cards. Ok so three decks actually. But even so, shuffle, deal and hand out the die. The game can be set up by one person in less than 5 minutes.

Turn TimeTurn time is almost simultaneous. Choosing your action is fairly easy and people tend to anticipate what they want to do. Game flow will not be a problem, allowing people the opportunity to play phase specific cards will be the challenge. Often the game moves so fast players will miss, or forget, to play a card that can only be played during a specific phase.

The game is a bit slower with new players, but after two games everyone can be considered a veteran. With experienced players games can be finished in as little as ten minutes, but on average look to spend 15 to 30 minutes per game.

RoadblocksNot too many things to cause the game to come to a halt. Rules referencing tends to be very rare. The choices a player has are pretty simple so analysis paralysis shouldn’t be a factor.

Be courteous as to where you play the game. In public venues players can get vocal and a bit boisterous. The topic and language used may be offensive to bystanders.

Theme:

Design DepthThe theme is tied to everything in this game. The cards, rules and mechanics are all designed to characterize being a prostitution provocateur in a satirical manner. The pictures, language and implications are all an edgy rated R.

Thematic ElementsThe rules begin by helping set the mood and bring the reader into character for the game. The pictures do a lot to bring home the theme. Giving a player images which, though not X rated, leave little vague when getting the point across. The game is on par with movies like “I’m Gonna Get You Sucka” and “Bachelor Party”.

This is a game which is helped immensely by player input. A group of players who are talented at trash talking can cause the game to be a regular laugh fest. Playing the game in a library does detract from the fun level significantly. Even so, I find players tend to slow down after two games and a session which includes 3 or more games back to back can easily result in burnout.

QuirksDid I mention you should check out this game closely before deciding if you want your kids to be exposed to it? The reality is many kids are probably already exposed to more explicit material than this game but, nevertheless, I’ll caution potential buyers.

People who find the objectification of women, homosexuality, prostitution, drugs or ethnic generalization offensive could very well be offended by this game. The game is meant to be taken in the same light as the movie “Blazing Saddles”, but be prepared incase someone sensitive to the content gets upset by what they see on the cards.

Immersion:

Down TimeThe biggest down time is bathroom / snack breaks. Otherwise this game flows pretty quickly. In reality the game is short enough, people will generally wait until the games ends to take breaks.

Time WarpThe game is very fast and, in my case, does not lend to being replayed more than one or two times in a single sitting. Therefore I have not experienced a game when I lost track of time. As for a light filler game this can fulfill that role very well.

Where Am I?Again the theme is comical by nature so becoming immersed is not in its design. This game is probably the opposite. It requires so little concentration you can easily be thinking about other things while playing.

Summary:

Overall I find the game enjoyable and like to play it as a quick light distraction every once in a while. Price point is average for a game of this type, but due to the durability issue with the cards, you may want to bargain hunt for the game. At the time of this review copies could still be obtained for about $10.00US. The game is simple to learn and game play lends to a fast game. I find this game is great to bring along to a bachelor party, or to the bar with a couple of friends.

Being honest, if you are looking for a ‘best of’ to add to your collection? You’ll probably want to take a pass on this game. Are you on the fence, or trying to convince yourself? Take a pass. On the other hand, if you’re the best trash talker in town and you love a good raunchy game of player conflict. This is probably just the ticket for you.

Thank you for reading my review. It makes the effort worthwhile.
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Andrew Kluck
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Hudson
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Thank you for the review, I was trying to convince myself. I'll take your advice and pass.
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