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Subject: 5 Topic, 5 Star, 5 Minute Review rss

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Cliff Roberts
United States
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This is my first official game review, but after receiving a generous offer for a free copy of the game in return for a review, it's certainly time to offer my two cents. I will do my best to adhere to my own standards (and the title of this review). Toward that end, I will skip on the lengthy detail of how to play, how I acquired the game, how I first became interested in it, and the rest of the storytelling. I happened across it, got a copy and played it. There, now let's just jump straight into the review.

Let's face it, the first thing you notice about most games is the quality of the components, and that is the case here as well. The cards are a VERY slick plastic (not essential, but cool and unique enough for non-gamers) which makes shuffling a breeze (literally) and stacking a pain (figuratively). The cards have a distinct and disturbing odor (yes, enough that everyone I've played with comments on it) which will automatically cause everyone to stick their nose directly onto the cards to get a full whiff (that may be disagreeable to you). The box needs better glue to hold it together and mine began separating rather quickly (nothing tape won't fix, but unfortunate). Altogether, nothing strong enough to deter me from purchasing or playing, but a few minor inconveniences that have to be intentionally overlooked for full enjoyment.
(3 stars for average components, minus half a star for the smelly cards and weak glue)

Okay, so you've got the box open, the smelly cards unwrapped, what's next? The rules of course! I've only played the "Classic" version since my gaming group is usually my wife or teens in our youth group. I did read through the "Advanced" version, but the amount of small details to remember seemed to weigh down a simple filler into something more convoluted and I wasn't interested in complicating what I hoped was a simple card game to teach some kids. The basic game is very easy to teach and is detailed with excellent explanations and pictures. The rules are very solid, well written, and with only the tiniest room left for questions and what-ifs.
(4 stars for simple rules and few questions)

You've opened the game, smelled the cards and read the rules. Now comes the gameplay. The game plays rather quickly and although everyone begins thinking (and verbalizing) "It's gonna take FOREVER to spell out 'Tic...Tic...Boom!', they quickly realize that letters aren't hard to come by and there isn't too much to remember. Because of those two factors, the game moves rather quickly, but I admit that I've only played with 2 and 3 players. More players could potentially slow the game down, but the playing field is reset often enough that there always seems to be something going on and nobody should be too bored. My wife's reaction with 2 players was, "Meh, it's another card game." My youth group's reaction with 3 playing was, "Cool, this is something different." So, overall I would say this is a fun diversion that wouldn't really ever become a mainstay, but it's lively enough for teens and different enough to keep them interested. Scalability may be an issue, but only further plays will confirm or dismiss this.
(3 solid stars, half a star for being "new" enough to keep kids entertained)

I'll admit, theme isn't a huge concern for me. I love it when it shines and don't really mind it when it's non-existent. It can significantly add to the gameplay of games like LOTR: TCG, but Loopin' Louie is loads of fun regardless of which "theme" version you have. That said, the theme here (superheroes) is completely invisible (maybe that's the game's secret super power). I just didn't see all...anywhere. There are pictures on the cards, but only one of them is immediately identifiable as superhero-themed. There are words like KABOOM! BAM! BOOM! (and my favorite, MA BOOK!, which isn't a word, just something I was able to spell with my cards one time) but these words are simply obscure references to comic book sound effects and don't really evoke any sort of super-powered feelings. Honestly, for the basic game, bomb squad techs trying to set off fake explosives would have been just as effective. I didn't really find myself looking for a theme until after I had played the game, then I was disappointed to see that it wasn't really there.
(1 star for the basic game's theme, 1 star for the added theme element that emerges a bit in the advanced version)

Okay, so when you're done, does anyone want to play again? My wife didn't, but the youth group did. Teens enjoyed the game enough to play 2-3 sessions at a time. That is a hit for me. But my main gaming partner, my wife, will probably never ask to play this again. That's a bummer for me. Still, I've got plenty of games I'll never bother asking her to humor me with (that's what the youth group is for). So, this probably falls in the "average" category for replayability. I would include it in a box full of games for a youth group game night, but wouldn't expect it to get requested every single week.
(3 solid stars, nothing exceptional)

OVERALL: (Yes, that's an accurate average of all 5 scores.)
It's a very solid 3 Stars for me. It's different enough to keep kids interested and to maintain a place in my collection. It's not a go-to game and it has its weaknesses (theme, components, potential scalability issues), but I'm happy to have a copy of it just to expand the options for quick filler card games. Teens love that kind of stuff.

Well, there you have it: 5 topics, 5 star ratings and all under 5 minutes (or so). Hope you enjoyed!
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