As an avid CCG (Editor's note for non-geeks out there: That stands for "collectible card game") player, I've played a lot of card games over my lifetime. I have boxes upon boxes of Magic: The Gathering, Jyhad, Star Wars, Star Trek, Pokemon, Harry Potter, Monty Python, Netrunner (my personal favorite of all time), Overpower, VS System (both DC and Marvel), Spellfire, X-Files... Yowzers! I never realized how many card games I've played over the years! But I digress...
These days, I don't play as many CCGs as I used to. Now it's mostly Magic: The Gathering, Munchkin and Chez Geek. Since I'm such a sucker for geek humor, when given the chance to play Geek Fight from Diving Dragon Games, I jumped at the chance.
Geek Fight is in the same vein as the aforementioned Munchkin and Chez Geek in that the premise of the game is geeks fighting. Er...duh! Sounds funny. But the question is... is it fun?
Upon opening the packs, the first thing I noticed is how great the cards looked. They are business card sized and printed on glossy thick paper. They looked much more durable than a lot of cards that I'm used to. The design of the cards themselves looks good and the artwork is all over the board with everything from a poop covered cartoon pickle to paintings more in line with other fantasy CCGs. I think this seeming lack of unifying art theme would've hurt any other game but the idea behind Geek Fight is unique so the diversity in art helps to convey all the different types of geeks being portrayed (there are card players, comic geeks, movie geeks, video game geeks, cosplayers and more).
But looking good isn't the key component of a game so I called a few friends over and we played a few hands. The initial release of Geek Fight is made up of 6 preset 7-card packs (Do the math folks. That adds up to 42 cards. Yet another geek joke.) The idea of preset cards allows for less of the "who's got the better card" scenarios and that is a good thing. I always hated playing CCGs with the kid who had more money to spend on games than I did (Because I was spending my cash on comic books, movies and video games too. Hey! A geek's gotta be well rounded!) and always had the best cards.
We began by playing with just the first set. Our initial view was that the rules were overly complicated but, upon a few more re-reads (and an eventual e-mail to the game's designer), I came to the conclusion that the rules aren't really that complicated. They're just badly written. (My advice to the game's designers: Stop trying to be funny and hip in the rulebook. Just layout the rules in a simple format and provide at least one gameplay example for each rule.) Once we got the rules confusion out of the way, the game itself was pretty fun. The basic idea is that each player has a combatant card on the table that battles a combatant card from the opposing player. When a combatant is defeated, the player tosses down a new one. If he has no more combatant cards in his hand, it's game over. These combatant cards are supported by different types of geek gear and tactics cards (think enchantments and spells if you're a Magic player). To it's credit, we laughed a lot while playing and had a good bit of fun. However, once we'd seen most of the cards and got our chuckles out of the way on the first few hands, we noticed that the game always seemed to devolve into a "I attack you. Okay. It's your turn now." sort of play that grew boring very fast.
Then we pulled out the 2nd series box titled "The Final Battle". This box was made up of 2 20-card preset decks. What will be cool to internet geeks here is that the titular "final battle" is a showdown between the Angry Video Game Nerd and the Nostalgia Critic. As you'd expect, the geek combatants on these cards are characters that fans of these sites and shows will instantly recognize. The AVGN has demonic video game cartridges and Super Mecha Death Christ 2000 B.C. 4.0 Beta, while the Nostalgic Critic has Chester A. Bum and That Guy with the Glasses.
Being a AVGN fan, I immediately chose my side and we began play. It seems that that the game's designers took some of the feedback (I noticed quite a few people on their site's forums giving similar thoughts on the "I attack. Your turn." gameplay.) on their first set as constructive criticism and the 2nd series is much better balanced and well rounded. You're able to strategize more and the game is more enjoyable as a result. It's still not as in-depth as some of the other CCGs on the market but, with the added strategy of Series 2, it's no longer the most simple either. And for only $1 a pack for the first series or $7 for the complete set of Series 2 cards, it's a game that any collector and any fan of other geek CCGs will want to get.
One last thing of note is that this is the first CCG I've seen that is ad supported (which is how they can give you a full set for so cheap). Each card has a small ad on it, usually relating to something geeky like other games, gaming supplies like dice and bags, fantasy/sci-fi novels and other stuff geeks may find interesting. This is rather cool idea. Both from the standpoint of a player who can get games with less money and because they also advertise things that I might not have heard of otherwise. I'm wondering why no one else has thought of this before and I honestly wouldn't be surprised if we see more ad-supported CCGs coming down the pike.
Bottom line: Geek Fight is a decent game with great art, fun geek-related humor, very durable cards and a confusingly written set of rules.
You can find out more about Geek Fight and get your very own copy the Diving Dragon Games website.