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Svarog's Den - Board Games

Fight the Man as a Cardrunner, Win Sly Mad Nuts, and Try to Beat an Enemy Anemone

by W. Eric Martin

CardRunners is a two-player co-operative game “of hand management, recipe fulfillment, and sticking it to the Man” from Travis D. Hill of Press Pot Games.

In the game, players are cyberpunks — one red, the other turquoise — who are trying to find the right combination of access codes to break into five buildings before the police arrive. Each building has a different three-symbol access code on each of its four sides.

On a turn, either you discard cards that match the symbols on the side of a building to break into it or (more frequently) you play a card underneath the central row of cards to fully or partially unlock them. Each card has a red half and turquoise half, and you can play only on your half. When you fully unlock a card, you claim it, then leave one of the “tool” cards in place, giving you a way to swap cards with the other player.

As you play through the deck, the system might crash, wiping out your unlocking progress. Once you cycle through the deck, the police are added, and if you can’t access five buildings — including the central one in the 3×3 grid — before the police arrive, you lose.

CardRunners is due out in September 2023, and Hill is currently taking pre-orders on his website.

• In 2015, Chris Handy of Perplext released a eight-pack of games — Pack O Game: Set 1 — that took up less space than most other games on the market. Each Pack O Game title consisted of exactly thirty cards measuring 3″ by 1″ with the rules fitting on a single sheet of paper.

He followed this set with eight more titles in Pack O Games: Set 2 in 2017, and six years later he’s bringing out Pack of Game: Set 3, with seven new titles and one updated reprint scheduled for release in December 2023, with pre-orders being available on the Perplext website. The eight games in Pack of Game: Set 3 are:

BOG, a two-player game in which you jump on flies to get more cards and on opposing frogs to get points.

FAR, in which 2-4 players lay down cards to build landscapes, scoring only for the largest type of each land that faces your side of the table.

IRK, a card-laying game in which you secretly bid for control of colors and

MAD, a trick-taking game for 3-4 players in which cards flip between negative and positive points, with players trying to be as close to zero as possible.

NUT, a reprint of a 2017 Kickstarter bonus title in which you collect colored nuts in sets, using squirrels as a multiplier.

SLY, in which you try to protect your hens from other players’ foxes while gobbling down their hens.

WIN, a reimplementation of Long Shot: The Dice Game, with players secretly betting on horses, then taking actions after each movement round to increase their odds of winning.

YET, a 2-3 player game in which twelve cards form the points of a clock and you move airships through time to collect time capsules that grow more valuable with each hour.

If nothing else, Daniel Newman‘s trick-taking game Enemy Anemone should win an award for its clever title.

Publisher New Mill Industries is taking pre-orders for this 2-6 player game of which it has produced five hundred copies. How it plays:

Choose one suit per player; each suit has ranks 1-10. Shuffle the deck, then deal ten cards to each player. Set the nine anemone cards within reach.

The start player plays one card face up in front of themselves. Each other player in clockwise order must play a card face up in front of themselves in a suit that has not yet been played into the trick. If a player cannot play a suit that has not been played, they discard a card from their hand to their score pile. The highest card played wins the trick and takes all cards played into their score pile. The lowest card played takes an anemone card, which can be added to a card in a future trick to increase that card’s value by 1 per anemone card played. If cards tie for the highest or lowest value, the later played card breaks the tie.

Once all cards have been played, players score 1 point per card taken, with the 3s, 5s, and 8s of each suit being worth an extra point. The player who has the lowest score at the end of the hand gains one anemone card.

The player with the highest score starts the next round. Play four rounds, then the player with the highest score wins! In case of a tie, the player with more anemones remaining wins.


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