Take That, you cur!!
I liked Slugfest Games earlier martial arts fighting game KUNG FU FIGHTING, which mixed a simple person to person combat game with a very heavy layer of theme (namely 1970s Hong Kong action films). The result was humorous, easy to play and easy to teach.
EN GARDE! by the same company, was an obvious must-have in the wake of Kung Fu Fighting. The game is set in a sort of mythical 17th century France? England? well, just “the Musketeer and Pirate days”, I guess. The game has a heavy layer of theme, as well.. this time the “swashbuckler era” from Scaramouche and the Three Musketeers. I like this sort thing, so when I saw it the night of our Halloween Zombie-fest game, I picked it up, no questions asked.
I’ve had opportunity to play it with my kids (and particularly Garrett, 7 years old) a few times. The game bears a STRONG similarity to Kung Fu fighting, a fact that was obvious from the packaging and promotions. Again, this is a selling point for me. The personal status card is almost identical to KUNG FU FIGHTING:
This time, it’s “Poise” instead of “Chi” that you are counting down with little glass beads.
Unlike the earlier game, the mechanics of En Garde! strongly emphasize the move->countermove->countercountermove sequence of card play, in a fashion not unlike the DOWN IN FLAMES aircraft dogfighing sequence. Here’s a less complicated exchange where riposte is played on top of counterattack played on top of a thrust.
It’s not QUITE the be all and end all of a fencing “simulation” but it has the right look and feel.
The card art is fairly cartoony and well done, but the humor and inside jokes that were all over Kung Fu Fighting are not in evidence here. I guess there are fewer recognizable movies to steal dialogue from…
One thing I did like is that the deck has many period items in it, such as main-gauche, bucklers, etc. Fencing was far more ad-hoc and improvised during this period and this adds to the thematic flavor of the game tremendously. I think I have a buckler on here.
Garrett’s played me a few times now and he really likes the game, and has managed to slay his old man (cause me to lose all my “poise”) a couple of times now. I’d give this game a B+ to Kung Fu Fighting’s more solid A, but En Garde! is still a good time and a fun, simple game to play.