Sunday, August 2, 2009

Games in a Pack

Note: the bulk of this post is paraphrased from my post about the "Pirates" pack featured on "A Pack to be Named Later." I have added some thoughts and additional information for this blog. It's not exactly the same post! --David


Wiz Kids Games (an apparent subsidiary of Topps), provides many of the "game in a pack" fodder that one might encouter during a trip to one's favorite (or highly loathed, whichever) retailer.

These packs include everything needed for two people to play a game including punchout pieces which often require assembly by very nimble fingers, one or more dies, instructions, and other items that may or may not be needed for gameplay.

Some titles include: "Nascar Race Day," "Star Wars Pocket Model TCG," Pirates," and others. They also make the "Action Clix" games, but I have not bought any of those as of yet.

For the purposes of this post, as mentioned above, I will examining a pack of "Pirates" cards. I do have a "Nascar" pack that will appear at a later date on "A Pack to be Named Later" as well.


Each pack is a complete Pirates game (with two ships, a die, rules, etc). In order to really show these off, I scanned both sides of each playing card and then combined those into a "Side 1, Side 2" picture.

Each card is about the size of a regular/standard trading card, but is the thickness of a credit card. That's a good thing, because the assembly is a TINY feat, and anything thinner would tear like toilet paper.

First up, we have a "Firepot Specialist." The card comes with a punchout square 'special piece' and two punchout smoke-thingies:



Next, we have our first ship, Dark Fox, which bears something akin to an oldtime US Flag. Before you ask, YES, you have to punch out everything and assemble the ship. And, YES, after you punch out the pieces, they are TINY:



Here we have the booty: a series of coins (worth the amount printed on the back) plus a special coin to be used during gameplay (assuming you make it that far):



Next, is part two (because Blogger loads pictures in reverse order and I didn't realize this was #2 until writing this), of our second ship, Hangman's Joke. Why part TWO? Ah, you see, some ships are more complex and require two playing cards to complete. See? Aren't we having fun?



This is part one of the Hangman's Joke ship. The little brown wavy things are little flags that go on one of the masts. I assume they give you three because they know kids are going to lose these and come crying to their parents...



Assembling the ships not only requires you to punch them out of their cards, but to also be able to line up and insert tiny tabs into tiny slots (please reserve all crude comments for the tavern). Because these are pirate ships, they are also curved, making it that much more fun to assemble.

The little flags that hang off the back of each ship is very small, and will most likely be the first pieces lost after a few rounds of play.


Here is a special card, "Trogs." If you play this card, you get all the booty from a plundered ship. Very nice! I need to find some of these guys for a project I have around here...



And the last card in the pack is the island, because you can't have pirate treasure without an island to bury it on, right? Er, well, more accurately, to DIG IT UP from...



But, WAIT! There's more! In addition to the cards, each pack a set of "Quick Rules." These give you enough to play a scaled down game without concerning yourself with things like Trogs.

The Quick Rules provide a picture-based step-by-setp guide for assembling the ships and for playing a beginner's (or basic) game. It's pretty easy to follow.


Included in the pack is a mini-poster advertising the upcoming (back then) online PC game based on the cards (or vice versa, does it really matter?)...



We also have a copy of the Full Rules for the Complete Game. I was tempted to open this thing up and show it to you, but if you really want to know that badly, go buy a 99-cent pack at your local Target. This game can get seriously complicated. I'm not sure how many kids will stick around for a full game...

The full rules are much like reading a recipe in which you have an idea as to what you are making, but really, you've never heard the ingredients written out quite like this. A quick looksie, and this game is like "Axis and Allies" in a wax pack...


And here we have the die that comes with the game. I used the ubiquitous US Quarter for sizing reference. It is "Small... esS... emM... All... Small!"



There is also a foldout checklist, in case anyone in their state of insanity wanted to collect every piece of the game. What you see here is page 1 of 4, and it is the size of a baseball card.



And, in the name of integrity, or something, I punched out and assembled the game pieces. There was no good way to get a picture, so I set up a mock game with the instruction books serving as backdrop...

My sincerest condolances to any parent out there who had to endure putting these things together for their child. And if you bought these yourself, then you got what you deserved. In all honesty, though, the game DOES look kinda fun...

3 comments:

Mark's Ephemera said...

The game actually is fun. My son and I played it years ago and collected many of the early versions of the ships. Haven't done anything in many, many years.

If any of your readers do collect them / play with them, I'd be happy to trade them away.

--David said...

As it turns out, my daughter is WILDLY fascinated by the game, which surprises me greatly. So, we are going to learn to play. Ironically, I may be the one that offers to take those pieces you have off your hands.

jackplumstead said...

Well that is incredible, as I bought some of these here in the UK when I was rummaging around a discount bin. These was also a similar set called 'Rocketeer' that was set in space.I think I bought them because it said it contained a dice. I had to see that.