I've been wanting to play the Penny Arcade card game from Cryptozoic Entertainment for ages. At this year's San Diego Comic-Con I spent a great deal of time wandering past the Penny Arcade booth, holding the cards in my hand or casting longing glances from afar. Had Jerry and Mike noticed me there, they might have been assumed I was stalking them.
And I was. I also wanted to play the game, though, and since Playdek hasn't released an iOS PA Stalking simulator, we'll stick to the virtual card game they've just released, finally giving parental shut-ins like myself a chance to play.
That's what Playdek does, after all. They give folks like me, whose friends only exist on the internet and are defined incredibly loosely, a chance to enjoy all the wonder and strategy of deck-building card games. They did it with Fluxx. They did it with Ascension. Now they've done it with Penny Arcade the Game: Gamers Vs. Evil.
This game actually plays a lot like Ascension. Players take turns laying down cards that generate resources -- in this case power and tokens -- using them to purchase cards for their deck that enable them to gather more resources. When six stacks of cards have been depleted from the playing field, victory points are tallied and the player with the largest number wins.
Players can initiate PVP attacks on their opponents using certain cards. If these go unblocked, the targeted players gain a PAX Pox card, which lingers in their deck, subtracting from the total victory point tally unless removed. Players can also win by whittling down a pair of boss cards that grow more powerful the more damage done. Should one of these iconic Penny Arcade characters fall it's game over.
So it's Ascension with a little extra-added oomph, plastered over with Mike Krahulik's ever-evolving, always delightful and often demented art. It's good with extra good on top.
And while I can chance accidentally making real friends with one to three additional players online through asynchronous multiplayer, there's the ever-present cold comfort of the multi-difficulty AI to keep me safe.
Penny Arcade the Game: Gamers Vs. Evil ($5.49) [iTunes App Store]