Catalyst Games does not do card games.
The publisher is better known for BattleTech, its miniatures/boardgame of armoured combat in the 31st Century, and ShadowRun, its RPG of magic, mayhem, intrigue, and wireless technology in the late 21st Century. Incidentally, both of these Intellectual Properties reached their 25th and 20th anniversaries respectively in 2009. Well, as of 2009, Catalyst Games do do – and that “do do” was a clue about the subject matter for card game being reviewed here – card games and they are being designed by people behind CthulhuTech, the RPG that combines the works of H.P. Lovecraft with Japanese robot anime. They must be taking time off from the tentacles. The card game in question is Poo the Card Game, in which you get to fling it and take it like a monkey.
Designed for two to eight players, aged eight and up, Poo the Card Game can be played in five to fifteen minutes, but does not come complete. Up to fifteen tokens are required per player to represent the amount of poo that sticks to their fur, because in this game, everyone plays a monkey who has had a very bad day, and the only thing to do at the end of a very bad day in the monkey cage, is chuck the ca-ca at each other. The players will take it in turn to toss stool samples at each other, defend themselves against incoming droppings, and to try and keep their fur from getting all matted and stinky. This is a knockout game. As soon as a monkey finds that too much has stuck to his fur, he retires in shame. The least shame faced monkey with the cleanest fur is the winner.
The game comes with a deck of full colour cards and a full colour rules sheet. It takes about two minutes to read and digest this rules sheet. As to what you do with the rules sheet once it has been digested, I can only say that you are on your own there, Monkey Boy.
The cards come in four types: Poo cards, Special Poo cards, Clean cards, and Event cards. The cards are all done on a heavy, glossy stock and each is illustrated with a brightly done cartoon that depicts a monkey in action and something else going on in the monkey cage. Rest assured that no poo is depicted upon any one of the cards. So the game can be played with children and it will remain good “clean” fun except for the fact that the kids will be sniggering throughout because they are playing a game about poo. Equally it can be played by adults and while they too can snigger away, there is nothing to stop them dishing out some turd talk around the table.
On his turn a player can play just the one card. Either a Poo or Special Poo card to spatter his fellow simians or a Clean card to remove Poo from his fur. Out of his turn, a player can play a Defense card to block or dodge incoming Poo, or a Mishap card to interrupt another player’s attempt to fling Poo. As soon as a player has played a card, he can immediately refresh his hand back up to a total of five.
A sample turn might go like this. There are five players, who have played and received a certain amount of Poo so far: Chris (seven), Jo (ten), Louise (four), Pookie (nine), and Tree (five). Pookie goes first, and plays “Sharing the Love” which cleans two Poo from his fur and gives it to Jo, so the soiled standings are Chris (seven), Jo (twelve), Louise (four), Pookie (seven), and Tree (five). On Tree’s turn she plays “Chim-Chim Poo” and targets Pookie with two Poo, but he uses a Block card to stop it landing on his fur. There are no changes in the amount of Poo on anyone’s fur. Chris uses “Bonzo Poo” to fling three Poo at Jo, but she responds with “Buddy’s Face” and pushes Pookie in the way, so he gets three Poo on his fur! The soiled standings change to Chris (seven), Jo (twelve), Louise (four), Pookie (ten), and Tree (five). Then Jo dishes out the “Devil Poo” and everyone has to take three Poo unless they can block it. No one has any Defence cards to, but Tree plays the “Cramp” Mishap card in response. It does not stop the Poo from flying, but it forces Jo to miss her next turn. The soiled standings change to Chris (ten), Jo (twelve), Louise (seven), Pookie (thirteen), and Tree (eight). Louise dishes out some “Bonzo Poo” on Pookie matting his fur with three more Poo, which takes his total to fifteen and more, so knocking him out of the game. Shame faced and angry, Pookie has one last chattering laugh and plays “Blaze of Glory,” which lets him play all of the Poo and Special Poo cards in his hand as revenge. With the first, “Mighty Joe Young Poo,” he throws four Poo at Louise and one Poo at Jo with “Pellet Poo.” The final soiled standings at the end of the round are Chris (ten), Jo (thirteen), Louise (eleven), Pookie (out of the game), and Tree (eight).
There is a fifth type of card, the “Golden Banana.” This remains out of play until the first player is knocked out of the game. He can grab the “Golden Banana” and use it return to the game with eight Poo. The second “Golden Banana” is used to bring the second player to be knocked out of the game back into play, but only if there are five or more players.
Poo the Card Game is best played at speed and with more players the better. It is a knock out and a “take that” style game, which some players will find not to their taste. This should not be seen as a downside though, as Poo the Card Game really is fun to play and both elements are integral to the game. If there is an actual downside to the game, it is that once you get down to just two players, attempting to hurl enough Poo at your opponent for it to stick and so shame face him out of the game, seems to take a lot longer than it should. Which can leave the other players waiting around for a while...
A lght and easy filler, Poo the Card Game is fast paced, clean fun, and all that despite the Poo, but it does have monkeys and everything is better with monkeys.