We Didn't Playtest This at All: the short, fun game with the long name
I’ve highlighted games with easy-to-explain rules before, but this marks the first game that I can explain in the first paragraph of its review. The rules to We Didn’t Playtest This At All are simple: Get two cards to start and, on your turn, draw a card and play a card. Shoot, the game’s rules are almost shorter than the game’s title.
With rules that simple, it’s no surprise that the game takes one to 10 minutes to play. The goal of We Didn’t Playtest This At All is to win and you win the game by not losing (i.e. staying in the game as others get eliminated until you are the last player left). We already know the one rule of the game, but let’s take a look at a few of the things that can happen when you play cards in this silly, large-group game.
A number of cards force players to remember to do something on their turn in order not to be eliminated. You would think it would be easy to remember to say “Ahh, zombies” on your turn before you play your card, but it’s not. Like I have done, you might draw a card, read it, realize it will give you the win and then quick throw it down on the table without saying “Ahh, zombies,” meaning you don’t win, you lose.
Other cards offer players a choice and eliminate players based on their decisions. These are pretty much purely random in who they eliminate, since only the player playing the card knows which choices will be eliminated.
Most importantly, there are cards let you win the game. Some require that you be the last person of a certain type in the game (e.g. the shortest) and others require that you have certain cards in front of you. Most games, however, end because people are eliminated by making mistakes, not because someone played a “You Win” card.
WDPTAL is a funny game to play. I know that just reading the cards doesn’t make it seem that funny — writing this review feels like trying to explain a joke — but you’ll have to trust me that it is. It’s funny when someone makes a stupid mistake (like my “ahh, zombies” mistake), and it’s funny when someone tricks someone else into eliminating themselves (like when a “no pointing” rule was in effect, and I asked “Wait, where did you put that last card that you played?”).
The game is only good if you have enough people; it should be played with at least five. If you don’t often play with that many players, don’t buy it. Similarly, if this game sounds too random and strategy-less for you, don't buy it. This is the kind of game that you’ll play with a big group of people about three times in a night, have fun, and then save it until your next get-together to pull out again. With how fast games can go, sometimes with large groups we’ll play until a certain unlucky player actually gets a chance to take a turn. Other times, we'll use the game to kill time while waiting for food or a later person to arrive.
Other than the number of players required to play, the other downside of the game is its price. It’s only really available through its publisher, Asmadi games, and after shipping costs are involved, you’re paying around $14 for a deck of artless black and white cards that you’ll play for, maybe, 10 minutes each time you get together. Make no mistakes: you don't get a lot of playtime for your money, but you do get a lot of fun for your money. [Sidenote: while you're paying shipping anyhow, the chaos pack is worth your while: it adds a random rule to each hand and keeps things different].
This isn’t the sort of game where you’ll ever find yourself saying “Hey everyone, come on over and we’ll play We Didn’t Playtest This at All all night”, but it functions as a great segue game to bridge together two other activities with a quick, fun activity.
Mike Hulsebus reviews board and card games for AnnArbor.com and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Next week, he will compile his list of Best Gifts 2010 and write in the third person in the last sentence or two of his article.