The Girl and the Robot: The Card Game (2019) first impression
Designer : Salim Larochelle Artist : Ayaka Nakamura Published:
Flying Carpets Games
2 - 4 player
language dependant : a little
Written by Guilou
to the kickstarter
The game The Girl and the Robot is currently in the prototype state (although very close to the final version), I offer here a first impression and not a finished review. This seems to me an honest way for you and the publisher.
It all started in 2013 with a successfulKickstarter campaign for the video game The Girl and The Robot. It took three years of development to see the light of day on PC and consoles. A video game based on the puzzle / exploration game that immerses you in a universe that recalls some tales.
The Girl and The Robot follows the adventures of a little girl released from prison by an old man. She then tries to escape and in the process, bind a medallion to a Robot, who will become her bodyguard. This is the beginning of the video game. Of course, in the card game, you learn more about the story.
The little girl is actually the princess of the kingdom (of an unknown name) and the daughter of the king. The king was a good person and concerned about his subjects. Along with his wife, he allowed his people to flourish and be happy. Unfortunately, one day, a strange illness seized the queen. This queens health would deteriorate little by little. Desperate, the king finally accepted a pact with a demonic presence to save the soul of the queen. Once the pact was sealed, the kingdom fell into a strange silence. Several years later, a rumor spread that the kingdom fell into the hands of a demonic queen and an army of robots. In this kingdom, living out of sight, locked in a prison, the princess grows up. One day, the doors that were closed, open. The little girl then undertakes an adventure in order to escape from this cursed kingdom. But the demonic queen does not want her to escape. She will then do everything to recover the little girl (the why is not explained). During her escape, she will make friends with a robot who, strangely, does not obey the Queen's orders. Both will then oppose demonic hordes to regain their freedoms.
As you can see, the universe is not necessarily original and takes a lot of things in what is known. This does not prevent you from enjoying it and it has the merit of existing. Especially that it must be admitted, the presence of the theme is not necessarily the highlight of the game (I'll come back to that).
At the time of writing, the game is currently being running on Kickstarter. It has just reached his funding. A French version is potentially under way too. The volume in terms of text is quite limited. The Girl and the Robot is a little card game drawn from the video game. The game created bySalim Larochelleand illustrated byAyaka Nakamura, is published byFlying Carpets Games.
Depending on the number of players, the game play is slightly different. The two-player mode is a face-to-face clash. At four, it can play in a team of two, head to head. There is also the possibility of playing three, with two against one.
The game system is quite simple. Each player starts by choosing a character. For the two-player mode, the demonic queen will be opposed to the little girl. With three players, this will be the girl with the robot facing the queen. Four players, the girl and her sidekick will be opposed to the queen and a robot of her army. Each player then receives a basic sword card. Everyone starts with a weapon. You then receives a hand of cards and go.
Cards are divided into three categories: actions, objects and abilities. There is a fourth kind of card, the demons, which are not going to be directly used by the players but which will correspond to the permanent threat of the end of the game and thegame over. When your turn comes, you can play as many cards as you want.
Actions are, “one shots”that once used join the discard pile. Actions allow you to anticipate threats, better prepare, avoid drawing cards, recover used cards, go after your opponent directly, help your teammate (in team mode).
The objects will be positioned (face up or not) in front of you. They will serve you to defend against the demons. The objects remain in front of you until they are used, unless another player steals them. These cards are among the most important. Having several guarantees you a lot of advantages against your opponents.
Each character has their own abilities. To activate these abilities, players must use the enabled cards. These cards correspond to numbers: from 1 to 3. Each capacity requires a different cost that must be paid by discarding the correct number (whether in one or more cards). A used capacity at the right time can save your life. It is also true that some are more interesting than others. Unused bonus points are lost at the end of a turn.
In turn, you can play any number of cards and in any combination. Collecting new cards is not a simple thing and can be double-edged. So be careful not to reveal too much at once. At the end of a turn, the active player draws the first card from the deck. If it is not a demon, they keep the card and play continues with the next player. If it's a demon, then there are two possibilities. If the player has a weapon in front of them, they sacrifice it to repel the demon. The demon card is then put back into thedeck,face-up at any position desired by the victim player. If they have no weapons, they are then possessed and the game ends. The player or team that falls victim of the demon, loses the game.
A reading rules, I will not hide that I thought that this was a duplicate ofExploding Kittens. Everything is there or almost. The use of the Russian roulette system, the “take that”, the cards that can protect you ... But are they the same game?
With two players, the two games are relatively close and the sensations are very similar. The durations of games are very variable. It can be played in less than 10 minutes, but it can last around 30 minutes. This time is explained by the speed or not the appearance of demons, the presence of weapons. Because yes, the luck of the draw plays a key role in the game. The strategic side is often put forward. However, with two players, it is the luck factor that occupies an omnipresent place. Basically, if you have the right cards you win. But it's quite inherent to games that use the Russian roulette system. It can easily appear to have a sense of injustice in the face of repeated bad luck. One can also end up just drawing, without playing anything and waiting for the announced death of the other. Even if it is playable at two, this mode is clearly not what gives the charm of the game
The four-player mode is the more interesting version of the game. Players do not play in their corner, but must consult, act together and help each other against the opposing team. The tension is not the same. The possibilities are a little more important and fun is here. Notably because the game may have time to build up. Of course, this is the same game. The importance of luck is always there, but it is lessened by the distribution of the bad luck side. Being able to help each other allows for good combinations. Turns can last a little longer. As a team, the game has a different interest and can keep you indulge a little longer.
The theme is, for its part, is abundantly absent. You end up just playing your cards while trying to escape the card that will end the game for you. Besides, why would demons want the queen to lose? Has not she succumbed to their powers? Yes, I may be pushing the interpretation too far. But when you try to embed a game of this type with a theme that potentially holds the road (without being original), why not stick to it? Moreover if we push the thing even more. What is the relationship between demons and robots? Is it a metaphor that technology is evil? A priori, the video game does not answer these questions either (or no one has looked at them). In short, I’m go astray.
Graphically, the game has a real charm. The cards are clean. The illustrations, while being cartoonie, offer a very pretty pastel tone. The whole thing is trying to plunge you into this magical world and would get there if thegameplayfollowed. For her first work on a game,Ayaka Nakamuramakes you want to follow her future visual productions. In terms of quality, cards are good quality and pleasant to handle. The rules are pretty well presented but not always very clear.
The big highlight of the game and on it, they did not lie to us, is the ease of learning. The game is explained in a very short time. The understanding of how to play is also very fast. From the first part, you know what to do and pray that you do not fall on demons while trying to take on others.
The girl and the Robot is a party game that does not revolutionize the genre. Fans of fast games, Russian roulette and team games can find themselves comfortable here. However, we are clearly in fast play. Quick to learn, quick to play, and unfortunately fast to forget. Replayability is more at the level of the players than at the level of the gameplay. It's a shame. Yet the game has a certain charm, a special atmosphere that could have been put forward. Its average price can be an asset to convince players to help the girl (without a name?) to repel the demonic forces.
If you are convinced by the potential of the game, you can already pre-order the game on Kickstarter (the French version seems to depend on the success of the campaign) or wait for its availability in store in the future.