Making Friends, Rescuing Robots

I really enjoy the hunt of finding good games in the Print & Play communities at the Board Game Geek forums and contests. I know their are other gaming locations, but BGG was my first, and remains my favourite.

When I have an urge to play something new but need to keep my spending to a minimum, I will hit the P&P games.

Card Capture was designed by Lucas Gentry as his submission to the 2018 Print & Play contest at BGG (Board Game Geek). It placed:

  • 1st in Best Traditional Card, Tarot, or Decktet Game,
  • 2nd in Best Easy-To-Build Game,
  • 3rd in Best Rule Book,
  • 3rd place in Best New Solitaire Designer,
  • 3rd in Best Puzzle/Abstract,
  • 3rd in Best Game with No Crafting Required, and
  • 11th in Best Overall Game.

My interest was piqued by the combination awards of “Best Traditional Card Game” and making it an easy build that looked like it would have good rules and a quick play. Perfect for a late night session.

The original game is all mechanic, which begs for a theme to be overlaid by the fan community. So far BGG’s were inspired to create a Robot theme, and a Making Friends theme.

Some of the cards from the Robot Rebellion re-theme of Card Capture.
Cover art from the Follow Me re-theme of Card Capture.

The game takes 20 minutes or less and can be played in a fairly small space with a regular deck of

This bidding deck-builders starts by laying our 4 cards at the top–this is the cards you are trying to capture (or, if robo-themed, robots you are trying to rescue, or friends themed, influencers you are trying to gain as followers.). In order to capture these cards you must pay out cards from your hand of equal or higher value, of the same suit. When cards are captured they go in your discard, later to be shuffled into your deck, which provides you better resources to capture higher cards later in the session.

The mechanics of the game remind me of the Agent Decker deck-builder by
Manuel Correia ,with a moving line of targets. Agent Deck was revamped and published as SUPERHOT: The Card Game by Board and Dice.

As usual, the first play-through was a wash as I discovered right after that I had missed some rule–in this case it was about moving the cards to the right when re-filling the line.

The 2nd play-through I got all the rules right but over-estimated the value of sacrificing cards and ending up running out of cards in my deck before the end of the game.

The 3rd time I didn’t over-sacrifice cards, but I wasn’t utilizing my discard options effectively.

Once I was able to understand the balance between discarding, sacrificing, and capturing, I won the 4th session. This is ideal for me. The win was not easy but was a natural progression through learning. The test now will be how well the game plays when I am already grasping the balancing act. If I continue to win too much, I will look at variations to make it more difficult (or hit the forums to see what others have already suggested.

Nowhere near winning. Great cards–wrong suit!
I won! Big Bad Ace will take that Lonely Little Eight, leaving my layout and supply empty.

If I keep playing this one, I’ll feel compelled to re-theme it. In the past I’ve done Friday into Batman, and Love Letter into both Marvel Heroes, and my family.

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