Argle Bargle (Preview)
Would you be insulted if I told you that your hat was duller than a goat? Probably not, not unless you take your hats (or your goats) very seriously. Meet “Argle Bargle”, the insult generating card game where your goal is to sap the life from your opponents through the clever use of insults. This game will be campaigning on Kickstarter in January of 2017 should you wish to get in on the fun. Before we begin, I’d like to thank Game Creator Zeke Brill for providing me with a limited edition prototype for preview purposes. While my prototype looked fantastic, it’s important to stress that they aren’t usually representative of the final product.
My copy of “Argle Bargle” came with 200 cards, 30 chits/token pieces, and a nice polyester (?) bag all packaged in a wonderful little box signed by the developer. The cards have two words/phrases each, though only one can be used when a card is played. I have to say, the prototypes I receive are usually pretty shoddy looking and the art is almost always placeholder. This game however impressed me the second I laid eyes on it. Everything was packaged wonderfully and the components both looked and felt fantastic.
To set up the game, the deck is shuffled and each player receives a hand of ten cards. They also receive five chits/tokens which act as lives. When a player runs out of lives, they are eliminated from the game. How do you eliminate a player? By insulting them with your cards, of course! On a player’s turn, they’ll take a look at the cards they have and prepare an insult if they can. Remember, you can only use one of the two words/phrases on each card. Each word/phrase on a card will have separate point values, so pay attention to that as well as you’re forming your insult.
Once you have your insult ready, you’ll choose a player and tally the points on your cards. The defender will lose a life from their pool for every five points tallied. If the active player manages to get 15 or more points on the insult, they get to steal one of the defenders life points. Once lives are lost/stolen appropriately, the active player discards the cards played and draws back up to ten. If you can’t or don’t want to play an insult on your turn, you can discard any number of cards and draw back up to ten.
Play continues until there is only one person left standing. As a house rule (listed in the manual), when there are only two people remaining and one is eliminated, the person who just got eliminated can try one last insult to take the victor down with them. I didn’t cover all of the rules found in the manual, but those are the highlights. For example, there are some cards in the deck that offer special bonuses when played. Reversal, for example and as you might expect, reverses the effects of another special card or after an insult has been played on you. Similarly, Redirect sends damage to another player except here, it can’t be the one who originated it. Don’t want to see your insult redirected or reversed? Boom offers the protection you’re looking for.
My family has quite an odd sense of humor and to that end, “Argle Bargle” is a big hit in my house. It’s important to consider that insults can hurt feelings, so my advice would be to coach sensitive kids that what they’re playing is just a game. The insults in this game are pretty PG rated, so parents need not worry about inappropriate language and imagery. Think “Apples to Apples” or “Say Anything” but with a more in-your-face theme. You can be as silly as you want and honestly, it’s encouraged! Being silly is what makes family games so popular in my household, because how can you have fun without a little laughter?
To that end, I highly recommend giving “Argle Bargle” a look. It’ll be launching on Kickstarter in January 2017, so mark your calendars! A $25 pledge earns you one boxed copy of the game along with a limited edition booster pack, though you can opt to spend a measly $1 for print and play PDF version.