I owe a lot to Kickstarter for the success of Psi-punk, and I think the platform is a great way for other new independant publishers to get a chance to put their new and unique games in front of the entire world. Sometimes those games just need a bit of exposure, which is why you’ll find plenty of Kickstarter mentions and previews here on the site.
Today’s preview is for a card game by Monkey Finger Games called “The Award Goes To” This game is a blind betting game that lampoons Hollywood, movies, and actors. It’s also great for bolstering basic math skills for kids, and that’s something I really like to see.
So what is it about, and why is it so kid-friendly?
In “The Award Goes To,” players take on the roll of Hollywood producers who are just trying to make the best movies they can. And win awards. And rub it in. It’s a fun concept that rewards being over-the-top with the way you interact with the game and with each other, which should make for some fun times.
Each round represents the production of a new movie. One Title and one Scene card are drawn from their respective decks and placed face up in the center of the table for all to see. Then each player places 3 of the 5 Actor cards from their hands face down in front of them. After everyone has cast their actors in secret, the cards are revealed and the Star Power points are tallied. The player with the most Star Power for this movie wins the award. Everyone draws back up to 5 Actors and a new round can begin.
It’s a simple concept, but one that involves a bit of luck and some strategy. Each Actor has several talents that make them well-suited to a given type of movie. If the actor’s specialty matches the Scene card, you earn double their Star Power number in points. If all of your actors fulfill the genre requirements for the Title card, you get a 10 point bonus. The trick is to match the actors in your hand with both the Title card and the Scene card to maximize your point total.
This is why the game is good for kids. The amount of Star Power on each card is fairly low, from 1 to 5, so doubling the number is simple but makes a person flex their math muscles just a little bit. With enough practice your little ones will have their multiples of 2 memorized in no time.
The art is also very kid-friendly. It’s whimsical and lighthearted, which is perfect for a game about Hollywood politics.
I recommend taking a look at the Kickstarter and pledging if you’re a fan of betting card games, strategic point calculation games, games for kids, or independent games in general. There are only two weeks left in the Kickstarter, so let’s help make it a success!
Disclosure: I received a print-and-play copy of this game from its designer.
This wouldn’t be a proper board/card game preview without mention of the game’s accessibility and design features. Here’s a quick overview:
In-Game Text: There is limited in-game text. Most of it has to do with name of the Title, Scene, or Actor you’re working with. The game’s most important information, such as Star Power and the actor’s suitability for a given role are depicted by numbers and images, respectively.
The numbers on the top-right of an Actor card are large, placed in their own space (i.e. on a white background, not on top of an image) and easy to read. I absolutely love how simple it is to read the numbers even with low vision.
The text on the cards is similarly treated; white background, easy-to-read. The font used is a script that I personally find challenging to read due to a visual impairment, but I do like how it has a nice, high contrast and isn’t blended into a background. Points for that.
The icons on the Actor cards match up to those on the Title and Scene cards. It’s easy to compare without needing to read any text, but because this is a blind bidding game it’s not okay for blind users to ask for assistance with reading their cards. That’s a common feature of blind bidding games, but a user can modify the card face to add tactile features to the card that won’t give away its meaning when viewed from the back (face down).
Color Dependency: Each Actor card has a colored border that represents a genre of movie they are best with. Those with color blindness may find it difficult to match these colors. Again, it may be possible to add some slight modifications to make the card usable without impacting gameplay.
Fine Manipulation: Like any card game, users with fine motor skill issues may have trouble grasping the cards. I recommend using card holders or Scrabble stands to help. Users have a hand limit of 5 and it never gets any larger, so it should be relatively simple to maintain a hand of cards in this manner.