Spammers: Oh God Do You Have Mail!

Pros: Hilarious and fun
Cons: Mostly useful to 3-4 people; minor production value niggles; price a little high
Rating: 4 out of 5

First published 8/21/2001
Previously published on RPGNet

Spammers is a card game. No, not a collectible card game, in which you can attempt to assure your victory by spending more and more money (hmm, I think I’m showing my bias here), just a card game. In it, you set up “scams” and spam “lists” in an attempt to rack up points faster than your opponents. (Uh, no, you aren’t really spamming people. Like I said, it’s a card game.)

Spammers claims to be appropriate for 2-6 players, ages 13 and up. As play continues, you “gruntle” the lists, making them less and less useful with each mailing. There are, of course, plenty of “special effects” with which you can affect your score (or try to screw over your neighbor).

Fun and Games

Spammers has a lot of personality. You’ll spend your first game just laughing as you turn over each new card. We took down quotes when we had our pizza & Spammers party, and ended up with pages and pages of them. (“I want you to know that this isn’t part of any strategy. I’m just bitter over those first two mailing lists.”) As a game to haul out at a party, it’s certainly entertaining.

The Rules

The rules could have been better laid-out. There were far too many times when we needed to look for something and had to look through most of the rules for it because it wasn’t obvious where it would be. Better organization and layout would have been useful, and might have made the four pages of rules seem less complex.

Number of People

I think this game is best played with three or four people. A two-person game is a lot of fun, but there are a handful of things you just can’t do with only two people. When we played with five people, our game went on forever. I mean that literally. We ended after five and a half hours only because someone got so tired of playing that they helped someone else to win.

You see, once you reach the number of points required to win (12 on one scam, or 20 spread across more than one), your fellow players have an entire round in which to bring you back down below that score. This can be a problem, since there are a number of cards which can reduce an opponent’s score by one or two points, and not many which will raise your own by more than one or two. So every time someone reached the winning score, everybody just brought them back down again. No one ever got the right one or two cards under the right circumstances to beat those odds.

Because of this, we didn’t dare try a six-person game. Three and four, however, both went beautifully. There were enough people to make strategy an issue, but the games still went fairly quickly. They weren’t over in twenty minutes, but then we didn’t want them to be. The game was too much fun.

Production Value, or, Niggling

I have very minor gripes with the production value. The gruntles are hard to see, and thus hard to remember. The pictures on the lists are all the same picture…that is, varying portions of the same picture depending on how big the list is. This is funny at first but gets boring quickly. The colors on the mailing cards are nice, and the pictures on the scams are pretty funny.

Overall

I think the price is a little high, but it’s certainly a lot of fun. Everyone should play it at least once. Or twice. Or three times… Just buy one copy for a group of people, since you’ll probably want to wait until you have three or four people together to play it anyway.

Since I can’t help myself, here are a few of the more amusing quotes that came out of this game. Feel free to stop reading here:

“Oh, I would love to gruntle you!”

“Of course, you realize that now I can’t put lips on the Citizens for Decency on Our Net.”

“That’ll take care of the high-pitched womanly scream for the evening.”

“You gruntled my battleship!”

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