Product– Oddball Aeronauts
Producer-Maverick Muse Ltd.
Set-up/Play/Clean-up– 10 minutes (2 players)
TL; DR– A simple two player Munchkin. 78%
Basics-Hard to starboard for an airship battle! In Oddball Aeronauts, each player takes the role of one of two airship captains trying to destroy the others ship. Each player starts with a deck of cards that is specifically created for each ship. There are two types of cards in the deck: events and characters. Events are one time occurrences that will randomly change the flow of the game as they are drawn to the top of the deck. Characters have two major sections to them: statistics and tricks. The statistics are broken down into three distinct areas: sailing, guns, and boards with a major skill number and a skill bonus (more on this in a bit). The trick on each character is another ability the card might be able to add to a fight. Players set up after shuffling their decks by taking three cards and placing them face-down in their hands. Next, players then place the remaining cards from their deck face-up in their hands. Players will then look at the top three cards in their hands. The first card’s skill has to be used in the upcoming battle while one of the next two cards’ skill bonuses can be used and the trick from one of these cards can be used as well. However, the trick and the skill bonus can’t be from the next card. After looking over their three cards, each player starting with the lead (first player), announces how they will attack the other player via sailing, guns, or boarding, and the other player then announces how they will attack as well. Both players need not say the same method of attack. Then player will, after the count of three, announce how many of their top three cards they will use in the upcoming battle. The cards are compared with the highest skill + skill bonus from the second or third card + trick ability from the second or third card winning the hand. If the non-lead player won, then they become the lead. All players then discard the cards that were used in the battle by placing them face down in the deck under the other face down cards already in the players hand. Then, the method that the winning player used affects the decks. If the players won by sailing, two faces down cards are flipped into the face up part of that player’s deck making them available cards now. If the player won via guns, then the losing player discards face down two additional cards under their deck. If the player won via boarding, then the winner gains one card to their deck, and the loser loses one card. Play continues like this until one player has only face down cards in their hand and their air ship has crash!
Mechanics– To me this is a much quicker, much more two player friendly version of Munchkin. It’s quick, plays fast, and is a fun way to spend 10 minutes with a friend. However, it’s also pretty simple, so don’t expect a ton of thinking in this one. And, the game adds some strange corner cases like magic. Magic is a trick on very few cards, but some other cards have a shadow emblem. You can’t use magic in a battle with the shadow emblem. I don’t think that really helps the game’s flow as it adds some deeper rules for a simple game that I don’t think are really needed. The game is overall quick, easy, and fun however. 4/5
Theme– This game has a theme, but it doesn’t hit you over the head. It’s very subtle, and I think it needs a bit more. It’s fun while feeling like an air ship battle, but I wanted more stories to this one. The cards have some great art, and the manual has some added information on the ships, but it need more to build the world of this game. 4/5
Instructions-Hands down the worst part of the game. That cards facing up/cards facing down part of the game that makes it so quick and easy to play, but that isn’t explained very well at all in the rules. When I saw a YouTube video about it, then the game became crystal clear. The rules leave lots out, and that makes the game somewhat frustrating as it’s a game that will take you longer to find on your game shelf than to actually play! Honestly, look up a let’s play or rules tutorial online to learn these rules! 2.5/5
Execution– A card game my wife and I can play while we wait in line at McDonalds? Beautiful! The box is compact, doesn’t have any unnecessary pieces, and the cards are of decent quality. The art is good, the layout is eye catching and easily accessible, and something that you could quickly explain and play. It’s just a well done small box game. 5/5
Summary-If you want a game you can play while in a bar standing around a high table, this is an excellent game. If you want 12 hours+ of in-depth strategy, then this isn’t the game you want. You want some quick steampunk while you’re waiting for you tea to cool? Well worth your time. If this game would rewrite the rules, I’d love this game so much more. As it stands now, the rule book is what really kills this game. The mechanics are good, not great as it’s a simple game, the theme is decent, and the execution is solid. I hate when I have to go online to learn to play a game, and doubly hate when I need YouTube to teach me to play a game that’s uses less than 60 total cards! But, if you can get past the rules, you will find an amazing little gem of a steampunk two player card game. 78%