Tabletop Games Reviews Them's Fighting Words card game

Published on August 2nd, 2013 | by Michaela Buckley

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Them’s Fightin’ Words! Card Game

A little while back I bought a game called Jazz: The Singing Card Game, a multiplayer memory game using bebop-style jazz words.
The rules were simple, players lay down a card from their hand and say all of the cards in the pile, with the amusing addition that they were words like “Bop!” and “Beedle!”.
It was a lot of fun, easy to learn and great for get togethers, you were even able to add your own words, however it was a little simple without making yourself additional rules.

This is where Them’s Fightin’ Words comes in, like its predecessor, Jazz, it is a multiplayer card game but this time it is set in the Old West.
There’s currently a Kickstarter for the game and I was lucky enough to get a proto-version from the folks at 7/5 games.

We don’t have the rules for the game but after watching the video, we had a pretty good idea for what we were doing. The rules have been spiced up since Jazz, instead of using a single pile for the game and a hand of 5 cards which you can pick to lay, Them’s Fightin’ Words, uses 3 piles and the player’s decks which the card for play is chosen at random.

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Playing Them’s Fightin’ Words. The average game lasts only a few minutes making it great to play during lunch or if you’re trying to introduce people to card games.

The game is based on insults, the first of the card on the player field is the constant “You”, the second is the description and the third with the orange writing is the insulting noun.
For example, “You lollygaggin’ cur!” and if the next card played was “bushwhackin'” the next person would have to say “You lollygaggin’ bushwhackin’ cur!” and so on until someone can’t remember the cards, then that person takes those cards and a point is added, the first person to get 3 points, loses. The only card that stacks for you to remember is the middle card, whereas when you play a different final card, that just changes the insult for variety.
It really helps if you put on your best Old West accent, which for me turned into more of a hillbilly. Hearing someone stalling at remembering hilarious insults whilst doing a gruff voice is only beaten by tongue-tied insults resulting in tirades like “You lily livered lelly belly horny toad”.

It’s a very fast paced game, so is great for people who haven’t got the time for long-winded Netrunner-fare, the rules are simple yet the game is not easy, depending on who is playing. When on a streak the game can become very tense and exciting and on a losing one, you can still take solace in the fact that the winning player sounds ridiculous.

I currently have a prototype deck, so there may still be some changes before the final product, however there were some minor grievances, for example, the game didn’t come with DIY cards like Jazz did, also as the game is best suited to ‘across-table’ gameplay, the words for each card can only be read the right way by one of the players, but these are only superficial and don’t impede the flow of the game.

Jazz: The Singing Card Game.

Jazz: The Singing Card Game.

I love card games and particularly like the potential for “Meta-game”, the ability to create new and varied experiences by using the same game but changing the rules.

The most obvious one for this game is “Mexican Standoff” mode, where you include 3 or more people, however instead of having a deck which you can only choose the top card, add in the rules of Jazz where you have a hand that you can pick, that way you can play different levels of difficulty card (the final insult card if you are being easy or the middle card if you are being aggressive) and when someone loses the order of play goes the other way around. This way you can choose whether you want to try to eliminate the person on your right or aid them, more like a choice in a standoff.

The other is “Finger Twitching Revival” where at each loss the losing player puts the stack of cards in their own discard pile and the final insult/noun cards into a shared discard pile, at the end of every set of 3, the mutual discard pile is given to the overall loser and the players reshuffle the discard pile back into their decks and continue to play until someone runs out of cards and is declared overall winner. This one could take a while.

The game is compelling and I’m looking forward to seeing what the final version looks like, however, it is not likely to have a far-reaching retail release, so the best bet on acquiring it would be to head to the Kickstarter, which is going quite strong.
I had a lot of fun with this memory game, especially as I tend to win a lot.

Them's Fightin' Words

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