What Is Pigeonpocalypse?
Pigeonpocalypse is a game for 2-4 (or 5 or 6–see details in the components section below) players, ages 12 and up, and takes about 20 minutes to play. It’s currently seeking funding on Kickstarter, with a pledge level of about $25 (€22) for a copy of the basic edition of the game.
Note: My review is based on a prototype copy, so it is subject to change and may not reflect final component quality.
The game is very simple, and only contains two decks of cards: a City Deck and a Park Deck.
- The Basic Edition contains a 26 deck of City cards and 30 Park cards, for a total of 56 cards.
- The NSFW edition adds 34 Park cards, including 5 “Exhibitionist Tom” cards and enough extras of the others support a fifth player, along with 48 Park cards, for a total of 82 cards. The Park cards add three new types of cards, none of which are inappropriate in my view.
- The Complete Edition 38 Park and 74 City cards, including all of the NSFW cards plus one Kickstarter exclusive, so that it can be played with up to six players.
The cards in the prototype I looked at were nicely done. They were already printed on poker-sized plastic-coated cards.
The artwork on the cards is simple, but nicely done. The pictures are bright and colorful, and even younger kids will enjoy the Ninja-like squirrels and rabbits that make up the Park deck.
The only really questionable NSFW card is “Exhibitionist Tom”, which shows a man with an open trench coat. There’s nothing even PG-rated about the art–we see the man from the back–but there’s clearly a woman standing in front of him, so he’s committing assault. Again, it’s the theme and implication of the card that is a problem, not the art per se. And, it’s also worth mentioning that when I played with my 13-year-old son and 16-year-old daughter, neither of them payed the slightest attention to the card, its art, or its theme. It was simply a 4-point card to them.
The other cards in the NSFW version aren’t a problem. There’s Mice Gang, which is simply an attack card worth 5, and then Unstoppable Scout and Distraction, both of which are detailed below.
How to Play Pigeonpocalypse
You can download a copy of the rulebook from the Pigeonpocalypse website.
The goal of the game is to collect the most Visitor cards through multiple rounds of play.
To setup the game, shuffle both decks independently. Then, deal a number of City cards face up to the table equal to the number of players. The cards should be oriented, if possible, to not face any particular player, since anyone can play on any card.
Then, deal four cards from the Park deck to each players. These make up the player’s starting hands and should be kept secret.
Players decide on a first player amongst themselves. Then, that player takes one card from their hand and places it face down next to any of the visitors (the face up City cards) they wish. The next player does the same, and so on around the table. At any point, a player can choose to pass on playing a card, but if they do so they are out of the remainder of the round.
Play continues until everyone has passed. At that point, all of the cards that were played are revealed simultaneously.
First, the effects of the Tornado Strike are resolved. See below for more details on this and the other special cards.
Next, for each visitor, players compare the point values on the cards each player laid down. Whichever player has the highest total value of minions at the visitor claims them, meaning they take that visitor and place it, face-up, in front of them. All of the other cards played on that visitor are discarded. The next visitor is evaluated the same way, and so on around the table.
Once all of the visitors have been evaluated and possibly won by players and all other cards have been discarded, the Draw Phase begins. First, new City cards are drawn to bring the total count of visitors again equals the number of players. Note that if no one played a minion on a visitor, or if two or more players tied on a visitor, then that visitor will still be on the table from last time. These are not discarded, but instead make up part of the pool of visitors for the next round.
Then, all players are dealt two new cards from the Park deck, and the next round begins with the player to the left of the previous round’s starting player.
Play continues until someone has 15 points worth of visitors at the end of the round, at which point the game is over.
In addition to the various animal warriors, the Park deck contains a set of special cards.
- Tornado Strike: this is played face-down on a visitor, just like any other minion. When the round ends and the cards are revealed, the player who placed the Tornado Strike can take all of the cards placed by an opponent and move them clock-wise to another visitor. That way, you can eliminate an opponent on a card and increase (or possibly guarantee) your chances of winning the visitor.
- Garbage Can Fortress: this card is also played like a minion. It has no point value and does nothing for you this round, but, regardless if you win or lose the visitor it is placed on, it does allow you to pick up the cards you played at the same location and put them back in your hand, rather than having to discard them.
- It’s a Trap! This card is also played right after all of the cards have been assigned, but this one allows you to play any number of remaining Park cards in your hard on a visitor. With this card, you could theoretically pass very early in the round, wait to see what others do, and then drop a whole bunch of minions on a valuable card right at the end.
- Deliberate Distraction: This card from the NSFW deck is played directly from your hand once all of the cards have been played and are about to be revealed. Before that reveal, you can take any visitor currently on the table, discard it, and replace it with a new one. This is great for getting rid of that 5 point grandma card you think your opponent was about to get, or for replacing a 1 point dog card that only you played on, but because a new card is drawn randomly from the deck, it might end up not helping you at all.
- Unstoppable Scout: Also only included in the NSFW and Complete editions, this card can be played any time and allows you to look at an opponent’s hand.
- Nuclear Boost: This is the Kickstarter-exclusive card. Unlike the cards listed above, the Nuclear Boost card can be played at any time, including an opponent’s turn. It simply allows you to draw 3 more cards.
The game ends when one player has 15 points worth of visitors. If two or more players pass 15 points in a round, the winner is the person with the highest total. If there’s a tie for that, then the winner is the one who has the most visitor cards. If they’re still tied, then the game ends in a draw.
Why You Should Play Pigeonpocalypse
Pigeonpocalypse is a silly, light game that makes a nice intro to your game night. It doesn’t require much thought, but is still fun to play. Games are quick–our games rarely lasted more than 15-20 minutes–so you can get several games in as people arrive.
Despite the theme of the “Exhibitionist Tom” card, I’d probably recommend getting the Complete Edition, simply because it allows for play with up to 6 people.
For more information or to make a pledge, visit the Pigeonpocalypse Kickstarter page!
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Disclosure: GeekDad received a copy of this game for review purposes.