Battle for dominance in the skies with this unique two-player card game that doesn’t even require a table.
|Oddball Aeronauts||Maverick Muse||Card Game|
In The Box
The product of a successful Kickstarter campaign, this edition of Oddball Aeronauts comes packed with 81 cards and a wooden token, plus a detailed rulebook. The illustration and art style is what stands out most about the game; it’s clear that the creators of Oddball Aeronauts genuinely love these characters, and they even designed custom cards for a handful of lucky backers at the highest reward levels. The basic deck is colorful and filled with animal/fantasy inspired characters that look as if they’ve jumped out of a comic series with rich back-stories.
Each card is packed with information and also with plenty of smart design to prevent things from feeling cluttered. The game as delivered is built for two players and can be divided into two “faction decks” of 26 cards each, plus some Event and Mercenary cards. Hopefully we’ll see more factions as the game grows, but the Pirate and Pendragon cards you’ll play with here do a great job of showing off the game’s mechanics with some unique style. Event and Mercenary cards are mixed in to enhance the basic deck, and there’s even more customization possible through a system outlined in the rulebook.
How It Plays
Fast-play games usually achieve their speed by sacrificing some depth, so Oddball Aeronauts stands out as offering rapid-fire gameplay that is anything but dumbed down. Sure, at the heart of the game is a rock-paper-scissors mechanic that makes it simple to learn and easy enough to play the first time, but you quickly realize there’s a good balance of strategy to temper any luck of the draw. As the game’s story goes (and there is a rich narrative behind the game) the two Factions come into conflict over the Boiling Seas and “must use their sailing, guns, and boarding skills to best their foes.” What this means in practice is that each card has points devoted to the three main attributes that you’ll employ to beat opponents.
Winning Oddball Aeronauts is a matter of playing to your deck’s strengths and building up more points in sailing, guns, or boarding than your opponent can muster each round. A unique aspect of the game is that it can (and should) be played entirely in your hand, with discarded cards simply being turned over and placed at the bottom of the deck. Sure, it’s possible to discard in traditional fashion on a table, but where’s the fun in that? Rounds play out quickly as you uncover the top three cards and add up points to determine whose forces win. The attribute you score with (guns, sailing, etc.) helps you retrieve cards, forces your opponent to discard, or both.
Rounds play out quickly, but Oddball Aeronauts gains more depth as you consider the Tricks available on some Faction cards and the unexpected Event card that can quickly shift the balance of power. Tricks are especially powerful in letting you rearrange cards to max out your score, or even by letting you capture an opponent’s card. There’s a surprising amount of depth in the game as you dive deeper into these elements, and even more so when you start customizing your deck. On that front, we can’t wait to see the next set released in this series!
It’s possible to play this with younger gamers (the recommended age 9 is probably an absolute minimum) but the complexity of combining Tricks and making decisions about which of the three attributes to use each round makes Oddball Aeronauts amazing for gamers of any age. Don’t let the cute characters fool you, they’re all actually hardened killers!
As long as you have the cards you can play this anywhere, making it a good game in the car for a long trip or on-the-go. I think the characters are really cool and I’m a big fan of the art style. You can always mix powers to keep your opponent guessing or to take advantage of your opponent’s weakness.