The Game from Locke and Hanson’s UnFamiliar
This solo and cooperative deckbuilder CCG was created in early 2013 after the success of Dominion. It was quickly overshadowed by the app format, which allowed for much faster play, and the card game lost steam. Collectors, however, can still sell some cards for thousands of dollars each. The app (2015) gave players the chance to go PvP, as well as player vs a series of progressively more difficult computer opponents. Although initially the app was freemium, it has since added a subscription option for those looking to collect or play competitively in weekly co-op or competitive events. The game never reached the heights of popularity of classics like Magic the Gathering, but gained a small and devoted following.
Mad Card Again! took inspiration from classic Sword & Sorcery movies such as Willow, and LoTR, where players level up their champions by adventuring through wilderness, caves and dungeons. Along the way they defeat monsters or disarm traps, then collect items, abilities, and treasure to help them in future quests.
The game is played in 5 rounds (Quests): two level 1 quests, two level 2 quests, and a single level 3 quest.
1-4 Players begin with their decks of 40-60 cards, shuffle, and draw until they come to a Champion. Once there, the Champion will allow the player a starting deck of three items and abilities, followed by seven random cards from their card pools. Abilities and these seven extra cards are now the player’s Active Deck, which is shuffled and placed face down next to the Champion. Once the quest is drawn, players each draw three cards. The maximum hand size at game start is three cards.
Now shuffle the quest cards into their respective difficulty piles: level 1 quests, level 2, and level 3, and reveals a level 1 quest. Play begins from the player who most recently watched a Sword & Sorcery film or TV show. Ties default to the player with a birthday closest to Val Kilmer’s (December 31st).
Example of pllay:
A player’s turn has two phases:
1- Player takes up to 3 actions. (Players are allowed to pass and end their turns early)
2- Quest Challenges deal damage to the player’s Champion(s).
During a player’s turn, they may choose 3 of the following actions:
1- draw a card
2- play a card
4- skill action
6- collect loot
7- Cast off
*The player may choose the same action more than once, such as drawing two, or even three cards!
*Only one Champion may be played per turn.
Quest Challenge damage: At the end of the player’s turn, any challenges that haven’t been overcome deal damage to the Champion. Add damage counters to the Champion card.
Draw a card: A card is drawn from the player’s active deck. If there are no more cards in the active deck, shuffle the discard pile, place this into the active deck area, and draw.
Play a card: An ability or item card is attached to the Champion, if applicable, or a spell is cast and put in the discard pile.
*Note: once Abilities are played onto a Champion, they may not be removed. Items may be replaced by other Items or Abilities
Advance: The Champion moves on to the next challenge. Draw the quest card of the corresponding level and tuck the quest side under the current quest. A quest may have up to 3 active challenges at any given time.
Skill Action: includes detecting secret doors, traps, or invisible enemies, intimidation, charm, etc. Skill cards are delineated as such.
Attack: Champion deals damage according to the item, spell or special ability attached to them. Place damage counters on the challenge that has taken damage.
Collect Loot: Once a challenge has been overcome, the player collects loot. The first player to collect loot gains gold, and gets the choice of three cards from their card pools: draw three and choose one to add to the active deck. The second to collect loot gains gold and may draw two and choose one, third to collect loot gains gold and draws one. The fourth player gains only gold or one card pool.
*Loot may be indicated by a number of glass beads, coins, or tokens, to show how many players have collected. Gold should be indicated by gold coins from the Mad Card Again! starter pack. You may substitute poker chips, dice, or counters if you don’t have them.
Cast off: A player may throw a card from their hand into the graveyard, beside the card pool. These cards will no longer be used at all. Alternatively, a player may buy a card from the card pool by paying gold. Spend the gold, draw two from the card pool. One goes into the active deck, and one goes to the bottom of the card pool.
At Quest’s End
At the end of each round, follow these steps:
1- All players get loot from the BBEG (Quest boss): draw 3 cards from the card pool and choose up to two to add to the active deck, then gain gold.
2- reshuffle the quest cards and draw a new quest. If this is the same quest as before, draw again.
3- Take a rest: your Champions are healed of any damage tokens.
4- Buy new gear: you may spend 2 Gold to draw three cards from the card pool and add up to two into your active deck. Any that are not chosen are placed on the bottom of the card pool. You may spend 3 Gold to search through your card pool for one specific card and add it to your active deck, then shuffle your card pool.
5- Multiclass: you may choose to pull any abilities off a Champion and add them back into the active deck.
6- Re-spec: You may cast off one card from your active deck. Search through and find that card. It goes into the Graveyard, never to be seen again.
7- Shuffle, then draw a new hand of cards and begin the next quest.
The player with the most Gold goes first.
Each quest card has a challenge and a quest. During a quest, ignore other quest portions. When challenges are completed, they can be stacked under the current quest or marked with a token to show they’re no longer dangerous.
Example of a Quest and Challenge:
Champion Cards (Example)
Running out of health
If you’ve taken all the damage you can, flip your Champion over. On your next turn, choose one of the following:
1- resurrect your Champion. Flip your current champion over. Their current abilities and items are put into the discard pile. They do not gain actions this turn.
2- replace your Champion. Draw from your card pool until you reach the next Champion. Search for their beginning cards, and put those into your discard pile.
*Note: if you have another Champion in play, you may take a turn as normal (the new Champion may not act). If not, you lose a turn.
Winning The Game
After 5 Quests, the player with the most gold wins.