Thursday, June 4, 2015

Channel A, the Anime Pitch Party Game, by Asmadi Games

Taken from:
This week I'm taking a break from the book reviews to talk about a board game. Well, okay, it's a card game, but a tabletop still helps with playing it so therefore it counts. Also it's my blog. Anyway, the game I'm talking about is Channel A: The Anime Pitch Party Game, which I stumbled across at a convention I attended some time ago. This game is a fairly simple card-based party game, akin to the already famous Apples to Apples and Cards Against Humanity. It has very few rules, has almost no setup time whatosver, and it's very easy to introduce to new players. However it also has the opportunity for very long and entertaining games which can be quite memorable for everyone.

Channel A comes in a very small box that contains two decks of cards. One deck, called Title Cards, contain words like Doctor, Task Force, Boyfriend, Police, Ninja, Ultimate, and so on. The second, much smaller deck, is called the Premise Cards which contain ideas for shows like Giant Robots Fighting, Psychological Horror, Space Opera, Cooking, so on and so forth. Everyone begins the game by drawing a hand of ten Title Cards. One person is selected to go first as the Producer, who then draws five Premise Cards and selects two to be the premise for the next anime show the network is going to launch. Everyone else then selects title cards from their hand to create a title for a show and takes turns delivering a short pitch of what the show will be about. Once everyone's delivered their pitch then everyone votes on whose pitch they liked best and the winner gets the premise cards. Then the next person gets to be the Producer and play continues.

Overall it's a very simple game but it offers a lot of great creativity for coming up with ridiculous off-the-wall stories. And you don't have to be an anime fan to enjoy this game either. I haven't really watched anime in around five or six years, but I was still able to come up with really cool ideas for shows. (Well, I tied with Sarah, so at least some people liked the ideas I came up with!) The rule sheet for the game even suggests that if all else fails then just come up with a show where girls fight monsters because for whatever reason that's an insanely popular theme in anime. And while the game suggests coming up with silly pitches, you can make your shows as serious or as silly as you want them to be, opening up a plethora of opportunities to personalize the game. Heck, the rule sheet even encourages you to roleplay while making your pitches, taking on the personality of the jaded marketing executive who has endless viewer data to back up his projections, or the overly-enthusiastic fangirl that gushes about the show in a breathless rant. There's a lot of opportunities for fun with this game, which I always take to be a good thing.

Furthermore, because this game has very few rules and is very easy to introduce new people to, it makes a really good game for game night parties. Definitely one of the challenges I've run into at the various game nights I've attended is that a complicated rule system for a game makes it more difficult for people to be interested in playing and you spend a lot of time teaching new people to play. Even a game fairly simple for its scope, like Imperial, takes a considerable amount of time to introduce new players. Channel A, by contrast, is designed to make it easy to introduce new people and it can be played in a fairly short amount of time, compared to the at times almost endless strategizing that Imperial can get bogged down in. (Still infinitely better than Diplomacy though.) Personally I also like that Channel A includes a recommendation for when to end the game, because I've been involved in games of Cards Against Humanity that swell to consume the entire night.

Overall this is a very fun, easy game, and considering it sells for about $20 - $25 I think it's well worth the cost and I'm looking forward to unleashing it on my unsuspecting victims next game night. ....I mean friends. Yes. Friends.

- Kalpar

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