Whether or not you have played poker before, Poker Assault is easy to learn and wildly entertaining once you get the hang of it. Players will pick one of four factions to start the game. Then they will use classic poker hands to “Assault” their opponents. The twist is that opponents will use cards from their hand to defend against the oncoming “Assault”! Furthermore, playing a Straight or better gives you a “Power Card” which can dramatically improve game play.
Game Design: Danny Mandel
Game Design: Ben Cichoski
Art: Ive Bastrash
Players: 2 – 4 Players
Play Time: 20 Minutes
Factions (Verbatim from Rulebook)
“These bizarre and mysterious aliens use tricks and subterfuge as they strive to add the Earth to their list of conquered planets.”
“These sentries of the skies use defensive tactics to weaken incoming assaults and powerful weapons to deal damage directly to enemies.”
“The most aggressive faction, these snarling werewolves can shape-shift the ranks of their cards and use extra damaging attacks to tear apart their foes.”
“These ancient bloodsuckers can transform suits and heal damage to outlast their enemies.”
The game of Poker Assault turns the game of poker into a battle for survival. In a basic game each player receives Ten Poker Chip Counters which also act as the players total health. Regardless of which faction players choose, they will draw five cards from their deck and on their turn they will play a two-to-five card poker hand if possible. Since it is rare that a player will have a great poker hand from their five card draw, players will play a card one at a time while constantly replenishing their hand so they always have five cards. Once a player establishes their poker hand, they will then launch their Assault. The other players now have a chance to defend against that Assault in an attempt to keep their Poker Chip Counters. Players will defend by playing a card of equal value to one of the assaulting cards (Jack of Hearts would block a Jack of Spades), or by playing a card of the same suit but a higher value (Jack, Queen, King, and Ace of Spades would block a Ten of Spades). Remember that you are defending against each card individually, players defending do not need to play a legal poker hand in order to defend. If players defend successfully then the turn passes to them and they will prepare an Assault. If they fail to defend, each card that remains unblocked removes one Poker Chip Counter from the failed defender (regardless of card value, unless the card states otherwise).
Now I know that there is a good amount of information in that overview above, but just like any game it will take some getting used to. I had to play a couple rounds with some friends (while constantly checking the Rulebook) to make sure we were playing correctly. One of the things I failed to pick up on initially is that if a player wins an Assault they get to go again! Honestly that seems a little unfair but you would be surprised how quickly the game can turn. Lets say that you have a Straight Flush in your hand and you’re thinking that you are about to win the game. Well to your surprise, you may have to use those cards in your hand to defend against an oncoming Assault. So do you sacrifice your Poker Chip Counters or do you sacrifice cards from your hand and ruin your Straight Flush? Most of the games I played one-on-one were over in less then twenty minutes but that didn’t make the game any less entertaining. Once all players understand the rules of the game (and how to use Power Cards), the games become quicker and are played with more strategy. Poker Assault is a game that I proud to have in my collection and a game that I will gladly pull out during a game night.
Poker Assault is a great game for all ages. Fans of card games who are looking for an easy game to play with family and friends will thoroughly enjoy this game. The art work is cute, funny, and for some reason the Jack of Diamonds in the werewolf deck always gets me.
+ Cartoon art style and card design
+ Four alternative game modes
— Vampire factions Club and Spade design can easily be confused at a glance
— Game can be one sided if a player wins assaults early on due to the fact that winning lets you take another assault
Does Poker Assault sound like a game you would enjoy? Do you have an recommendations on what games I should play and review next? Please comment below and let me know!
Images taken via mobile phone and from Cryptozoic Entertainment.
Tom Kolbert enjoys video games, movies, and other geeky things. He is starting to play card games and board games that he has not played before, so look for more articles like this coming soon!
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