Fast-paced Slapping: A Preview of Scamp Attack!

Scamp Attack!

Who doesn’t want the biggest pile of nachos? Slap your way to win them (but only in this card game — slapping a pile of nachos in real life could get messy), and outmaneuver your opponents in Scamp Attack!, a fast-paced card game for 2 to 6 players that is seeking your support on Kickstarter.

Gameplay

Players all draw ten cards and one person is designated the ‘flipper.' The flipper turns over the top card of the deck. This is the new pile. The flipper must add one of his own cards to the pile and play continues clockwise, with each player adding to the pile. When it’s the flipper’s turn again, she turns over another card from the deck before adding one of her own cards to the pile. This continues until the pile is claimed.

The pile is claimed in a couple of ways. If an armadillo card is flipped over from the deck, the first player who slaps it lays claim to the pile. Alternatively, if you have an armadillo card in your hand, you may play it on your turn to claim the pile. But after an armadillo has been played or slapped, it is the scamping phase and you must count up to three, allowing another player time to play a ‘scamp’ card, which will steal a pile away from you. A player can stop scamps with a baseball bat card, but it’s only good against one scamp at a time. After you’ve played it, another scamp can still steal the pile away.

You can also block players from using their armadillo, with a porcupine card that can be played at any point (even when it’s not your turn). It forces the round to freeze, and whoever played the card becomes the new flipper and has another chance at claiming the pile for himself.

After a pile is claimed, the armadillo card that started the scamping phase and every card that was played after it, is shuffled back into the deck.

Once you successfully claim a pile, it is added to your hand. The winner is the person with the most cards after the deck is depleted or the only player left after everyone else has run out of cards.

Scamp Attack components

Review

Why are there armadillos and porcupines in a game about collecting piles of nachos? And what exactly is a scamp? No one really knows. This is just part of the silly, crazy, random humor that is reflected in both the art design for each of the nacho cards and in the gameplay itself.

Scamp Attack! is both easy to teach and learn, though the rulebook in its current iteration leaves a few situations ambiguous but the publisher has stated an intition to correct this in the final version. The slapping mechanic is reminiscent of some classic card games, while the decision of when to use your scamp and baseball bat cards adds an extra layer of strategy to the gameplay. There’s hardly any downtime, with each turn being very quick and players having to stay alert, watching to see if an armadillo will be flipped next or choosing the perfect time to block someone with porcupine. Deciding which pile to make a play for is important, and even once you’ve run out of cards, you can always slap your way back into a hand.

Since you shuffle back into the deck both armadillos and cards played during the scamping phase, eventually rounds becomes quicker and shorter as there are fewer and fewer nachos flipped from the deck and more and more armadillos — the final two or three rounds become quite tense! This speeds the game up during the later rounds but does have the negative side effect of there being an awful lot of shuffling as the game winds down.

Scamp Attack manages to combine a light card game with surprising depth and just a tad of press-your-luck as you try to read other players and prepare for slapping. We enjoyed our time with it and would definitely recommend that you check out the Kickstarter campaign.

Pros: Fast and engaging gameplay, easy to teach and learn

Cons: A whole lot of shuffling near the end of the game, the prototype's rulebook had some ambiguities which the publisher intends to clarify in the final version

Disclosure: this preview is based on our evaluation of an unpublished prototype of the game, which is subject to change prior to publication. While a modest payment was received to expedite the review process, our thoughts and opinions expressed here are honest and accurate.