Sticks and Stones: A Preview of Argle Bargle

Argle Bargle

Gather some friends you’d love to insult and let the zingers fly in this party game currently on Kickstarter.

Gameplay

The goal of Argle Bargle is to insult each other to death. Each player has five lives. You start the game with ten cards. Each card has two words on it. On your turn you may either discard as many cards as you choose and draw back up to ten, or you may play an insult on another player.

To play an insult, you choose which of the two words you will be using from each card, and must play a string of cards to form a coherent, grammatically correct insult. Each word is worth a certain number of points. After you play an insult you add up all the points in that insult, and for every five points, the insulted player loses a life. If your insult is worth fifteen or more points, you also earn yourself an extra life. At the end of your turn, you draw back up to ten cards.

There are also reversal and redirect cards in the deck, which an opponent can use to protect themselves from your barbs, and boom cards which makes your insult impossible to defend against.

The last player left standing wins.

Argle Bargle cards

Review

Despite being a game about insulting each other, Argle Bargle is a lot of good-natured fun. The insults are silly rather than hurtful. "Your head reminds me of a lackluster goat," for instance, was one insult that popped up in our game.

Since some of the insults can become really ridiculous it makes for a very funny evening. Our game lasted the perfect amount of time, with five lives per player seeming to be well balanced for a good game length. The redirect cards also had fun flavor -- you're never quite certain where your insult will end up.

If playing with kids, some parents may wish to remove a couple of the words from the deck, but the insults never go outside of a PG range.

All the words are color-coded according to what part of speech they belong to, and there’s a guide in the rules to help keep track of the parts of speech. This makes it easier to sort your hand, especially at the beginning, and makes it easier for you to create a correct insult. However, it would be nice if there were cheat sheets for each player, so they could get familiar with the color codes without constantly having to pass the rules back and forth.

A new party game is always a good find, and Argle Bargle definitely fits the bill. It’s funny, it’s quick, and it’s enjoyable. With 200 cards, and each insult card having two words each, there’s a lot of variety, and a lot of quirky insults to cobble together. So check out the Kickstarter campaign and see if this is the insulting fun for you.

Pros: Perfect length, silly and good-natured fun

Cons: Some insults may not be appropriate for children, a ‘parts of speech’ cheat sheet for the players would be helpful

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.