LET'S GET READY FOR PAPERCUTS!
|Designer(s)||Toby Fairclough||Artist(s)||Toby Fairclough||Publisher||
Mushroom Gaming Company
|2 (up to 6 with 3 sets)||8+||10-15m|
While I am not a boxing fan myself, I see the excitement of it. A violent dance between two athletes who have trained hard for their chance at a major boxing title. BIFF is certainly themed after boxing but is not as serious. BIFF! is a lightweight card game that captures the basics of the boxing performance of planning a step or two ahead realizing your stamina will be limited over the round; strategic use of your moves are vital and necessary to cause your opponent to burn through theirs faster.
The thing that stands out the most about BIFF is just how portable it is. It is designed to be slipped into your wallet so it can go anywhere you go for quick games anywhere you need it. We have all been places where we have had to wait a long time (restaurant, DMV, doctors office...) and sometimes you are just tired of your phone. Let's see what BIFF has to offer and if it is worth swapping out a few dollar to place it in your wallet.
Box and Components
I received a prototype of this game so what is delivered for the Kickstarter may vary slightly, but the designer has said the prototype is very close to what the final version will be so the differences should be minor beyond a few corrections and potential color option changes.
The game is designed to be a wallet sized game so everything is very neat and compact. The case is very flexible and protects the cards well enough; being a wallet game, there will be some risk of bending but that is to be expected.
The game comes with the following components:
- Two Decks of eight cards: The decks all consist of the same cards: 0, 1, 1, 2, 2, 3, <> (Parry), and ! (Ref!). The decks are different colors depending on the sets you get. You can buy multiple packs with different color combinations and use them together for games with up to six players. I received three sets so my colors were Green-Purple, Red-Blue, and Black-White.
- I will refer to ! as Ref! and <> as Parry<> through the article for easier reading rather than just the shown value on the card.
- Two Rule Cards: The game's rules are very straight forward and easily contained on the two rule cards.
- Plastic Case
The cards themselves are standard cardstock and perfectly fine for the game. This isn't a game that will be shuffled much so there should be little damage to the cards beyond the wallet folding risk. The graphics are simple and do the job of illustrating what they represent (1-3 are punches, 0 is a block, and the Ref! has referee bowtie and gloves).
This will be focused on the two player rules; I will cover the differences in larger games in another section.
The basic premise is pretty simple; fight over the course of 12 rounds by placing a single card on each turn by playing a card of equal or higher value than the last card played. Some cards will have special rules with how they are played allowing the values to reset or to wrap to 0 again. Typically, cards are played like this (again, equal values can be played as well).
Zero: 0 -> 1 -> 2 -> 0 -> 2 (allows the round values to wrap around again; 0 can be used on anything but 3 and Ref!)
Parry <>: 0 -> 1 -> 2 -> Parry<> -> 3 (Parry<> counts as the same value as the card below it, except it can't be used on the Ref! card.)
Ref!: 0 -> 1 -> 2 -> 3 -> Ref! -> Ref! -> (reset ring and continue) ! is the referee and is only playable on a 3 and another Ref!. Meaning, once you get to a 3, it turns into a game of who will call the referee first.
Each player will take one of the eight card decks and shuffle them; each player will draw two cards. You can optionally place the rule card on the 0 side to begin the game or keep it on the rules side as a reference. Select a starting player and begin.
On each player's turn, they will perform the following actions in this order:
- Play a card from your hand following the rules above (equal or higher value or one of the special cards as explained above).
- Draw a card from your deck.
Continue to the next player.
End of a Round
If at anytime a player is unable to play a valid card, they lose the round, and the other player earns a point.
If both players run out of cards, the round is a tie, and no points are awarded.
Players will alternate as starting player each round.
After 12 rounds, add up the points and whoever won the most rounds is the winner of BIFF!
In the event of a tie, the game is indeed a draw much like in traditional boxing. Though, players could agree to play a 13th match if they prefer.
Battle Royal Mode (3-6 Players)
When playing with multiple sets of BIFF!, you will use the Battle Royal rules. Essentially, the same is played mostly the same except is comes down to the last player standing each round is awarded the point; each time a player is unable to play a card, they are knocked out and play continues as normal that round until only one player is remaining (or a tie occurs).
A couple cards do have slight changes also:
- Parry<>: When this is played, the order of play is reversed. So if you were going clockwise, reverse to counter clock wise.
- Ref!: When Ref! is played, the previous player must respond by playing their Ref! card. If they cannot, they are knocked out of the round. The ring cards are reset regardless and the round continues.
After each round, the starting player shifts clockwise from the previously starting player.
After 12 round, whoever earned the most points is the winner.
BIFF is a fun little, easy to play game. I have played games with similar mechanics, but they usually take up a larger space to play and to carry around. The target of this game is to primarily be very quick to play likely to be a filler in those types of situations I mentioned earlier or as a filler in between your other gaming sessions. I think it does this very well. While on the surface, it could appear too basic; I see it as a game where you really need to trick your opponent round to round. I foresee myself playing a round or two a specific way making it look like I am easy to read and only to drop very random card to change up my strategy. If you play this game with the same person over and over, I could see the appeal being lost over time, but if you are playing with new people, adding in a copy or two to play with larger groups, I think it could remain a great filler game especially since it takes literally a minute to teach.
If you are like me and enjoy having a handful of light fillers on hand as "just in case" games, be sure to check out BIFF when it hits Kickstarter in late May 2021.
We received a prototype of the product in order to write an honest review; all reviews reflect the honest opinions of the writer.