09 September 2010

Swärje [cardgame review]

"Swärje" is a Swedish cardgame that I picked up a couple of years ago during the Sci-Fi, Game & Toy convention in Malmö. I believe it is in Swedish only, thus this review might be of little or no interest to any reader outside of Sweden.

You know how you sometimes pick up random crap just because it looks funny? This was one such time. I remember it being overpriced as hell for a small indie cardgame. And I thought I would show this game as the election is closing in. Now this game is at least 5 years old, since many old politicians such as Göran Pärsson (S) makes an appearance in the artwork.

Though it is interesting to see that people like Mona Sahlin and Carl Bildt, also featured in the artwork, are still around and play a role in contemporary politics.

OK, so what is the game about? It’s basically something I would class as a  “For shits & giggles” game, which means the content looks/feels much more fun than the actual game value. The game is a satire about elections, forming a government and then plunder the economy by stashing away money in offshore accounts. The game ends when all money are plundered, the player with most money wins.

You need to be at least 4 players for this game to work properly, and players can form unholy alliances to screw each other over as the game progresses, the player who wins the election becomes Prime Minister and has to distribute seats in the government among his fellow players. He has to allocate the finance minister to another player, this works as a balance with the “I scratch your back, you scratch mine”. Since you want to be in favor of the guy handling the money, and the guy handling the money would not want to piss off the Prime Minister else he might not get an influential position in the next government.

So what you essentially get is one election every 4 turns, distributing money to players you fancy and have a new election after 4 turns to see if the government changes. Not much of a game, what really saves this game is the already mentioned “Shits and giggles” factor. The satire is pretty solid on the artwork, you will laugh at some of it because they are honest and true.

The game starts by players shuffling the deck and then draw a hand of cards. There are two categories here, some are “voters” and some are special cards with perks and traits which can be used in various situations in or out of government, during elections, on an opposing politician etc when the timing is right. Your starting hand can vary from plain shit to overkill depending whether or not you can match your “voter” cards so that the colors align along the edges. Needless to say the player with most voter points wins the election and becomes the prime minister. It is quite hard to overthrow a powerful player that had great luck during the first election.
But it can happen.

After which you pretty much keep going round and round until the money ends. You will get laughs from cards such as “Den grå massan” , “Raka besked”, “Tomt löfte” and other cards depicting politicians in “politically correct situations which are as absurd as they are real.
So in conclusion I would say that this game is pretty weak, but funny enough to warrant a purchase if you can get it (I actually think it is out of production at the manufacturers homepage) and don’t mind paying overprice for it.

You have to arrange your voters after compatibility to get as many points as possible and win the election.

Lots of stereotypical voters are depicted on the artwork, from white trash, to farmers with trucker caps, to rich snobs, immigrants etc.

Love some of these special cards, but these 3 got to be my favorite LOL!

Or this special cards, "Det är mest synd om oss" or in English "Pity us the most" and the crowd chanting "10 öre mer" which would be "1cent more" if you translated the currency as well LOL! You know those union bosses and their shitty promises - this is pretty much it.

A few other instant classics, Göran Pärsson former leader for Socialdemocratic party spinning his wheel of bullshit, Carl Bildt former leader for the Moderaterna with all his crazy conspiracy theories and the "rightwing ghost" - something the parties on the left wing used to threaten voters with until it didn't work anymore.

A few more whacky special cards depicting various political situations.

The mandatory crappy newspaper

The 3 most important seats in the government, and the only ones actually having any impact on the game (though all ministers can vote and count as 1 vote/minister card).

1 comment:

  1. LOL ser ut som en riktig rolig kväll! "Läkerol" var ju episk. Mest skrattade jag nog åt Bildts "Aldrig, aldrig, aldrig/Illuminati" dock haha!


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