Kickstarter has become one of the best platforms for indie tabletop developers, and a drain on my bank account. It’s just so much fun to browse the game section and see what new fun things people come up with and then support them. I am guessing most of you have heard of one of the great success stories of kickstarted games: Cards Against Humanity. But that was years ago and many many great games have found their way into the hands of gamers via crowdfunding. One of the most recent games is Roadkill Rivals by Pygmy Giraffe Games. It was shipped out early February so it is pretty brand spanking new. It’s a simple card game where you try to run over as many animals as possible, while also trying to wreck your opponents vehicles.
Roadkill Rivals is a pure card game with some great art. Each player manages a lane of a maximum of three cards that are picked from the communal 4-card freeway. Each turn you have the choice of grabbing a card from the freeway (which gets replaced), scoring your lane (by running over the animals), or using an animal or vehicle power to mess with your opponent(s). Some cards have immediate actions when taken from the freeway, such as taking another turn. Once the last card is taken from the draw pile and placed on the freeway the game ends, and the players add whatever is left in their lanes to their respective scoring piles.
There are three card types: animals, vehicles, and roadside cards. The animals have strength values ranging from 1 to 5, with that value also being the point value. The vehicles have strength values from 2 to 6, and only some of them have a point value – which is always one. Both animals and vehicles come with key icons, and you can only have three keys in your lane. Three cards, three keys (or less). Most of the cards have one key but the highest value card in each category – Rattler (5) and Big Rig (6) – have two, meaning you can’t have both in your lane at the same time. If you pick up a fourth card or key you have to discard one of the cards in your lane.
You create roadkill (and score points) by having an equal or greater strength of your vehicle(s) compared to your animal(s). Simple as that! The roadside cards are basically action cards that have an immediate effect. Highway Robbery lets you steal a card from an opponent’s lane, the Off Ramp gives you another turn, the Buzzard’s Brunch scores you 2 extra points, etc.
The game is stated to be for 2-6 players. I’ve mostly played it as a two player game and in my opinion you need to make some adjustments or the game will be too long and repetitive, risking getting a bit boring. I chose to remove two cards of each value of both animals and vehicles, which tightened up the gameplay significantly. I left all roadside cards in though, as they make the game a little bit more interesting. A three player game is more dynamic and interesting, and works with the complete deck.
Overall it’s an enjoyable filler game that can easily be put in any bag for some impromptu card-based road rage. I didn’t feel as competitive during the game as I was hoping. We did very little attacking, and rather stuck to trying to run over our own animals. But a very aggressive game-play can also result in too few points. It’s a delicate balance. The game comes with two blank animal cards and two blank vehicle cards. If I end up playing the game a lot I will probably make something fun up and put on them. It’s a neat way to spice up your game.
It might not be the most exhilarating card game out there, but the theme and art makes up for it in my eyes. Easy to learn, easy to play, and I suppose sometimes you just want to flatten a couple of possums with your truck.
- Title: Roadkill Rivals
- Designer: Matt Graff
- Publisher: Pygmy Giraffe Games
- Players: 2-6
- Time: 15-20 min
- Type: cards
- Size: small
- Release year: 2016
The kickstarter campaign is over and the games are in the hands of the backers. However, you can already order it from their webpage.