We Didn’t Playtest This At All Review – Pandora’s Statement
The more I think about it there are three different ways of saying the word “what?” in the questioning sense. There is the joyous way of perplexed confusion. Sometimes being confused and perplexed is a wonderful thing, and that moment you tilt your head back, creating a double chin as you do your best human thumb impression, can be amazing. If you don’t know what I mean, just watch anything Reggie Watts does and you’ll instantly get “it”. “It” is disorientating and awesome. “It” is the “what?” in the pursuit of entertainment.
Next there is the truly questionable. It is something we are confused about, but in an intellectual way. It is something we find genuinely interesting and yet can’t quite believe.
“If you were to remove all of the empty space from the atoms that make up every human on earth, the entire world population could fit into an apple.” (source)
“What?” Yeah, I know, right? I mean presumably you would need to hollow the apple out first. This is the “what?” of clarity and clarification in the pursuit of knowledge.
Finally, there is the third way of asking “what?” – in this case the “what?” is usually followed by a “the”. Quite often that is followed by a four letter expletive. It’s the “what the?” that comes out of a mouth when it is presented with an oven spontaneously bursting into flames, or when said mouth has just found a parking ticket on their car. This is “what?” in the key of shocked unhappiness.
What has this got to do with gaming? Well, dear reader, today we are going to talk about a very strange game called We Didn’t Playtest This At All and that game crosses all kinds of “what?”. Welcome, dear reader, to confusion.
What is We Didn’t Playtest This At All?
We Didn’t Playtest This At All is a adult party game designed for 2-10 players, published by Asmandi Games (Red 7, One Deck Dungeon). It’s a card game that is very much in the “random things” area of gaming, in many ways joining the same category as games like Cards Against Humanity and Exploding Kittens. That being said, it’s also family friendly so isn’t as adult as those two can be.
We Didn’t Playtest This At All cost me £12.45 when I bought it back in February 2018.
A game can last between 1 and 5 minutes. It is a very short game, and our average run is usually playing five or so games back-to-back with two players.
How To Play We Didn’t Playtest This At All
We Didn’t Playtest This At All is a peculiar game with very simple rules. We Didn’t Playtest This At All is, like a lot of games, essentially a deck of cards. You shuffle it together and deal two cards to each player. On your turn you draw a card and play a card.
There is also a Chaos Pack expansion where you take two additional cards and play them in front of everyone at the start of the game. These contain different rules to make the game more interesting and chaotic.
If you survive the first turn of We Didn’t Playtest This At All the next person goes. It ends when only one player is left, or the game says the game is over, or a card says someone wins. In fact, this is a direct quote from the rules:
The objective of the game is to win! If you lose, you have not won, and you are in fact out of the game. If everyone except you has lost, you win!
You may also draw a star card on your turn. These are superior, according to the rules, but they don’t say why.
As a few examples of the game, here are a handful of random cards.
- Bomb – Place face up in front of you, and then take another turn. If there are four or more bombs face up, they explode and everyone loses.
- Presents! – Each player must say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to presents. After they all choose reveal this card! The present was a poisonous snake! Anyone who chose ‘yes’ loses. Poison is bad.
- The End – Play face up in front of you. At the end of your next turn, everyone loses! Including you.
- Lasers – Place in front of any other player. If this card is in front of you at the end of your turn, a laser pointer momentarily blinds you. You trip and sprain an ankle. You lose.
Those are the rules, including a few examples. The whole rule sheet included in the game only has four paragraphs and around 100 words.
Our Opinions – What is We Didn’t Playtest This At All Like To Play?
I have to admit, dear reader, that this bit is going to be difficult to write and in quite a few different ways.
There are, essentially speaking, two different ways of looking at We Didn’t Playtest This At All. You can see it as a game and judge it accordingly, something which we will definitely be doing; however, you can also see it as a statement.
As mentioned before, We Didn’t Playtest This At All is a game that fits into the party game category. The game is family friendly, although the primary demographic I think (and this is a bit unclear due to the nature of the game) is students.
So, what is it like as a game? Well, in a few words – it’s alright. One of the biggest problems with a game like We Didn’t Playtest This At All is that the game can be over with the very first card, and where this is part of the humour of the game, it doesn’t really say much for the actual gameplay itself. Likewise, the humour improves how you as the player receive the gameplay. The two can even each other out.
The components of We Didn’t Playtest This At All are plain. There has been effort put into the artwork and packaging of the game in order to keep the ironic edge. Each card has minimal text, sometimes mis-spaced, and a comedic paragraph at the bottom giving context. One card even uses Comic Sans and I kind of like that, adding in a further joke to the mix of the cards.
So what about the cards themselves? These are quite good depending on preference. There is no artwork on the cards, with only the bare text. Some are quite funny, and in some ways I really enjoy cards like “The End” (explored earlier). The card “Comic Sans” forces everyone to say “Comic Sans is awesome” before their turn or they lose. This randomness is appealing and does keep the game fresh.
There are also, however, a lot of repeated cards. The strength of We Didn’t Playtest This At All as a game comes from the uniqueness and humour of the cards, and in laughing along you can move past the plain production value of the game. When you come across duplicated cards however (there seven cards with “bomb” in the title) it can remind you of the fact that there is no artwork. The unique cards can be brilliant, but the duplicates can get old because of this fact. If you are looking at two “bomb” cards in your hand then your hand is very plain indeed.
The Chaos Pack adds new rules to the game, played in front of everyone at the start, and makes it a more cohesive experience. The Chaos Pack includes cards than can reverse the language of the cards in play, make you lose if the person sat next to you loses, and when you play a card you must refer to it in using only synonyms.
An Ironic Statement?
As a game, I can more or less take or leave We Didn’t Playtest This At All. That being said, as an ironic statement however, I think this game is interesting.
We Didn’t Playtest This At All is a work of art in the ironic sense. It is a game in which the gameplay doesn’t necessarily matter because it is not what the game is about.
If we take this as an ironic statement about gaming, about how capitalist gaming is, and how games lacking in technical grace can do so well, then…well…that kind of makes this game the Banksy of the board gaming world. It’s looking at us, judging us for having flocked to popularist games and saying “you know what you’re doing right?”
It’s a deep reading, but in many ways that’s what We Didn’t Playtest This At All is.
Actually, I take that back. That is not what We Didn’t Playtest This At All is. We Didn’t Playtest This At All is a box of pure confusion. It is Pandora’s Box, with this paradoxical chaos inside that leaves us questioning it and its nature.
TL;DR: Let’s Try and Make Some Sense
Okay, so let’s make some sense of this. To quote the immortal words of Ron Burgundy, this game leaves me “in a glass cage of emotion”.
- The game can be funny, and does have some enjoyable cards.
- Although the mechanics are simple, the game is surprisingly deep.
- The Chaos Deck is a good idea and adds variety to the game.
- The game could be seen as an ironic statement.
- There are a lot of duplicate cards. In some cases these add to the game, but in some cases they detract.
- The production quality is low.
- The game can be over by the very first card.
- There is not enough depth to the game to last more than around five games in a row. This could be as short as around 20 minutes of gameplay.
- The game can grow old quite quickly.
So how do we conclude the review of a game like We Didn’t Playtest This At All? I think the only way to answer it is with a simple question: “what?”
What is this game? What do I feel about this game?
We Didn’t Playtest This At All is a game that fits in the light party game category. If you want something very light for an evening of drinking this could be a good game for you if you want to play something less crude than Cards Against Humanity. Otherwise, it is worth exploring the wider party game category. It is a large genre of games that has had a huge boon in recent years, with enough games in there for there to be something for everyone, a lot of which have been playtested.
If you’ve played this game We Didn’t Playtest This At All, what do you think? If you haven’t played it – what do you think of the concept? Let me know in the comments below.