Published on August 6th, 2015 | by Duke Of Havoc0
Chew The Card Game Review
Average play time per game: 30 minutes (a lot less if only 2 of you)
Suitable for ages: 12+
Number of players: 2-5
Mechanics: Card game
I’m a big fan of Image Comics’ comedy/action/food horror title Chew. So naturally, I wanted to check out Chew the card game aka Chew: Cases Of The FDA. I’m such a big fan of the series that I made sure I got a chance to interview the co-creator/writer of the series, John Layman, at London Super Comic Con 2014. I even own a frigging vinyl Chog (more on what they are later). I just wanted to make that disclosure before continuing with the review.
What is Chew?
To give you a bit of background, the book centres around an epidemic which wiped out 116 million humans across the globe. The cause? Avian flu. The culprit? Chicken. The outcome? The FDA (US Food and Drug Administration) becoming the most powerful law enforcement agency in the world and chicken being outlawed. The main character is Tony Chu who is a Cibopath. Basically, whatever Tony Chu chews in his mouth, gives him the ability to see what happened to it i.e if he eats bacon, he sees the wee little piggy before it meets it’s untimely end. This applies to anything. Including humans.
The Eisner Award winning series started in June 2009 and has been a huge success for John Layman and artist Rob Guillory. So much so that it has spawned it’s own line of merch and is currently being turned into an animated movie with Steven Yeun, David Tennant and Felicia Day lending their voice talent to the main characters from the Chew universe.
Adding to the expanding universe of Chew related goodies, IDW Games released Chew the card game aka Chew: Cases Of The FDA. With my partner and I being such Chewites….Chewies….er avid readers of the book, we wanted to see how the game used the story line and characters within the mechanics.
So what sort of game have IDW Games and Kevin Wilson put together?
Included in the box:
1 x Rulebook
1 x Exclusive variant issue of Chew #1
20 x Chogs (half chicken-half frog. Also, they are the game’s currency)
1 x Drawstring bag – which you can use to carry the game around in.
48 x Clue cards
52 x Investigation cards
5 x Case cards
5 x Culprit cards
The game comes packaged in a rather big box, when you compare it to what is inside. Mainly because of the size of the rules and the variant issue of Chew #1. Personally, I think anyone who is picking up this game is already a fan and owns the issue either in trade or monthly form. The game itself has a tiny footprint, to the point my partner and I could play it on the small tables you find on trains. The rules could have been smaller perhaps and thus the game could have come in a nifty little tin. Maybe if Kevin or John are reading this, they could consider this as an optional extra? I would certainly buy one with some awesome Guillory artwork on it!
Each player or FDA agent is issued with a case card, a culprit card and 5 investigation cards. The aim of the game? Be the first to link the case to the culprit. To do this, you have to use clue and investigation cards, interfere with the other agent’s cases, use partners and spend chogs. Across the middle of the play area is 4 clue cards. I will get to these in a bit.
You can only successfully link the case to a culprit through linking colours on the investigation cards. They each carry a value (in the top right hand corner). The number have to add up to 20 or more and you must ensure the colours all match up from the case to the culprit. The annoying thing is, other agents can hit your investigation with minus points or even bad guys which can bring it to a temporary halt.
At the start of each agent’s turn, they get to go through Requisitions. Everyone gets 3. This can be used to draw cards from the investigation deck or take more chogs (you start with 3). So you could take 2 investigation card and 1 chog, vice versa or even just 3 chogs or 3 investigation cards. You can only have a maximum of 7 investigation cards at any one time, but chogs are not limited (well, you only get 20 that come in the box).
After that you play investigation cards to help your case. This could be add Partners to your case – they have special abilities to aid you; add Pain-In-The-Ass cards (the minus points ones) to another agent’s case or even stop them dead in their tracks with a Bad Guy card. Each of them has values assigned which means you have to spend your chogs to use them. Your fellow agents might then need to spend their own chog bank to remove any damage you have inflicted on them.
Once you have used all the investigation cards you can and adhered to whatever you were instructed to do with them, you get to take a card from the clues. There are always 4 clue cards on show in the middle of the table. You want to take one which can link up your investigation. Some partner or investigation cards will let you swap some of the cards out and even take more than 1.
That is your go over and it moves round the table. I’ve only played this in a 2 player game and it ends up being a bit of a back and forth. I would love to try this with 5 players as it will become more tactical as you try to ensure that the coloured cards in the investigation line don’t aid your rival agents.
As you may have ascertained from the opening paragraph, I’m a huge fan of Chew. I would like to think that this hasn’t influenced my opinion of the game but I will let you decide that. I really enjoyed this game. It was easy to learn, the cards and pieces are very well made, the artwork is gorgeous, the wording is funny and once you get into the game, you can really start to develop tactics on how to screw over your fellow FDA agents.
This definitely feels like one of those games you can take along to play with those friends you have who don’t really do tabletop. We all have them. You aren’t going to try and get them to sit down for a 4 hour session of Firefly or even the latest Star Wars RPG, but games like Chew: Cases Of The FDA can be a fantastic gateway game for them. My only really issue is the size of the box. Whether that was for marketing reasons or just to accommodate the rules and comic book, I don’t know. But seriously Kevin, John, Rob and IDW, I want an awesome travel tin and some expansion packs! I’m off for some food and to play some more rounds with my army of chogs.
Chew: Cases Of The FDA is available in all awesome places that stock tabletop games and online.